Trends in Personal Belief Exemption Rates among Alternative Private Schools: Longitudinal Analysis of Waldorf, Montessori, and Holistic Kindergartens in California: 2000-2014. Open Access

Brennan, Julia (2016)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/ms35t9473?locale=en
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Abstract

Purpose: Personal belief exemptions to immunization requirements among kindergarteners in the United States have increased in popularity in recent years. The objective of this study was to evaluate trends in personal belief exemption rates for private schools in California that follow alternative educational methods, focusing on Waldorf, Montessori, and holistic education methods.

Methods: We used California Department of Public Health data on personal belief exemptions rates for private and public elementary schools for the 2000-2001 to 2014-2015 school years. Generalized estimating equations were used to model annual average increases in personal belief exemption rates, and to assess whether alternative schools had higher rates of personal belief exemptions.

Results: Over the study period, all alternative schools had an average personal belief rate of 8.7% compared to 2.1% among public schools (incidence rate ratio [IRR]: 3.6, 95% CI:2.9, 4.4). The highest average personal belief exemption rate was observed among Waldorf schools (mean PBE rate = 45.1%), and was 19 times higher than the average public school rate (IRR: 19.1, 95% CI: 16.4, 22.2). The average annual increases in personal belief exemption rates for Montessori schools and holistic schools were slightly higher (Montessori: 8.8%, 95% CI: 6.3-11.4%; Holistic: 7.1%, 95% CI: 4.5-9.7%) than among Waldorf schools (3.6%, 95% CI: 2.6-4.6%). The average annual increase in personal belief exemption rates for public schools was 7.3% (95% CI: 7.0. 7.6%).

Conclusions: Rates of personal belief exemptions among private alternative schools in California were high, and continued to increase across the 2000-2001 to 2014-2015 school years.

Table of Contents

Chapter I: Background/Literature Review .......................................1-12

Chapter II: Manuscript ...............................................................13-26

Tables & Figures .......................................................................27-28

Chapter III: Summary, Public Health Implications ............................29-30

Final Page of Thesis ..................................................................31

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