Date of Conferral







Ethel Perry


AbstractMany individuals prefer the ability to choose options as opposed to being directed toward a certain path. School choice programs in the United States allow parents to exercise their democratic right to choose what is best for their children with respect to choosing a school for them to receive their education. The problem is that many African American parents have lost faith and trust in public education due to low school safety, lack of quality education, and social/emotional issues with public schools. The purpose of this descriptive phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of African American parents concerning students’ safety, adequate education, and social/emotional factors in private and public elementary schools. The theoretical framework in this study was the decision theory. The decision theory examines the phenomenon of making choices. The findings were represented by six themes that emerged from the semistructured interviews. The findings indicated that many African American parents felt that there were too many flaws in the public schools and the public charter schools' systems due to such elements as inadequate curriculum, fairness, bullying, and the lack of academic services for many students with disabilities. A private school can provide a better atmosphere for African American children with disabilities to receive a quality education with more emphasis on their social and emotional development. The implication for positive social change was that it has the potential to equip public school administrators, private school administrators, and African American parents with information on how to make an informed decision regarding enrolling their special needs child into a private elementary school.