Skip navigation
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Educational Progression or Regression? An analysis of the varied reactions to school choice policies in New York City
Authors: Donahey, Megan
Advisors: Flaherty, Martin S
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2020
Abstract: In the last 10 years, progressive school choice policies have been embraced by a number of school districts across the United States. The intention behind these policies was to combat segregation in public schools, desegregate the United States housing system, improve school performance, and grant greater autonomy to parents to select an ideal public school for their child. A number of recent empirical studies, however, reveal that progressive school choice policies have been unsuccessful in accomplishing its objectives, in some cases, exacerbating the realities it sought to correct. In New York City, the focal point of this thesis, progressive school choice policies have further stratified schools along racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. The findings of these quantitative studies are useful for devising efficacious policy modifications, yet they lack information regarding how school choice policies are perceived by the students and families for whom they were designed. Accordingly, the purpose of this thesis is to supplement existing quantitative studies with a qualitative evaluation of the media responses to progressive school choice policies of three New York City newspapers – the Amsterdam News, the Post, and the Times. Since a newspaper’s point of view generally correspond with that of its readership, an analysis of a newspaper’s opinion with respect to school choice policies reveals the general reaction of its readership. Ultimately, the Amsterdam News was strongly opposed to school choice, emphasizing its segregating effects. The Post, one the other hand, strongly supported school choice, arguing that it fostered greater competition among schools, thereby improving school quality. Lastly, the Times sympathized with arguments presented by both the Amsterdam News and the Post but had a slightly unfavorable opinion of school choice in light of empirical studies showing its segregating effect. As each newspaper attracts a vastly different readership, my analysis reveals that societal reactions to school choice policies diverge along ideological lines. A policy response that considers the results of empirical studies as well as the priorities of both proponents and opponents of school choice is known as “controlled” choice. “Controlled” choice preserves the autonomy granted to parents to select schools, while the algorithm that distributes students across New York City schools executes diversity objectives.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2020

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
DONAHEY-MEGAN-THESIS.pdf562.71 kBAdobe PDF    Request a copy

Items in Dataspace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.