Parental choice, neighborhood schools, and the market metaphor in urban education reform
Billingham, Chase M.
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Billingham, Chase. 2014. Parental choice, neighborhood schools, and the market metaphor in urban education reform. Urban Studies, v. no. pp.1-17.
Critics of many popular urban school reforms in the United States allege that these reform efforts unfairly insert market forces into the public domain, resulting in widening inequalities. In this paper, I challenge the notion that market forces per se are responsible for the gentrification that school reform often facilitates. Drawing on in-depth interviews, government documents, and media accounts, I analyse one component of school reform in Boston, the overhaul of the city’s public school student assignment policy, which curtailed parental choice (and, therefore, market pressure) within the city’s school system, while still potentially perpetuating inequalities. I discuss the implications of these findings for urban social theory related to education reform.
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