Date of Award
Dissertation in Practice
School closure, Educational reform, Community engagement, Critical race theory, Neoliberalism, Meritocracy
Educational Administration and Policy Studies
Lolita Tabron, Ph.D.
Erin Anderson, Ph.D.
Floyd Cobb, Ph.D.
Family and community engagement are a proven strategy for strengthening schools. Across the United States, parents and community members have pressed school boards and district leadership for more transparency and broader participation in decisions about school turnaround. The purpose of this qualitative case study is to understand the decision-making process for the school closure of Rocky Mountain High School, a neighborhood school in an Urban School District in the Rocky Mountain West and the impact it had on the community. To better understand this dilemma, a case study method was used to identify real-life perspectives of community members associated with school closures and their beliefs of how their community has been affected socially, emotionally, and financially by the closing of a neighborhood school. Because school closures happen more often in neighborhoods where the majority of residents are people of color, a critical race perspective was cross referenced to examine school closures as a matter of space in educational reforms. The findings to the central research question for this study: How do school closings affect lower socioeconomic urban communities in which they serve? yielded five themes: (a) The Community believed a singular focus on data (standardized test scores) was used to justify the school closure; (b) The Community believed historical racialized methods were used to establish the Pebbles community and ultimately used to close Rocky Mountain High School; (c) The Community believed money, power, and influence dictated the outcome; (d) The Community believed the process was manufactured; and (e) The Community did not believe their voice mattered in the process. The collected data highlighted how a particular school closure was decided, how the decision was reached, and the outcomes of the decision. In addition, the overview of the process revealed community perceptions that believe their voice was limited in scope.
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McWright, Anthony, "Where Is the CommUNITY? A Qualitative Case Study of a School Closure in an Urban School District" (2020). Educational Leadership and Policy Studies: Doctoral Research Projects. 16.