Magnet schools and educational choice: How do families decide?

Ronel Eugene Cook, Fordham University


The purpose of the study was to compare the perceptions of parents who selected a magnet school and succeeded in obtaining that choice for their child (children) and those who selected a magnet school of their choice but had to choose a magnet school with a different focus because they were not successful in obtaining their first choice. A survey questionnaire was completed by 126 respondent parents of second and sixth grade students in two selected school districts. Six parents (two mothers, two fathers, and two mothers and fathers) were also interviewed. Quantitative data (survey) were analyzed using two-way ANOVA and chi-square. Qualitative data (interviews) were analyzed using analysis of content of responses. The study yielded four major findings: (a) families in this study relied primarily on school visits, school reputation, the recommendations of others, orientation sessions, visits to the school during the regular school day, whether the parents attended the school as a child, cleanliness of the school, variety of teaching programs, good teaching staff, or school location to guide their choice of school; (b) parents who received their first choice were the most satisfied with the school choice process; (c) age, gender, ethnicity do not influence school choice received, and (d) not all parents who participated in this study feel empowered by school choice.

Subject Area

School administration|Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Cook, Ronel Eugene, "Magnet schools and educational choice: How do families decide?" (2009). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3361371.