International Journal of Social Policy & Education

ISSN 2689-4998 (print), 2689-5013 (online)

DOI: 10.61494/ijspe

Middle class parents’ participation in a social network and perspectives of school choice in Detroit: Findings from the perspectives of innovator parents

K. Dara Hill


This community-based, participatory action research study examined confidence in school decisions among social network participants. Participants reflect the perspective of a critical mass of parents who selected Detroit schools across public and charter entities. This study examines how the social network supported knowledge of successful school traits that influenced the selection of schools, willingness to support new cohort families, and perspectives of the reading curriculum. Additionally documented is parental involvement at select schools, perceptions of racially integrated schools and children’s experiences at selected schools. This study documented the group’s third year in the endeavor of informing about the onset of the children’s educational journey. Interview and survey data revealed confidence in public and charter school selections and parents’ willingness to contribute time, resources and advocacy to promote educational equality. These results are significant because their school choice decisions contributed to residential and educational sustainability and transformed an uncertain school landscape, against common convention of moving to the suburbs upon their children reaching school age.