Collections > Electronic Theses and Dissertations > A Study to Examine the Perceptions of North Carolina School Superintendents Regarding Charter Schools
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This study examined the perceptions of North Carolina School Superintendents in determining the extent to which superintendents in the state of North Carolina are positive towards Charter Schools. The study also asks: Is there a significant relationship between the perceptions of superintendents who have a Charter School currently operating or in the planning stages of implementing a Charter School and superintendents whose school districts do not have a plan for a Charter School? Eighty-five superintendents from the state of North Carolina responded to the questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of a total of thirty-seven questions. Twenty-eight questions related to the perceptions of superintendents, eight questions provided demographic characteristics of the superintendent and the school district, and an open-ended question asked superintendents to comment regarding the effects of Charter Schools on public education. The researcher used both descriptive and inferential methods to conduct research. Frequency distributions were used to describe superintendents and their school districts. To answer the two research questions, the one-sample t-test and Mann Whitney U Test were utilized. The statistical significance of the findings was made using an alpha level of .05. Results of the first question were similar to a study by Sperling (1999) when examining perceptions of Michigan School Superintendents regarding Charter Schools. Both studies found the following: (a) many superintendents were skeptical about Charter Schools' ability to provide quality instruction and innovative practices to meet the needs of all students; (b) superintendents agreed that Charter Schools should provide essential services (such as special education, transportation, and lunch programs); (c) superintendents also felt that Charter Schools should provide enrichment programs (art, music, and physical education)for all students; (d) superintendents indicated that Charter Schools should pay teacher salaries the same rate as the traditional public school; and (e) superintendents recognized Charter Schools as an education reform that provided choice. Although superintendents did not consider Charter Schools as competitive with tradition public schools, they were recognized as a viable public school alternative. Findings indicated that superintendents were suspicious that Charter Schools were politically motivated and not educational. Superintendents also voiced a concern regarding the issue surrounding financial funding. In the open-ended section and subscale (Effects of Charter Schools) on the questionnaire, superintendents agreed that Charter Schools segregate certain groups of students, the privileged from underprivileged. In the second question, findings showed that there was not a statistically significant difference between the perceptions of superintendents with or without a Charter School operating in their school district. These findings suggested that superintendents were in agreement with the perceptions of Charter Schools regardless of personal experience with Charter Schools or using other factors to base their opinions. Similar results were also found in the Michigan study (Sperling, 1999).