Start up charter schools as an attempt to change the urban habitus
Treadwell, Joy Lashae'
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Charter schools are often established under a premise that they will fill an existing gap in the community. Some charter schools are established to offer a unique curriculum others seek to increase student achievement or serve a specific student population. Yet regardless of the reason they are established every charter school serves as a school of choice. The goal of recent school choice initiatives is to improve the ability of all parents to select the best educational option for their child. With the establishment of tuition free public charter schools, participation in school choice, is no longer an exclusive privilege for upper and middle class families that can relocate to neighborhoods with high performing schools or afford to send their child to private school. Current school choice initiatives alongside charter school legislation strive to make parenting and educational access more attainable for low-income families. In cities, where there is comprehensive school choice reform, families can choose between high performing local, magnet, charter, or private schools. This case study examines the perception of parents who are enrolled in Ivy Preparatory Academy at Kirkwood and is guided by the following research questions. 1. To what extent do low income African American charter school parents engage in concerted parenting practices? 2. What factors influence low-income African American parents to enroll their children in charter schools?3. What organizational structures in urban charter schools influence the parenting practices of working class families? The researcher uses Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of habitus and Annette Laraeu’s concept of concerted cultivation to situate the findings. The findings of this study provides insight on the impact and influence of start up charter schools beyond test scores. Convenience sampling was used and the researcher used a grounded theory analysis to identify and evaluate common themes regarding the urban charter school experience.