Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration




AbstractIn 1995, Texas created its first charter schools, which consisted of open enrollment schools of choice, as part of education initiative/reform. However, low graduation rates among public schools in the state persisted. The purpose of this study was to explore factors that might contribute to students who received vouchers to attend private or high-performing public schools not graduating at a higher rate than traditional public schools’ students. I used the rational choice theory (RCT) as the theoretical framework to examine whether students awarded vouchers for attending private schools graduated higher than students attending traditional public schools. The study covered 2010 – 2015 and was conducted in a Southwestern state. I collected data from a dataset of student records of choice schools and public schools’ students maintained by the state education agency. I gathered a sample of 500 students who graduated from public and voucher schools from each school format were for analysis. I examined variables that included parental socioeconomic status and the availability of transportation. I used a chi-square statistical test to calculate the difference of means of two populations in carrying out this statistical comparison of the graduation rate of voucher students and non-voucher students. Findings included results that showed that students in conventional public schools graduated at a rate comparable to charter/voucher schools. Positive social change implications from this study would consist of expanding the voucher scheme to benefit a larger population of students that would ordinarily not qualify.