A parent-initiated school of choice: An examination of the genesis and early history of King Traditional School

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(Thesis) Ph.D.
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Parental activism in education in British Columbia has been manifest in a number of initiatives. In particular, within the last 20 years, a small number of "traditional" and "fundamental" schools have been proposed by parents and approved in communities such as Langley, Surrey and Abbotsford. This dissertation focuses specifically on the genesis and early years of King Traditional School in Abbotsford, which opened in 1995. King Traditional School is a school in which the wishes of parents are paramount. This dissertation enumerates the educational values of the school and acknowledges the "triad" of parent, teacher and student as the most salient factor in the school's ascendancy; indeed, although the school has some unique characteristics - which primarily may be regarded as cosmetic - the vibrant support of participative parents is the most significant factor in the school's successes. Through the study of documents from similar schools that were founded in Pasadena and Langley, this paper reveals the origins of King Traditional School and demonstrates the ideological framework that underlay these schools, including responses to public education In addition, through the examination of scholarly - and not so scholarly -papers concerning the school and fundamental / traditional schooling in general, an understanding of the aspirations of adherents is revealed. This understanding is also illuminated through some of the articles that appeared in local newspapers whch introduced the school and the beliefs of its supporters into the public discourse. As school boards aspire to maintain hgh enrollments and do not wish to lose students to the private system, they will continue to receive pressure to provide alternatives - such as traditional schools - which offer to parents the veneer of private schooling without the cost. The allure of such schools is understandable, particularly in the Fraser Valley with high private school attendance, but trustees will need to exercise caution in not pandering to parents who may have a self-seeking approach to their children's schooling. The Ministry of Education may wish to consider guidelines for such schools in order to protect the principles of public education and provide local trustees with salutary parameters to guide their deliberations.
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