“All schools are not created equal:” An analysis of public comments on school rezoning
Keywords:school rezoning, critical policy analysis, school desegregation, education politics
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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Copyright (c) 2022 Andrene Castro, Mitchell Parry, Genevieve Siegel-Hawley
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