Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 8-7-2021


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Educational Studies (General Education)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Temple S. Lovelace

Committee Member

David Delmonico

Committee Member

Rick McCown


school choice, Black parents, students with disabilities, special education


Forty-four states and Washington, D.C. have passed legislation to expand school choice options for students and families (Cardine, 2019). In addition to a student’s assigned neighborhood school, one may enact choice by way of tax credits, charter schools, vouchers, relocation, and through other means, depending on where one lives. The act of choosing a school has been simplified by some to economic principles of competition and consumer satisfaction. What research has shown, however, is enacting school choice is much more complex and commonly intertwined with concepts of race, class, and ability (Ellison & Aloe, 2019). Academic quality (Mavrogordato & Stein, 2016), school location (Andre-Bechley, 2007), and the racial composition of schools (Weiher & Tedin, 2002) have been identified as key considerations of parents. The school choice considerations of Black parents and parents of students with dis/abilities specifically are largely absent from the literature (Mawene & Bal, 2018). This study was conducted with the aim of elevating their perspectives. Twenty Black parents of students with dis/abilities rank-ordered a selection of 40 statements about various aspects of schools using the web-based data collection and analysis tool called Q-Assessor. Four themes in perspective were identified and referred to as Race Forward, Challenge, Represent, and Serve and Support. The findings reveal racial diversity, academic achievement, representation of multiple identities in curriculum, and special education services are top considerations in the school choice sets of these individuals.