In this article, Genevieve Siegel-Hawley illuminates the challenges and opportunities posed by demographic change in suburban school systems. As expanding student populations stretch the enrollment capacities of existing schools in suburban communities, new schools are built and attendance lines are redrawn. This redistricting process can be used either to foster school diversity or to exacerbate racial isolation. Drawing on data from the U.S. Census, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the school district, along with mapping software from Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Siegel-Hawley examines the relationship between overcrowding, racial isolation, and the original, proposed, and final high school attendance zones in a changing suburban district. Findings indicate that school officials responsible for the rezoning process failed to embrace the growing diversity of the school system, choosing instead to solidify extreme patterns of racial isolation within high school attendance areas. The segregative impact of the district's new attendance zones may be subject to legal scrutiny, a consequence that could—and should—discourage other school systems from adopting similarly harmful redistricting policies.
Educational Gerrymandering? Race and Attendance Boundaries in a Demographically Changing Suburb
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Genevieve Siegel-Hawley; Educational Gerrymandering? Race and Attendance Boundaries in a Demographically Changing Suburb. Harvard Educational Review 1 December 2013; 83 (4): 580–612. doi: https://doi.org/10.17763/haer.83.4.k385375245677131
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