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Title page for ETD etd-07242017-143127

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Pearman, Francis Alvin II
URN etd-07242017-143127
Title When Change Lands in Place: Gentrification and Urban Schooling in the United States
Degree PhD
Department Learning, Teaching and Diversity
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dale Farran Committee Chair
Barbara Stengel Committee Member
Geoffrey Wodtke Committee Member
Mark Lipsey Committee Member
Richard Pitt Committee Member
Rogers Hall Committee Member
  • gentrification
  • urban education
  • exclusionary discipline
  • discipline gap
  • suspension rates
Date of Defense 2017-05-08
Availability restricted
The in-migration of relatively affluent households into disinvested central city neighborhoods—commonly referred to as gentrification—is increasingly common across the United States. There is limited quantitative evidence, however, as to how gentrification relates to the structure and function of neighborhood schools. The purpose of this dissertation is to provide an introductory picture of how a shifting landscape of urban inequality brought about by patterns of gentrification relates to urban schooling in the contemporary U.S. city.

In the first section, new statistics are presented on the incidence and distribution of gentrification occurring around public schools in the United States as a whole. Of the roughly 10 percent of urban schools that were located in neighborhoods categorized as disinvested in the year 2000, roughly one in four experienced gentrification in the subsequent decade. However, there exists considerable heterogeneity in the prevalence of gentrification across U.S. metropolitan areas. For example, the share of urban schools located in disinvested neighborhoods in 2000 that subsequently gentrified was over 40 percent in Washington, DC, but effectively zero in Memphis, TN.

The second section explores factors correlated with whether gentrification occurs around public schools. Among the population of schools located in gentrifiable neighborhoods at baseline, gentrification was more likely to occur around schools with fewer non-white students, fewer students per teacher, and fewer students overall, controlling for observable differences. School neighborhoods were also more likely to gentrify if the neighborhoods themselves had fewer non-white residents and if schools were located in cities with less racial residential segregation. The third part of this dissertation estimates whether gentrification is associated with changes in disciplinary patterns at neighborhood schools. Evidence is found that gentrification is associated with increased rates of suspension for black students at local high schools, especially in schools wherein black students comprise a minority of the student population.

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