When African-American families choose an African-centered charter school in place of a traditional public school for their children, what motivating factors inform that decision? Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
Creator
  • Napp, Lisa A.
    • Affiliation: School of Education
Abstract
  • A qualitative study was designed to explore and contextualize the motivating factors leading Black families to withdraw their children from traditional public schools and enroll them into an African-centered charter school. The study also sought evidence of the motivating factors identified by Black parents and families at the school of choice. The study was rooted in liberatory/emancipatory educational research and synthesized congruent conceptual themes generated in the literature. The study was composed of six cultural indicators that focused on culturally affirmative and emancipatory concepts of education and emerged from a blended framework specifically designed for the study by synthesizing congruent conceptual themes discussed in the educational research of Shujaa, Gordon, and Ladson-Billings. The six Cultural Indicators that informed the data analysis were: 1) culturally affirmative/culturally relevant classrooms; 2) instruction designed to guide students to be self reflective, gain self knowledge, and discover authentic self; 3) academically rigorous programs scaffold onto students’ prior understanding, knowledge of the world, and cultural identity; 4) interpersonal relationships are fostered; emphasis on creating learning communities and de-emphasis on the individual and competition; 5) hidden curriculum dismantled; students gain ability to critically read and evaluate what is being presented by dominant societal institutions; and 6) teachers and students purposely dialogue about strategies to influence popular and intellectual culture through social and economic justice activities. The study focused on an African-centered charter school in its first year of operation. The research analyzed the narratives of families who exited the traditional public school and documented the disengagement and isolation Black parents, families, and educators experience in traditional public schools. Family narratives revealed that five of the six Cultural Indicators informed the family decision-making process and the choice to exchange the traditional public school setting for a charter school. The study concludes that the motivating factors are real and complex, provides suggestions for educational practice, and discusses implications for future research.
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  • Malloy, William W.
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