Special Education ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-12-2020


For many decades, traditional public schools were the dominant public schools available for educating students, including those with disabilities. However, in the current climate of school choice, parents can now choose from a variety of educational options for their children. This study sought to explore the reasons parents of students with disabilities enrolled their children in charter schools. Research questions addressed the reasons parents considered when enrolling their children with disabilities in charter schools, as well as their degree of satisfaction and experiences after enrollment in charter schools. A total of 108 parents of sixth-eighth grade middle school students with disabilities participated in this study. The quantitative and qualitative findings revealed the reasons that motivated parents to enroll their children in charter schools. Parents rated reasons that were related to academic and social outcomes for their children as critical in their decisions to enroll a child with a disability in a charter school. Parents in this study also reported a high degree of satisfaction and positive experiences with the charter schools. Throughout the study, parents reported that they felt that their children were achieving academic, behavioral, and social improvements in their children’s educational outcomes after enrollment in charter schools. The majority of the parents valued the opportunity charter schools offered to them to participate in their children’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) processes and overall special education programs. Additionally, parents expressed appreciation for the individualized attention and personal engagement their children enjoyed in charter schools. A small percentage of parents expressed dissatisfaction with charter school programs and suggested ways charter schools could improve services for their children in the areas of evaluation for eligibility for special education and supports in math, reading, and writing. Implications for practice and future research are included.


charter schools, traditional public schools, parents, students, disabilities, special education


Oluwole Adebola Ilesanmi

Document Type




Degree Name

Special Education

Level of Degree


Department Name

Special Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Margo Collier

Second Committee Member

Elizabeth Keefe

Third Committee Member

Susan Copeland

Fourth Committee Member

Ruth Luckasson

Fifth Committee Member

Jan Armstrong