Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Cultural Foundations of Education


Sari K. Biklen


busing, color-blind racism, cultural reproduction, desegregation, school assignment, school choice

Subject Categories



This dissertation is a qualitative study of how parents in Louisville, Kentucky navigate the marketplace of schools. The study focuses on how parents choose schools in a metropolitan area where the primary public school district, Jefferson County Public Schools, which was originally racially desegregated by court order, instituted an assignment plan that relies on a measure of race, income and education level in neighborhood clusters to assign students to schools. I argue that this assignment plan, although crafted to increase equity among students, is resisted by parental decision-making. Parents represent this resistance as "color-blind," connected to the logistical and academic needs of their children. The study uses two levels of analysis: a policy analysis that examines the strengths and weaknesses of the assignment plan, and a critical analysis of how parents both understand the plan and use their cultural capital to reproduce their own social location through the school choice process.


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Available for download on Friday, December 07, 2018

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