When Schools Close
Race, Reform and the Political Beliefs of Americans
Book Summary: Last year, nearly 2000 public schools were closed across the U.S. - twice the number of schools closed only a decade earlier. An increasing number of these closures occurred in large cities, such as Chicago and Philadelphia, where approximately 90% of those affected were either black or latino. The large number of closures, and its uneven consequences on blacks and latinos, raises serious questions about how the American government distributes public goods and the impacts of these decisions on the political beliefs of citizens most directly affected. In particular, what are the consequences of school closure for democracy when schools are supposed to play such an integral role in reducing inequality, translating civic skills and improving political participation?
When Schools Close investigates what citizens attitudes towards school closure are and how race structures them; how policy attitudes towards school closure shape broader political attitudes, in particular political efficacy and political blame; and the effects of school closure for citizens’ political engagement. Finally, it addresses the normative implications of public school closure for issues of socio-economic and racial inequality. Altogether, the insights revealed in this work are critical for advancing the goals of improving citizens’ experiences with democratic processes and practices.