The Impacts of Public-Private School Choice on Public Schools in the St. Louis Area

Authors: Tessa Cook*, Oklahoma State University
Topics: Urban Geography, Political Geography, Temporal GIS
Keywords: urban geography, geography of education, critical geographies of education, segregation
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Council Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

St. Louis Public Schools was once a thriving school district, leading the way for cities west of the Mississippi, but since 1967 the district has been declining in enrollment and is less than 1/4th of its peak size. This presentation has two main research questions: the first is how policy changes have affected enrollment and segregation of St. Louis area schools from 1991 to 2017; the second is how segregation and enrollment have affected school district achievement. The primary study area includes St. Louis City Public Schools, which is located in St. Louis City County, and the more than twenty suburban public school districts surrounding the city. For the first research question, I will use temporal GIS to see if segregation has increased in St. Louis area school districts from 1991 to 2017, and to see when inner-city school districts started losing enrollment to private, charter, or surrounding suburban schools. Then, using historical and political context, I will explore how desegregation and school-choice efforts have affected enrollment and segregation. For the second research question, I will use geographically weighted regression of Missouri school districts to analyze the impact of district indicators—including enrollment and racial demographics—on student achievement. I hope to provide a comprehensive display of the changes in enrollment over time alongside the historical context, in order to provide a better understanding of the impacts of policy changes and school choice on St. Louis schools.

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