Date of Award

4-2007

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Jianping Shen

Abstract

The association between school climate and school choice was examined by conducting discriminant function analyses on data gathered from the 1999-2000 Schools and Staffing Survey. This study asked the question, "Does school climate in private religious, charter, and public schools differ?" Teacher and principal responses to survey questions were grouped to measure six characteristics of school climate. The school climate characteristics measured were: (1) supportive principal leadership, (2) teacher collegiality, (3) teacher-principal relationships, (4) teacher satisfaction, (5) student behavior, and (6) teacher empowerment. The study found that the school climate in private religious schools could be statistically distinguished from the climate in both charter and public schools. The climate in private religious schools is more open and healthy than in charter and public schools. The study also found that the school climate in charter schools could be statistically distinguished from the climate in public schools. The climate in charter schools is more open and healthy than in public schools. The findings of the study support school choice as school improvement policy. At the same time, the findings caution that policymakers must make sure all parents have the ability to choose wisely. The study suggests policymakers must be wary of the impact of choice on public schools. Finally, the study suggests future research into the variables that look at why the climate in private religious schools differs from the climate in charter schools.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access