Three Types, Three Cities, Three Dimensions: A Study of The Spread of Alternative Schooling in America Open Access

Todorova, Elena Borislavova (2015)

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This project studies the growth of charter schools, online schools, and homeschooling in America. Through an analysis of these alternative schools' locations, demographics, founding dates, and mission statements, this study strives to answer the question, "Where, when, and why have American alternative schooling movements become so successful?" Three metropolitan areas are studied--Cincinnati, Ohio; Portland, Oregon; and Salt Lake City, Utah--in order to understand the spread of alternative schools in cities across the United States. The "where, when, and why" of alternative schooling's expansion are revealed through the study of multiple characteristics of alternative and public schools alike. Using public schools as a comparison group to alternative schooling movements allows for a better understanding of the spread of alternative schools. The project's analysis of the geographical locations of alternative schools reveals valuable demographic data about the neighborhoods alternative schools are more common in. The compilation of the alternative schools' founding dates allows for an analysis of their growth over time. Finally, the dissection and interpretation of the alternative schools' mission statements explores the ways in which these schools market themselves in order to entice students to enroll. This multidimensional study adds to the sociological literature by drawing connections between the spread of alternative schooling and the mission statement marketing and neighborhood demographics for charter, online, and homeschools.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 1

2. Historical Overview 7

3. Methods 21

a. Gathering Data 21

b. Organization and Study 31

4. Results 36

a. A Public School District Overview. What Are We Studying?36

b. The First Dimension: Where. A Study of Location and Demographics 44

i. Charter Schools 46

ii. Online Schooling 57

iii. Homeschool 60

c. The Second Dimension: When. What Founding Dates Reveal 62

i. Charter Schools 62

ii. Online Schooling 65

iii. Homeschool 67

d. The Third Dimension: Why. The Meaning of Mission Statements 69

i. Charter Schools 75

ii. Online Schooling. 78

iii. Homeschool 80

5. Conclusions 82

6. Appendix 1: Raw Data 88

i. School Districts and Metropolitan Area of Cincinnati, Ohio 88

ii. School Districts and Metropolitan Area of Portland, Oregon 123

iii. School Districts and Metropolitan Area of Salt Lake City, Utah 151

7. Appendix 2: Information Sources 170

8. Works Cited 173

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