School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Barbara Jordan White


Special Education, Christian School, Elementary, Parent Satisfaction, Special Needs, School Choice


Education | Elementary Education


Education professionals have expressed concern that parents’ decisions to enroll students with special needs in Christian schools are ill-informed due to lack of data surrounding student outcomes in such environments and lack of teacher qualifications (Cheng et al., 2016; Lane, 2017). There has been very little research on why parents choose Christian elementary school for their students with special needs. The purpose of this qualitative transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the factors contributing to parents choosing a Christian elementary school for children with special needs. Lev Vygotsky’s social constructivism theory framed this study, as it states that one’s knowledge is informed by perspective and shaped by values (Gordon, 2009; Slavin, 2006). The central research question to be answered was: What factors contribute to parents choosing Christian elementary school for their children with special needs? Criterion sampling was used to select ten participants who chose a Christian elementary school in various states for students with special needs. Data was collected through interviews, focus groups, and journal prompts. Data was analyzed using Moustakas’ (1994) transcendental phenomenological approach through epoché, phenomenological reduction, and imaginative variation. The results revealed that parents find the most value in the following emergent themes: (a) Christian worldview, (b) community, (c) services, resources, and accommodations, and (d) collaboration and partnership. Future research recommendations include quantitative methods, expanding the sample geographically, expanding the sample to include middle school and high school Christian schools.