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When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban SchoolsClass, Race, and the Challenge of Equity in Public Education$
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Linn Posey-Maddox

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226120188

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226120355.001.0001

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Building a “Critical Mass”

Building a “Critical Mass”

Neighborhood Parent Group Action for School Change

(p.37) Three Building a “Critical Mass”
When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools

Linn Posey-Maddox

University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the influence of parents’ collective action and social networks in processes of school choice and urban school transformation. Specifically, the chapter examines the efforts of a middle-class neighborhood parent group to increase neighborhood enrollment and investment in their local school. Through an analysis of parents’ efforts to create what several described as a “critical mass” of middle-class families at the school, this chapter explores the equity implications of neighborhood parent-group organizing for urban school reform. The findings suggest that middle-class parents are not simply taking advantage of urban revitalization efforts led by developers and civic leaders, but may be collective actors in processes of school and neighborhood change.

Keywords:   parent engagement, social networks, critical mass, collective action, school choice, middle-class parents

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