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“All schools are not created equal:” An analysis of public comments on school rezoning

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Published: 2022-02-08

Authors

Andrene J. Castro

Virginia Commonwealth University

Mitchell Parry

Virginia Commonwealth University

https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5193-6181

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley

Virginia Commonwealth University

Keywords: school rezoning; critical policy analysis; school desegregation; education politics

Abstract

Public opinion plays an important role in shaping the policy process. We examined public input in the form of written public comments to interrogate group expression and public values in school policymaking. Drawing on theoretical and methodological tenets of critical policy and critical discourse analysis, our study examined 3,339 written public comments across two school districts undergoing school rezoning, which is the process of drawing and redrawing school attendance boundaries. Our findings highlight the complexity of public opinion on rezoning policies related to 1) competing values and visions for school diversity, 2) racialized conceptualizations of community members’ sense of belonging, and 3) forms of boundary maintenance used to discursively resist boundary changes by excluding students and families of color from crucial resources. As more U.S. districts consider rezoning to balance the racial and/or economic composition of schools, this study contributes new insight into stakeholders’ implicit and explicit racial attitudes, motivations, and values in response to rezoning’s complex policy process.

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Author Biographies

Andrene J. Castro

Virginia Commonwealth University

Andrene J. Castro is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and faculty scholar at the Institute for Inclusion, Inquiry, and Innovation at Virginia Commonwealth University. Castro’s research explores two educational policy areas: 1) policies and leadership practices shaping teacher recruitment and retention with a particular focus on teachers of color; and 2) educational policies impacting school neighborhood-communities.

Mitchell Parry

Virginia Commonwealth University

Mitchell Parry is a PhD candidate in educational leadership, policy and justice at Virginia Commonwealth University.  His dissertation will explore the experiences of sexual minority students with Virginia’s public-school sexuality education program, with a goal of amplifying their voices and needs.

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley

Virginia Commonwealth University

Genevieve Siegel-Hawley is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University. She studies the dynamics of school segregation and integration in metropolitan contexts.

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Published: 2022-02-08

How to Cite

Castro, A. J., Parry, M., & Siegel-Hawley, G. (2022). “All schools are not created equal:” An analysis of public comments on school rezoning. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 30, (13). https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.30.6984