Selling and resisting English-medium schooling on Milwaukee’s multilingual Near South Side: A typology of choice schools’ marketing strategies




bilingual education, racial capitalism, school choice, marketization


Extant research has emphasized the importance of information to help families of English learner-identified children to navigate school choice structures, and raised critical questions about the information that is made available through school marketing. At a time of increasing tension around school choice and the rapid expansion of certain forms of bilingual education, we argue for the importance of documenting language minoritized parents’ experiential knowledge as one means of combating choice-based exclusion. Drawing from theories of racial capitalism, language ideologies, and language policy, we analyze charter and voucher school websites and interview data from a nine-month critical bifocal ethnography on the intersections and tensions between bilingual education and school choice policy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Our findings identify six marketing strategies that choice schools employed on Milwaukee’s Near South Side, a place with high concentrations of Spanish-speaking, low-income Latinx families. We also present one working-class Mexican father’s narrative of choosing a school for his child as an example of the ways in which parents actively resist the racializing logics embedded within choice-based, marketized school systems. The article provides policy agents with a typology to help generate additional, place-specific analyses of the marketization of language education in multilingual communities.


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Author Biographies

Andrew H. Hurie, Carroll University

Andrew H. Hurie is an assistant professor of bilingual/bicultural education at Carroll University. He received a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from The University of Texas at Austin. His research uses qualitative methods and critical theories to examine education policies and practices, with specific attention to educational justice for language minoritized students and communities.

Deborah K. Palmer, University of Colorado Boulder

Deborah K. Palmer is a professor of equity, bilingualism and biliteracy in the School of Education at the University of Colorado Boulder. A qualitative researcher, her interests include equity in dual language bilingual education and bilingual teacher leadership/activism. Her 2018 book, Bilingual Teacher Leadership for Social Change was published by Multilingual Matters.




How to Cite

Hurie, A. H., & Palmer, D. K. (2022). Selling and resisting English-medium schooling on Milwaukee’s multilingual Near South Side: A typology of choice schools’ marketing strategies. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 30, (28).