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W.T. Grant Foundation awards $50K grant to SOE researchers

Study to focus on how the processes and outcomes of school rezoning contribute to educational inequality

Drs. Andrene Castro, Genevieve Siegel-Hawley and Kimberly Bridges. [View Image] [View Image]From left: Andrene J. Castro, Ph.D., Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, Ph.D., and Kimberly M. Bridges, Ph.D.

The William T. Grant Foundation has awarded three VCU School of Education researchers a $50,000 grant that focuses on the processes and outcomes of school rezoning and how they contribute to educational inequality.

The study is entitled “School Rezoning And Educational Inequality: Narratives, Processes And Outcomes,” and will be conducted by the Department of Educational Leadership’s Andrene J. Castro, Ph.D., assistant professor; Genevieve Siegel-Hawley, Ph.D., associate professor; and Kimberly M. Bridges, Ed.L.D., assistant professor.

School rezoning is the process of adjusting school attendance boundaries between neighborhoods. These boundaries are significant because they determine school composition and impact educational inequality by influencing economic, social, or cultural resources available to K-12 students, such as the distribution of teachers between attendance zones and schools.

Despite the fact that rezoning is a common school board policy mechanism, little is known about the political and policy processes of rezoning and the extent to which it actually reduces educational inequality by:

  1. reducing racial and/or economic school segregation; and
  2. improving students’ access to high quality teachers.

This study will take place in two Virginia school districts – Richmond Public Schools and Henrico County Public Schools – from 2020 until 2022. Researchers seek to provide better understanding of the policy-making processes, the racial narratives stakeholders use throughout these processes, and the associated impacts in terms of segregation and access to crucial educational inputs.

Ultimately, the research sheds light on whether more school systems and communities achieve the intended outcomes of reducing segregation and inequality across schools.

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