Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Urban and Public Affairs

Degree Program

Urban and Public Affairs, PhD

Committee Chair

Imbroscio, David

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Negrey, Cynthia

Committee Member

Negrey, Cynthia

Committee Member

DeCaro, Daniel

Committee Member

Kolers, Avery

Author's Keywords

Albert Hirschman; charter schools; secession; Indiana; voice-exit-loyalty


In this study, I apply secession to Hirschman’s (1970) classic framework to develop a notion of charter school secession. I build beyond his constructs, which I define as Voice1, Exit1, and LoyaltyDistrict in the case of dissatisfaction with traditional school governance, to explore whether there is a rhetorically discernible “battle” in Indiana’s charter school development such that actors: (1) have a crisis of legitimacy (claim) against the local school or district (Voice2); (2) seek to leverage charter school formation as the mechanism to withdraw and establish independence (Exit2); and (3) defend their efforts due to allegiance to the charter school mode of governance (LoyaltyCharterSchools). I investigate this conceptualization in community newspapers’ editorial discourse related to charter schools. Analysis of 1,245 editorial page items spanning 25 years across 40 Indiana newspapers reveals four sets of reactions along the two guiding themes of charter school formation and secession: secession (using charter school and non-charter school forms) and loyalty (to charter schools or districts/district schools). This process further exposed two notable cases related to secession though neither match the conceptualization of charter school secession.