Type of Document Dissertation Author Weidner, Virginia R. Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-03292005-184641 Title The McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities:Parents' use of information and information surces Degree Doctor of Education Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Carolyn D. Herrington Committee Chair Andrew Oseroff Committee Member Doug Harris Committee Member Joseph Beckham Committee Member Michael Biance Committee Member Patricia Iatarola Committee Member Keywords
- Parent Use of Information Sources
- Parent Use of Information
- School Choice
- Students with Disabilities
Date of Defense 2005-03-04 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis paper reports on the results of a study on the information and information sources that parents use when choosing a school under the John M. McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program. Surveys were sent to parents of students using the voucher in Duval County Florida and to parents of students with disabilities who are in the public school system. The results indicate that parents collect information on class size, academic quality, quality of teachers, special education programs, and curriculum. The types of information collected were consistent across race/ethnicity, income levels, area of studentís disability, level of parentsí education and parentsí motivation.
The most frequently used sources for information were the Florida Department of Education, friends/relatives, the private schools, and the Web/Internet. The Florida Department of Education was the most frequently used source for information on the scholarship; while the Web/Internet was the most frequently used source for information on the schools that accept the vouchers. Advocacy groups and professionals not associated with the schools were used as sources most often by respondents with children with higher levels of needed services and with low incidence disabilities.
The data lend support to concerns that vouchers that are not limited to low income families will be used more often by parents with higher levels of education and income. Although, race/ethnicity did not appear to be a factor in information gathering in this study, the data indicate that more than sixty percent of African-American and Hispanic respondents who are using the McKay Scholarship are attending private religious schools. Currently, there is a case before the Florida Supreme Court which could find the use of vouchers at religious schools unconstitutional. The findings indicate that if vouchers cannot be used in religious schools then African-American and Hispanic families will be adversely affected to a greater extent than non-minority families. The data also indicate that parents of students using a voucher are more satisfied with the school their child attends and with the information and information sources they used than are public school parents.
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