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Introduction

Privateschools are also known as independent schools. They are not administrated by local, state or national governments as a result they have the autonomy to select their students. Private schools are not funded by state and thus have to find ways and means of financing the running of the schools. They are therefore funded in full or in part by charging the students tuition. Students with exceptional talents can also get scholarship into private schools.  

Private secondary schools’ tuition differs from school to school and usually depends on several factors such as the location of the school, peer tuitions, the willingness of parents to pay, and the school's fiscal endowment. Many schools claim that high tuition is necessary to pay higher salaries for the best teachers as well as providing enriched learning environments. Enriched learning environment includes low student to teacher ratio, small class sizes, and services like science laboratories, libraries and computers. Some private schools have religious affiliation. Such schools include religious instruction to the courses offered by the local public schools. Although private schools avoid state regulations most of them comply with regulations relating to the educational content of the classes.

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Public schools are mandated to offer education to all children by the government. Education in public schools is funded in part or fully by state taxes. . Education governance employs a three-tiered model that is employs in most states. The three-tiered model involves three levels of administration namely; federal, state, and local levels. At the federal level education is administered by the United States Department of Education. State education agencies administer education at the state level while local education agencies administer at local level.  School boards that are normally locally elected set policies on public school curricula, teaching, funding and other policies.

Research Topic

The topic of study shall be private versus public school education.

Research Problem

Several studies have shown that most students in the United States attend public schools, and only a small percentage attends private schools (parochial schools and private independent schools). These studies also show that several factors are considered by parents when selecting schools for their children. However, little has been done to identify the major factor that parents consider in selection of either private or public school education for their children.

Literature Review

Robert Kennedy in his article “private and public school compared” explains some factors usually considered when sending their children to private school; class size, budgets, facilities, and administrative support (Kennedy, 2010). The ability of a private school to attract endowments and other types of financial support determines the availability of facilities in private schools. Most private schools have a smaller class size since they have the autonomy of selecting students to enrol into their schools. This places them at a better position than public schools. Public school budgets are funded by the government and hence are cheaper than private schools that have to raise tuition to fund its budget. Administrative support is hard to get in public schools due to bureaucracy and readily available in private due to lean management.

According to Chen in her article “public school vs. private school” several factors are considered in selecting a public or a private school; school/class size, safety, academic reputation, location, religious and moral instruction, costs and location. She argues that academic reputation plays a big role in selection of private or public school. In consideration of this factor private perform better than public schools (Chen, 2007). The smaller the Student to teacher ratio the more attention each student will get. Safety of schools varies from district to district with some areas public schools being safer and verse versa. The fact that public school provide tuition for free as opposed to private may be an important factor in selection of schools. A parent may also consider zoning district of the school. Getting a school outside their zoning district would be hectic.

An article called “private versus public” it is clearly explained that parents chose to take their children to public or private schools on the basis of monetary reasons. Those who cannot afford to take their children to private schools have no option but take them to overcrowded and sometimes unsafe public schools. On the other hand those who can afford to pay tuition will select private schools because they are less crowded and are more safe (Greatschools staff, 2010)

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to identify the major factors that determine the parents’ choice of either private of public education for their children. The results of the study would be beneficial to federal and state governments, parents, private school directors/ managers.

Research Questions

Why do parents transfer their children from private schools to public schools and verse versa; what is the major determining factor in selection of either private or public school education.

Methodology.

The study shall be quantitive in nature. Information shall be collected using questionnaires and analyzed so that to answer the research questions of the study. Quantitive analysis was preferred over qualitative considering that that it is generally fast and inexpensive. The questionnaires were preferred as the data collection tool due to the distance of the respondents. The respondents shall be sent the questionnaires by mail and instructions about the deadline.  

Research Design

The study shall be a descriptive study trying to answer the question of what factors do parents consider in choosing either public or private school education for their children.

Sample (Participants).

The sample shall be derived from parents who have children in both public and private school and restricted to only those with children in elementary and high school levels. The sample shall also be taken from different states.

Instrumentation

Closed-ended questionnaires shall be the data collection tool and shall be pre-tested to standardize it.

Procedures

After reviewing of literature and statement of research question, the next step will be to design a good questionnaire that will be able to capture the required information that will help in answering the research questions. The questionnaires will be pre-tested using a a different population with similar characteristics as the sampled population. This will help in identifying questions that could not be answered properly may be due to ambiguity; and questions reframed in the correct ways. Pre-testing will also help in identifying other limitations that may be experienced during the actual study. Once the questionnaires have been standardized they will be sent to the respondents by mail including the instructions and objectives of the study. The respondents will be given two weeks to complete the questionnaire and send them back by mail. Analysis of the questionnaires will commence immediately after receiving the complete questionnaires.

Limitations

Some respondents may not fully complete the questionnaires for some reasons. This is detrimental to the study as incomplete questionnaires can not be used analyzed. In the event that this occurs the respondents can be called to complete the questions and if it will not be possible for the respondent to complete the questions even on being called to do so, then the questionnaire will be discarded. Courtesy will be observed even on calling respondents to complete the questionnaire. Another limitation to the study will be time. The time allocated for data collection may not be enough for the respondents and hence may compromise the accuracy of data collected.  

Data Analyses

Since the data collected will be quantitive, quantitive computer software such as SPSS will be used to analyze it.

Timeline

The study will be completed in three months. The first month will be the writing of the proposal, two weeks for data collection and one and half months for data analysis, interpretation and reporting.

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