“We felt they took the heart out of the community”: Examining a community-based response to urban school closure


  • Terrance Green University of Texas at Austin




School closures, shared leadership, school-community engagement, urban school reform, community-based education


Massive school closures are occurring in urban school districts across the United States. Research suggests that school closures are the outcome of racialized neoliberal policies and decades of disinvestment that have left many urban districts with fiscal deficits and declining student enrollments. However, some urban communities have successfully organized against school closures and reopened neighborhood schools. As such, this study examines how leaders in a community-university coalition in the Midwestern United States reopened a high school that was closed by its district. This case study draws on interviews and document data, and describes the forces that promoted school closure and its impacts on the community. Concepts from social capital and social network theories are used to guide the analysis. Findings indicate these leaders leveraged networks to negotiate a community-university social contract, took strategic and socially connected actions, and formed a community-driven education task force. This study offers implications for policy, future research, and communities in similar contexts. 


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Terrance Green, University of Texas at Austin

Terrance L. Green (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin in the Educational Policy and Planning Program. His research focuses on the intersection of urban school reform and equitable community development, with a particular emphasis on school and community leadership. He also examines the geography of educational opportunity for children of color from low-income neighborhoods. Dr. Green is a recipient of the William J. Davis award for the most outstanding article published in a volume of Educational Administration Quarterly. His work has been featured in Teachers College Record, Journal of School Leadership, The Urban Review, International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, Urban Education, Education and Urban Society, Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership, and the Handbook of Research on Educational Leadership for Diversity and Equity.




How to Cite

Green, T. (2017). “We felt they took the heart out of the community”: Examining a community-based response to urban school closure. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25, 21. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.25.2549