Date of Award

2001

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Lyndon G. Furst

Second Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Third Advisor

Judith Anderson

Abstract

The Problem. One of the most significant problems currently facing Seventh-day Adventist church schools in North America is declining enrollment in Grades K-12. In Southwest Michigan where this study was done. Seventh-day Adventist parents tend to make choices on where to send their children to school between Seventh-day Adventist schools and public schools. It was the purpose of this study to determine if a relationship exists between school choice and parental perception of selected causal factors.

Method. The design of the study was empirical ex post facto using a descriptive survey research method with a Likert-type scale which was used to test eight hypotheses associated with the following select factors: Parental perception of spiritual values, cost of education, academic program, who influences choice decisions, social, proximity, safety, and awareness factors. Data were analyzed using multiple regression-stepwise method, ANOVA, and descriptive statistics. Open-ended comments were analyzed using a 17-category dichotomous scale.

Results and Conclusions. There was a significant relationship between parental school choice and parents' perception of spiritual value-based education, the cost of education, academic program, who influenced school choice, safety in school, and awareness. There was no significant relationship between parental school choice and parents' perception of social factors and school proximity. Seventh-day Adventist parents with children in Seventh-day Adventist schools differed most with the Seventh-day Adventist parents with children in public schools in the area of academic program. Recommendations were made in the areas associated with the academic program, cost of education, safety, and awareness. Given the finding that both Seventh-day Adventist parents with children in Seventh-day Adventist schools and parents with children in public schools believe in the superiority of the Seventh-day Adventist educational system over the public educational system, it is imperative that school administrators attempt to fully exploit any given potential to achieve objectives. However, the declining demand for Adventist education is attributed to perceptual decline in its marginal value consequent to perceived improved image of public education as evidenced from the significant differences observed in this study.

Subject Area

School choice--Michigan, Southwestern.

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