Holme, Jennifer Jellison
Buying Homes, Buying Schools: School Choice and the Social Construction of School Quality
University of Texas at Austin
What are the choices of the parents who advocates feel are unfairly privileged in the existing educational system?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Harvard Educational Review
Vol. 72, No. 2, Pp. 177-205
- Social networks pass on parents’ overall opinions about the quality of a school as either good or bad. In the eyes of the parent these opinions gained validity when they came from one or more high-status individuals.
- When asked how they learned about the schools that they choose 35 of the 42 interviewed said that they had heard about the schools from other parents in their preschools, neighborhoods, day care centers and offices.
- Construction of Bad schools- For parents in two of the school districts (Rancho Vista and Bay View) Information about bad schools led to the rejection of districts with a large number of students of color.
- Status concerns were more salient to the parents than the school’s curriculum and instructional quality which they knew little about before making their residential choices.
- Parents rationalized their rejection of school serving predominately low-income and/or children of color and their choice of schools serving predominately white, high income children through status ideologies attributing the motivation, behavior, and academic ability of students to their race and socioeconomic status.
- Although no parent that was interviewed obtained statistics on school violence, many of them stated that they were concerned about the purported violence in the predominately low income minority schools that they deemed unsatisfactory for their children. Parents assumed that people in the higher status schools pose less of a safety risk to their students.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Academic Achievement, Choice, Racial Composition, Residential Segregation, School Characteristics, School Quality
Case Studies, Interviews
Method of Analysis:
Unit of Analysis:
- The author interviewed 42 parents who used their financial resources to buy a home in what they believed was the best school district they could afford.