Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Seo Young Park

Reader 2

Roberta Espinoza


The concept of choice as it applies to the American educational system has been a topic of intense discussion in recent years. Since the development of this central institution, the freedom of scholastic choice has been an intricate part of the United States’ academic landscape. However, scholars have noted a recent shift as the country has started to take a more neoliberal approach to schooling. In order to better understanding of the concept of choice on a more individualistic level, I conducted a number of personal interviews with parents raising their children in the small rural town of Port Townsend, Washington. My exploration found that while the abundance of academic programs put strain on the educational system on a communal level, on a personal level the ability to have choices was vital for many families. Educational options are shaped by the needs community they serve, often providing flexibility and protection for families who simply want their students to have the best possible future. Thus, I conclude that while the concept of choice may be debated on a nationwide theoretical level, on a personal level it remains a complex but necessary tool for families to ensure their children’s happiness and success.