Geographical Influences on Parental Decision for Child's Secondary Education from a Race Perspective
The objective of this research project was to explore how lower-income, Latinx parents make decisions about where their child will attend high school and the factors that influence choosing out-of-district or in-district (public, charter or private) high schools. Research on parental choice of schooling often finds that parents’ education and income make a difference in school choice decisions with higher-income parents relying more on social networks for information and lower-income parents relying more on school-based information (e.g., Bosetti, 2004; Holme, 2002). Researchers have also found that how information is presented and understood also plays a part in school choice (IES, 2018).
However, less information is available on how Latinx parents receive information and the factors that play a part in their schooling decisions. This project focused on how Latinx parents weight information about their local high schools versus other school choices. The research revolving around Latinx families and high school choice matters because most research in the education sector does not involve minority groups, such as the Latinx and Hispanic communities specifically in Laveen. The key research questions are: Why do Latinx parents send their children to in-district high schools when those schools have poorer test scores? Why do parents send their children out of district high schools? What information and resources are used by parents to help make their decision in the process? How do student perspectives play a part in the decision?
Data was gathered through an on-line survey of parents about factors that play a part in the choice of high school. In-person case studies of four families also showed the detail of the specific ways that sources of information, personal networks, child input, and other factors influence the school choice process. I found that parents sent their children to their designated in-district high school because it was the closest available option that led to the most convenience in regards to commuting. On the other hand, I found that parents sent their child to an out of district high school because of the resources they used, which consisted of mostly family and other social networks that had attended or were currently attending that high school. Overall, the students’ perspective at the time when the decision was made played an important role in almost all of the case studies. All of the children were included at least somewhat and their input was taken into consideration if and when possible. Also, a geographical analysis of Laveen that includes the income levels, education levels, and high schools available in the area is interpreted. Through the maps completed by Social Explorer, the data used is from 2018, and it was filtered from the Hispanic population in Laveen from the non-Hispanic population to add more emphasis on a specific ethnicity.