School Closings, Openings and Restructurings: Implications for Schools and Neighborhoods
Since the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, many federal education policies have recommended states and districts close, restructure or open new schools in order to improve their district’s academic performance. However, few studies address the extent to which these actions can disrupt the educational landscape. In this dissertation, I employ concepts from organizational ecology, institutional theory and the neighborhood effects literature to examine whether the restructuring, closure or opening of new schools produces spillover effects for other schools or has consequences for spatial inequality within school boundaries and neighborhoods.
I use school-level data from the National Center for Education Statistics Common Core of Data, the Private School Survey and the School Attendance Boundary Information System to estimate weighted fixed effects models and difference-in-difference models that assess whether schools located near closed and restructured schools have different organizational characteristics or structures than those not near a closed or restructured school. I also use neighborhood Internet traffic and a survey experiment to measure whether the opening and closing of schools affects the perceived desirability of neighborhoods using difference-in-differences and multilevel ordinal logistic regression. I find these actions do produce spillover effects for school boundaries and impact perceptions of neighborhood desirability in nuanced ways.
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