Grooms, Ain A.
Money or Diversity? An Implementation Analysis of the Voluntary Transfer Program in St. Louis, 1999-2009
Southern Regional Educational Board
How did fiscal resources and human interests affect suburban implementation of the voluntary transfer program between 1999 and 2009?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Education Policy Analysis Archives
Vol. 24, No. 20, Pp. 1-25
- Between 1999 and 2009, suburban implementation of the voluntary transfer program was largely affected by economic factors.
- The analysis of the economic frame suggests that the drop in enrollment experienced by the transfer program was not due to families in the city not choosing to enroll in the program. Enrollment had fallen because suburban districts were choosing to enroll fewer transfer students from St. Louis into their school due to smaller per-pupil tuition reimbursements.
- While some articles included the benefits of diversity and integration, the negative perceptions of St. Louis schools, the city, and the Black students and families lingers. This suburban viewpoint supports the common assumption that urban minorities, especially those from low-income backgrounds, “lack the social and cultural capital required for social mobility.”
- It seems that the voluntary transfer program is not being threatened politically or legally, rather it appears that the suburban residents feel as if their schools, and by extension their students are being threatened financially and academically.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Busing, Desegregation, Policy, Race, SES, Transfer
Method of Analysis:
82 newspaper articles collected from 4 sources
Unit of Analysis:
- Four newspaper sources were used to conduct the the media framing analysis: St. Louis Post- Dispatch, the major citywide newspaper; the St. Louis Beacon, an online media outlet established in 2007; and two suburban only outlets the Suburban Journal of St. Louis, published weekly in print and online, and the South County Times, published only online.
- The search of the four media outlets using the Lexis-Nexis database focused on the ten years between August 1, 1999 and July 31, 2009. This search yielded 82 articles that specifically referenced the voluntary transfer program based on keywords “voluntary transfer,” “voluntary desegregation,” or “interdistrict” program.
- News stories about students transferring who did not participate in the transfer program were not included in this analysis.
- The articles used were analyzed three times, one for each of the frames included: economic, human impact, and conflict. The economic frame addressed issues pertaining to human and fiscal resources, specifically as they related to the program’s tuition reimbursement policy. The human impact frame bought attention to topics pertaining to diversity, fairness and equality. Lastly, the conflict frame outlined the “us” versus “them” perspective evident between city and suburban students and schools.
- The supplemental framework used in this study is the backward-mapping approach to policy implementation, which suggests that those at the lowest level of implementation should provide the necessary information to inform the creation of a particular policy, based on their particular needs and beliefs.