This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Public School Choice: A Study of the Perceptions of Alabama Public School Principals




Shanks, Julius

Type of Degree



Educational Foundations
Leadership and Technology


Public School Choice is a controversial educational reform measure that is federally mandated through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The federal Act (NCLB) contains 10 titles that outline assessment mandates, accountability measures, and public school choice policies as a means for narrowing the achievement gap and ensuring that every student is provided a quality educational experience. This survey-based study explored the perceptions of Alabama public school principals on public school choice. One hundred principals responded to the survey instrument which included twenty questions using a Likert-type scale for responses. The self-reported perceptions of the respondents were analyzed according to personal and school characteristics. Findings of the study suggest that principals’ perceptions of public school choice are impacted by ethnicity, school district classification, level of school choice offered, and percentage of students who participate in the free/reduced lunch program. Principals’ gender, educational level, years of experience as a principal or school size were not indicated as having an impact on their perceptions towards public school choice. The principals from this study also were not likely to report public school choice as possessing a threat to the current educational system in the state of Alabama. This study provided insight for practitioners, parents, researchers, and policy makers as to the perceived effectiveness of public school choice policies by a sample of Alabama public school principals. Therefore, the results reported in this dissertation should be interpreted cautiously.