Vision and reality: A fifteen year perspective on the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program

Helen D Gilles, Marquette University

Abstract

This study sought to determine to what extent there was congruence between the thinking of the framers of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program (MPCP) between 1989 and 1991, and the parents participating in the program today. To this end, the original goals of the framers were examined as well as their current reflections on how the program actually works in the 2006-2007 school year, and parents were asked to explore their reasons for participation in the program in the 2006-2007 school year. The specific research questions investigated were: (1) What was the original intent of the framers/activists of the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program? (2) From the framers' perspectives, how has the program changed or developed in relation to their original thoughts? (3) How has the thinking of the framers changed over time? (4) From the parents' perspectives, why do parents participate in the program today? (5) Is the parents' intent congruent with the framers or do the parents have different motives for participation? Six framers and four parent focus groups consisting of between three and five parents in each participated as informants in this qualitative study. Interviews were transcribed, inductively coded and, using the constant comparative method, multiple key themes were identified and grounded theory developed. This study surfaced three major themes and explored the perspectives of the framers and participating parents on these themes concerning the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program: the importance of parental empowerment, program leadership, and school accountability. Implications for both the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program leaders and participants and others seeking to learn from the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program experience are discussed.

Recommended Citation

Helen D Gilles, "Vision and reality: A fifteen year perspective on the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program" (January 1, 2007). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. Paper AAI3263808.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI3263808

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