How do marginalized families engage school choice in inequitable urban landscapes? A critical geographic approach


  • Ee-Seul Yoon University of Manitoba
  • Christopher Lubienski Indiana University, Bloomington



inequality, school choice, urban schools, poverty, race, space


The normalization of school choice in the education system is purported to provide more schooling options for all families, particularly those who do not have the means to move into affluent areas with ‘better’ schools. Nonetheless, it is still unclear to what extent the policy of school choice has been effective in achieving the goal of providing more choices for marginalized families. This paper aims to fill this gap by examining the K-12 school choice practices and patterns of marginalized urban families, with a focus on their spatial positions and dispositions, in what is arguably one of the most rapidly diversifying and polarizing cities in the world, Vancouver, Canada. An innovative mixed-methods critical geographic approach is used to better understand the families’ school choice participation and related mobility patterns geo-spatially, while exploring their choices phenomenologically.   


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Author Biographies

Ee-Seul Yoon, University of Manitoba

Ee-Seul Yoon is an Assistant Professor for the Department of Educational Administration, Foundations, and Psychology, University of Manitoba. Her primary research area includes school choice dilemmas and educational inequity in an era of education marketization and neoliberalization. Her recent work can be found in journals including British Journal of Sociology of Education, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, Curriculum Inquiry, Children’s Geographies and Youth and Society.

Christopher Lubienski, Indiana University, Bloomington

Christopher Lubienski is a Professor of education policy at Indiana University, and also a fellow with the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado and Visiting Professor at East China Normal University in Shanghai.  His research focuses on education policy, reform, and the political economy of education, with a particular concern for issues of equity and access.  His recent book, The Public School Advantage: Why Public Schools Outperform Private Schools (with co-author Sarah Theule Lubienski, University of Chicago Press), won the 2015 PROSE Award for Education Theory from the American Publishers Awards for Professional and Scholarly Excellence, and his next book, The Impact of Market Mechanisms on Educational Opportunity around the Globe (co-edited with Bekisizwe Ndimande), will be published by Routledge in 2017.




How to Cite

Yoon, E.-S., & Lubienski, C. (2017). How do marginalized families engage school choice in inequitable urban landscapes? A critical geographic approach. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25, 42.



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