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Title:Charter school growth and educational equity in metropolitan areas
Author(s):Lee, Jin
Director of Research:Welton, Anjalé
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Welton, Anjalé
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Greene, Jennifer; Lipman, Pauline; Lubienski, Christopher
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Charter school
Mission statement
Spatial analysis
School closure
Abstract:With great financial support and strong political alignment, the potential of market metaphors have been experimented through a variety of school choice programs and new school models for the last two decades. Among them, charter school movements have been rapidly expanding in the US. By bringing into question marketization’s potentials of choice and competition in public education, this dissertation steps back from the topic of student performance in charter schools, and instead examines what eventually happened with the growth of charter school markets in multiple ways. This dissertation follows a three-paper format to draw implications through a comprehensive understanding of charter schools. The dissertation looks at three different research regions, selected to fit the objectives of each research paper. Paper 1: Do Charter Schools Differ from Each Other? Dissimilarities among charter schools may provide a richer and broader array of school options for children with various needs and interests, as well as function as both marketing tools and informational resources. The first paper examines diversification among charter school organizations through analyzing their mission statements. The study investigates the contents of charter schools’ mission statements and explores how differentiated charter school mission statements vary by location, authorizer, management organization, and performance. This paper looks into the mission statements of 189 schools in the Detroit metropolitan area in which a great number of students served by school choice programs have pushed charter schools under competitive pressures. By examining contents of the mission statements, this study finds that overall, apart from the theme of academic emphasis, the charter school mission statements in the Detroit metropolitan area looked essentially alike on many themes. That is, the generic nature of mission statements in charter schools challenges advocates’ assertions that competitive incentives will induce a diversity of school options. Paper 2: Do Students Have Equal Access to Charter School? With the assumption that the open enrollment scheme of charter schools leads to equal distribution of educational opportunities, charter schools were expected to weaken the close connection between residence and enrollment. The second paper asks whether or not students have equal potential access to charter schools across communities and how disparities in charter school access are related with housing patterns by race and socioeconomic status. In the New York metropolitan area, the study employing the spatial lag regression analysis shows that children in areas less accessible to charter schools tend to be more exposed to communities with more populations of color, fewer educated adults, higher unemployed groups, lower-earning populations, and less expensive housings. Therefore, the findings, which review physically accessible charter schools from the standpoint of children aged 5 to 13 years, offer empirical evidence that access to charter school differs depending on demographic characteristics and socioeconomic attributes in significant combination with geography. In other words, accessibility is unevenly spread out similar to the distributions of aspatial features in highly fragmented metropolitan areas. Paper 3: Do New Schools Harm Public School Students? As a rapidly growing number of charter schools may cause unexpected consequences such as limited access to neighboring schools, the last paper scrutinizes what changes are brought to students by charter schools. Focusing on the case of the Chicago Public Schools, the study reviews the possibility of spatial inequality created by charter school openings and public school closings in highly segregated cities, and uses cartograms to detect the possibility of spatial inequity in school closures. This study illustrates that local school closures, created by under-enrollment and the corresponding financial burdens in school districts, have a negative impact on accessibility of about 13,000 students to be relocated to other neighboring schools. Specifically, African-American and Hispanic school-aged children, as presented in the large geographic distortions redrawn with the population size, are more likely to exposed to the loss of accessibility after the mass school closings.
Issue Date:2017-04-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Jin Lee
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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