What motivates families to choose a charter school?
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Since the advent of charter schools in 1992, the population of students and number of schools has dramatically increased. Because a second generation of students have charter schools as a choice, it is important to understand what motivates children and their parents to choose these schools. Recent research has revealed that family motivations are complicated and differ by specific contexts. In this study, I interviewed 59 incoming parents and children at a small public charter school in southern Oregon with a unique population in its locale. Interviews were designed to elicit quantitative and qualitative data regarding motivations for choosing this specific school. Study results indicate that parents and their children leave traditional schools for primarily environmental and academic reasons, although the results were mixed. Families chose the school in this study for primarily environmental factors, particularly class and school size. I discuss implications for the charter school and its sponsoring district and suggest areas of further local research.