Department of Educational Administration


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A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Interdepartmental Area of Education Administration, Under the Supervision of Professor Jody C. Isernhagen. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2010
Copyright 2010 Emily M. Zarybnisky


This study explored why parents choose Montessori schools for their children. Parents from two public (n = 40) and two private (n = 10) Montessori schools responded to a written survey designed to discern what characteristics parents valued in making their decision. Descriptive statistics, t-tests, and chi-square tests were used to understand the trends present in parents‟ responses. Comparisons were made between public and private Montessori parents to explore the overarching themes and to determine differences that existed between the two types of parents. The researcher conducted thirteen interviews designed to elicit additional information about why the parents chose Montessori programs and to confirm the results of the quantitative data. Open-ended survey items and interview transcripts were coded using content analysis. Public and private Montessori school parents valued similar factors and characteristics with a few significant differences. Public Montessori parents valued diversity and free tuition while private Montessori parents placed higher value on academic programming. Information obtained from the participants indicated several areas of opportunity for schools to develop creative marketing strategies and to employ innovative strategies for improvement.