Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Mary Woods Scherr, PhD; Robert Donmoyer, PhD; Lea A. Hubbard, PhD


case study, children & youth, cross-case analysis, education, low performing schools, No Child Left Behind Act--NCLB, parents & parenting, perception, public school choice, qualitative, standardized tests


The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 was the federal government's commitment toward providing an equitable education for all students. Recognizing the impact parents had on the academic achievement of their children, provisions for increased parental involvement were emphasized, especially when children attended low achieving schools. One way parents could exercise their newfound power to improve their children's educational experience was to use the federal policy's public school choice option to enroll them into higher performing schools which met or exceeded NCLB standardized testing goals. This study examined the experiences parents and their middle school aged children had using the NCLB public school choice policy. The following research questions guided the study: (1) What prompted parents to enroll their child in the No Child Left Behind Act's school choice program? (2) What are parents' perceptions about the support that the receiving schools and the school district provided them and their child as a result of their NCLB choice transfer? (3) How are parents describing their child's experience after enrolling in the NCLB school choice program? (4) How are parents describing their own experience with the school and school district after enrolling their child in the NCLB school choice program? and (5) How has parental involvement changed since using the NCLB public school choice option? Qualitative research methodology was used to investigate parent experiences via an interview guide and documentation. Case study and cross case study analysis provided detailed and descriptive narratives documenting their responses to the research questions and revealing themes critical to their experiences. All of the study's parent participants reported having one of three experiences: (1) they loved their experience because of the opportunities it provided; (2) they found the experience satisfactory because of problems; or (3) they disliked their experience because of its negative impact on their children. The issues that accounted for the differences in experiences included the level of support from the districts and receiving schools, varying aspects of receiving school culture, and interactions the NCLB transfer parents and children had with school officials, teachers, and students.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access