“A Very Difficult Decision”

Teacher Educator Parents, their Children’s Schooling, and the Misalignment of Values and Choices


  • Kerry Kretchmar Carroll University
  • Alyssa Hadley Dunn Michigan State University


School Choice, Parents, Neoliberalism, Teacher Educator Parents


In this paper, we explore how teacher educator parents’ (TEPs) feelings about their choices for their children’s schooling and how these choices align or don’t with their professional values. We provide a nuanced look at the emotional elements of “school choice” and the delicate intersections of teacher educators’ personal and professional identities amid a neoliberal educational system that is grounded in choice. This paper illuminates TEPs’ cognitive dissonance and struggle through conflicted and emotional choices as they strive to live in ways that reflect their ideals, while parenting within a racist and stratified school system.

Author Biographies

Kerry Kretchmar, Carroll University

Kerry Kretchmar is Associate Professor of Education at Carroll University where she teaches courses in the early childhood minor, the equity and inclusion block, and Educational Studies. Her research interests include examining the way market-based reforms are impacting teachers, teaching, and teacher education, with a focus on issues of equity and social justice.

Alyssa Hadley Dunn, Michigan State University

Alyssa Hadley Dunn is Associate Professor in the College of Education at Michigan State University, her research centers on urban teacher education and support and the sociocultural and political contexts of urban schools, with a focus on issues of race, justice, and equity.