This article can be found in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Unequal Schools and Communities: A Critical Examination of Neoliberal Education Reform.
This article currently has free access and is available to read and download.
In 2009, the federal government of the United States proposed the “turnaround” of the nation’s 5,000 lowest performing public schools. In 2013, nearly 2,000 public schools were closed, in part due to this turnaround effort. An increasing number of these closures occurred in large cities where a majority of those affected were either Black or Latino. Utilizing quantitative data on Chicago, this article examines the impacts of these targeted school closures on public attitudes. The analysis reveals that Whites express high levels of support for school closure despite having very few experiences of their schools being closed. Blacks and Latinos, in contrast, absorb nearly 90% of school closures and express low levels of support toward it. Given that established research finds that Americans typically oppose education policies that undermine public schools, these findings raise serious questions about the role of race in shaping educational attitudes and, ultimately, education policy.