Journal of Public Management & Social Policy


Brian Robinson


Despite being cemented into the American education system, school choice policies remain controversial among scholars, practitioners, policy makers, and education reform advocates. This study seeks to understand how low-income and working-class parents, for whom school choice advocates claim these policies are intended to benefit, perceive school choice and what motivates these perceptions. In particular, this study focuses on low-income and working-class Black mothers who are often disadvantaged in the education marketplace. Taking advantage of a relatively robust school choice system in Washington, D.C., the author interviewed 10 low-income and working-class Black mothers. The mothers in this sample see school choice policies as an opportunity to exert agency over their children’s education opportunities; however, in reality their choices are limited by their positionality which constrains their real choices. These parents want options beyond their in-boundary traditional public school but policy makers must pursue equitable policies to make the school choice process easier and fairer.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.