Date of Award

12-2017

Culminating Project Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Educational Administration and Leadership, K-12: Ed.D.

Department

Educational Administration and Higher Education

College

School of Education

First Advisor

Kay Worner

Second Advisor

John Eller

Third Advisor

Roger Worner

Fourth Advisor

Jerry Wellik

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Dyslexia, School Satisfaction, Parent Perspective, Central Minnesota, Dyslexic Children

Abstract

Statement of the Problem According to Washburn, Joshi and Cantrell (2011) reading disabilities, such as dyslexia, affect 15-20% of the general population. Educational leadership requires school administrators to educate all students, regardless of their learning styles. With dyslexia affecting an estimated 15-20% of the school population (Washburn et al., 2011), it would be reasonable to assume that students with dyslexia are being underdiagnosed, and therefore underserved. Consequentially, potential revenue may be lost by public schools whose parents are choosing to enroll their child in the private sector because of past or perceived dissatisfaction in the public school’s ability to meet the need of their dyslexic child/ren. Parents are the ultimate consumers of public education. As the care providers and decision makers for their child’s education, it would be of interest for educational leaders to understand the satisfaction levels of parents with dyslexic children. [However] there is limited research on the perspectives of parents when evaluating perceived satisfaction with different school environments for their dyslexic students.

Study Purpose The purpose of the study was to examine perceived levels of satisfaction of public, private and home school learning environments by central Minnesota parents of dyslexic children. The study examined differences in parents’ perceived satisfaction with their dyslexic child’s school, based on age of child at diagnosis, interventions used, student and teacher attitudes towards dyslexia, co-existing conditions with dyslexia, and implications for educational leaders and policy makers. Further, the study examined the differences in parent perspectives from three different learning environments: home school, private school and public school.

Study Overview The researcher and two other Dyslexia Testing Specialists evaluated 90 private school, 15 home school and 74 public school students for dyslexia in central Minnesota from September 2007 through December, 2013. Study surveys were distributed to the parents of those students–a total of 179 surveys, one survey per household.

Key Findings Data analysis found school satisfaction levels reported by parents were similar in home school and private school groups. Those results showed higher satisfaction levels than reported by parents of the public school group. Only 15 of 135 respondents believed that the public school setting was the best environment for dyslexic learners. Even with these findings, only 16 of 135 respondents changed schools based on their child’s dyslexia diagnosis. The results of the study provide recommendations for future practice and research that would be beneficial to the field of educational leadership.

Comments/Acknowledgements

A very special thank you to my professors at St. Cloud State University and my committee members: Dr. Kay Worner, who is the definition of strong, competent, and exceptional leadership. Dr. John Eller, who thoroughly understands the doctoral process and getting graduate students across the finish line. Dr. Roger Worner, who teaches with humor, insight and wisdom. And finally, Dr. Jerry Wellik, who was also my advisor as an undergraduate student over three decades ago. A kinder man and better ambassador for St. Cloud State University will never be found. To Cohort V, you were all amazing and I learned so very much from all of you. I could have never asked for a better group to spend my time with; every one of our weekends will be treasured in my memory. A special thank you to my dear friend, Dory Beutel, who is not only the most dynamic and exceptional professor I have ever witnessed in action, but also a treasured friend who I got to learn and grow beside as a part of Cohort V. A special thank you goes to Randy Kolb, director of the SCSU Statistical Consulting and Research Center, and Alyssa Miller, Chief Editor of Real Eyes Editing and Writing. Their patience, professionalism and constant support have been instrumental in this process. To my family and extended family, who have been cheering me on every step of the way. When you have so many believing in you, there is no other option but to believe in yourself. Thanks for being my inspiration for what you are all doing every day. Finally, thank you to my husband, Dan Stark, who has spent countless hours listening, editing, providing encouragement, and unending support throughout this journey. Thank you for making all of the sacrifices you made, holding down the home front and building me my own office to pursue my dreams. I love you.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” -Thomas Edison

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