Theses Doctoral

School Choice Overseas: Are Parents Citizens or Consumers?

Park, Daekwon

Currently, some Korean parents are educating their children in primary and secondary schools in foreign countries even though Korean schools demonstrate high performance as confirmed by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) Report. Using Hirschman's (1970) framework of "exit" and "voice," this study investigated characteristics of exiting parents and their reasons for educating their child(ren) in foreign schools. This study also examined the organizational, political and educational context of Korea, including the High School Equalization Policy (HSEP), private tutoring, change in the study abroad law, and the role these play in leading some families to leave their domestic local schools. A survey questionnaire was administered to two groups of parents - parents whose children attend school domestically (staying parents) and parents whose children attend school abroad (exiting parents). Purposive sampling was implemented for data collection. Analysis employed logistic regression to assess which factors significantly contributed to the decision to exit or to stay. This study's finding confirmed Hirschman's argument that exit may increase when opportunities for voice are limited. Before choosing schools in foreign countries, exiting Korean parents expressed their voice more actively at the school level than did staying parents. While exiting parents were prone to speak directly to the teachers, principals, and school staff at the school level, staying parents were more likely to vocalize their voice through city and national level elections by actively demonstrating political action by casting ballots. Staying parents were more likely to choose their children's school by residential choice. In evaluating Korean schools, exiting parents gave lower marks to the local schools where their children attended while scoring Korean schools in general higher.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Politics and Education
Thesis Advisors
Henig, Jeffrey
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 18, 2011