Date of Award

2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Counseling Psychology, Ph.D.

First Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Second Advisor

John V. G. Matthews

Third Advisor

James Jeffery

Abstract

Purpose of the Study. The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions and attitudes toward Adventist schools in Canada of Adventist parents with children in Adventist schools, of Adventist parents without children in Adventist schools, and of non-Adventist parents who at the time of this study had children in Adventist schools, and to look for reasons why these parents send or do not send their children to Adventist schools in Canada.

Method. The Adventist Education in Canada Parents' Attitude Survey was developed and used to gather information about spiritual focus, academic excellence, school accessibility, administrators and teachers, interpersonal relationships and student personal development, and safe learning environment, and to discover why certain parents send or do not send their children to Adventist schools. The population surveyed provided 1,389 usable responses, which were analyzed by descriptive statistics, t -test, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and test of correlation coefficient. Each of the 12 hypotheses was tested at an alpha level of .05, except for school accessibility (.008).

Results. Non-Adventist parents, especially mothers, had more positive attitudes toward Adventist schools than did both Adventist parents with or without children in Adventist schools. Furthermore, younger, single parents, earning less than CAD $30,000 a year and unemployed, were more positive than older, married parents, earning more and employed. Spiritual focus was perceived as the most positive aspect of Adventist schools, followed closely by interpersonal relationships and student personal development.

For Adventist parents, three main reasons for sending children to Adventist schools were: spiritual focus, safe and caring environment, and dedicated school personnel; for non-Adventist parents, safe and caring environment, high-quality academics, and spiritual focus. Adventist parents not sending children to Adventist schools gave the following reasons: distance from home, high tuition cost, and lack of high-quality academics.

Conclusions. Parents perceived Adventist schools in Canada as places where spiritual focus, interpersonal relationships and student personal development are strong; where safe learning environments exist; and where school administrators and teachers are fair and committed to the principles of Adventist education. Areas of concern were: affordability, bullying, extracurricular activities, facilities, variety of resources, and provisions for special education students.

Subject Area

Home and school--Canada, Seventh-day Adventists--Education--Canada

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