Shopping for schools or shopping for peers : public schools and catchment area segregation

Rowe, Emma and Lubienski, Christopher 2017, Shopping for schools or shopping for peers : public schools and catchment area segregation, Journal of education policy, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 340-356, doi: 10.1080/02680939.2016.1263363.

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Title Shopping for schools or shopping for peers : public schools and catchment area segregation
Author(s) Rowe, EmmaORCID iD for Rowe, Emma
Lubienski, Christopher
Journal name Journal of education policy
Volume number 32
Issue number 3
Start page 340
End page 356
Total pages 17
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Place of publication Abingdon, Eng.
Publication date 2017
ISSN 0268-0939
Keyword(s) School choice
socio-demographic characteristics
public high school
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
mixed-methods research
rational choice
market theory
Summary Market theory positions the consumer as a rational choice actor, making informed schooling choices on the basis of ‘hard’ evidence of relative school effectiveness. Yet there are concerns that parents simply choose schools based on socio-demographic characteristics, thus leading to greater social segregation and undercutting the potential of choice to drive quality improvements. In this paper we explore segregation by examining catchment areas for a range of public high schools in a specific middle-class urban area. We focus on socio-demographic characteristics, including levels of income, country of birth and religion affiliation, in order to explore residential segregation according to public high school catchment areas. Our data suggests distinct residential segregation between catchment areas for each public school within our dataset, particularly for the schools deemed to be popular and rejected, that may pose risks for broader equity concerns. We argue that, in contrast to market theory, even more affluent and active choosers are not equipped with information on the programmatic quality of their different school options, but instead may be relying on socio-demographic characteristics of schools—through surrogate information about the urban spaces that the schools occupy—in order to choose peer groups, if not programs, for their children.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/02680939.2016.1263363
Field of Research 160506 Education Policy
130106 Secondary Education
1303 Specialist Studies In Education
1605 Policy And Administration
Socio Economic Objective 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Informa UK Limited
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