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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 23 October 2021

The (Re)Making of a Good Public School

The (Re)Making of a Good Public School

Parent and Teacher Views of a Changing School Community

(p.65) Four The (Re)Making of a Good Public School
When Middle-Class Parents Choose Urban Schools

Linn Posey-Maddox

University of Chicago Press

This chapter investigates the social and political dynamics that the increased enrollment of white and multiracial middle- and upper-middle-class families brought about within a historically working-class, African American school community. Drawing from the experiences and perspectives of “long-timer” teachers and parents at the school, the chapter shows how the notion of school “improvement” was socially constructed and contested, as not all parents and teachers saw the movement of the middle class (and particularly the white middle-class) into the school as uniformly positive. The findings illustrate the limits of using test scores and student demographics as sole markers of “good schools,” as a reliance on these commonly-used symbols of school success can devalue or mask positive characteristics of urban schools that may not be captured in these dominant measures. The research highlights the importance of understanding the sociocultural and historical contexts of school communities in urban school reform and evaluation efforts.

Keywords:   school improvement, school reform, sociocultural and historical contexts, good schools

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