Parental Perceptions of Vocational Education: A Comparative Study Between an Urban School District and a Rural School District in South Mississippi

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

First Advisor

Clyde Ginn

Advisor Department

Educational Studies and Research


The purpose of this study was to investigate and compare the attitudes held by parents of high school students who reside in an urban school district and a rural school district toward vocational education. Parent perceptions of vocational education were based on three factors: (1) parent's income, (2) parent's education, and (3) parent's demographic location (urban school district or rural school district). For this study, a demographic questionnaire and survey form was distributed to 283 parents in an urban school district in South Mississippi and 350 parents in a rural school district in South Mississippi. The results provided a clearer picture and better understanding of several concerns that school personnel might consider when discussing vocational programs with prospective students and parents. Overall, perceptions of parents toward vocational education, as measured by the questionnaire survey, were quite positive. The samples in both the rural area and the urban area generally believed that vocational education is a viable option to prepare students for further education and employment. The findings did not support the historical belief that vocational education is a dumping ground for less able students.