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In the Storm's Eye: How Race, Experience, and Exposure Shape Arizona Teachers' Attitudes Toward School Choice


by Frederick Hess, Robert Maranto, Scott Millman & Kathleen Grammatico Ferraiolo — 2002

Amidst the growing research on choice-based school reform, little attention has been paid to examining how teachers view school choice or what factors shape their attitudes. Teachers can impact the success of choice experiments through their willingness to launch and staff schools of choice, share information with teachers at those schools, and support change in their unions and communities. Examining Arizona, the state with the nation's most developed system of choice, we explore how personal traits, including race, tenure, partisanship, and familiarity with charter schooling, influence teachers' attitudes toward charter schools and school vouchers. In addition, we examine how other school- or district-level variables, including culture and charter penetration, inform teachers' views. Finally, to assess the effect of experience with school choice, we examine the factors that shape charter schoolteachers' views about choice. Using a 1998 survey, we find that White, experienced, unionized, Democratic educators and those working in "positive" school environments are less supportive of school choice. Charter-school teachers are significantly more positive about school choice than their public school counterparts, although they do not respond to the same variables. The results can help illuminate the likely political prospects and practical effects of choice-based reform.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 104 Number 8, 2002, p. 1568-1590
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11332, Date Accessed: 12/17/2017 10:18:19 PM

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About the Author
  • Frederick Hess
    University of Virginia
    FREDERICK HESS is an assistant professor of government and education at the University of Virginia. His books include Revolution at the Margins: The Impact of Competition on Urban School Systems, Spinning Wheels: The Politics of Urban School Reform, and Bringing Social Sciences Alive. His work has appeared in journals, including American Politics Quarterly, Phi Delta Kappan, Social Science Quarterly, Policy Studies Journal, and Urban Affairs Review.
  • Robert Maranto
    Villanova University
    E-mail Author
    ROBERT MARANTO teaches political science at Villanova University and with others has produced numerous works including School Choice in the Real World: Lessons from Arizona Charter Schools (Westview, 2001) and Radical Reform of the Civil Service (Lexington, 2001).
  • Scott Millman
    James Madison University
    SCOTT MILLIMAN is an associate professor of economics at James Madison University and coeditor of School Choice in the Real World: Lessons from Arizona Charter Schools. His education research has appeared in journals such as Political Science Quarterly, Policy Studies Journal, and Phi Delta Kappan.
  • Kathleen Ferraiolo
    University of Virginia
    KATHLEEN GRAMMATICO FERRAIOLO is a Ph.D. candidate in politics at the University of Virginia. Her research interests include public opinion, political institutions, and public policy.
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