Home schoolers and loss of trust: The role trust plays in the decision to leave public schools
Lack of confidence in public schools can lead parents to remove their children and select alternative schooling. Three alternatives to public schools, beyond private and parochial, have recently emerged and enjoy growing popularity: charter schools, vouchers, and home schooling. This study explores the role trust plays in parents' decisions to remove their children from public schools and to utilize one of these alternatives, specifically home schooling.
The study develops a grounded theory based on trust research in the context of educational interactions. Utilizing structured interviews, data emerged on the family's demographics, children's experiences with public schools, and other factors which eventually led the parents to home school. These other factors included concerns regarding public schools' ability to address their children's educational needs, the nature of peer interactions, the organizational structure of public schools, the families' beliefs and values, consumerism, and perceptions of “others”.
The principal finding was that a majority of the parents demonstrated a lack of relational trust in public schools, relying instead on situationally developed global trust which broke down easily in the face of dissatisfaction. Implications for practice are considerable in light of the exponential growth of home schooling as an alternative to public schools and the potential economic impact. Specific recommendations include increased focus on developing community trust, as well as addressing the attitudes towards public schools by parents employed by public school systems. The findings of this study could serve as a focus for re-examination of research on topics such as organizational trust, schools as cultures, and family systems theory within the context of the home schooling movement.
Families & family life;
0628: Families & family life
0628: Personal relationships