Date of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Educational Studies Faculty


In 2006, Hartford Public Schools became an all-choice district effectively eliminating the concept of zoned neighborhood schools. Designed to make public schools hubs of community development and empowerment, the Hartford Community Schools were founded three years later. This study is intended to develop a basic understanding of school choice preferences among poor minority parents and address the contradiction of local, community-based schools operating within a larger all-choice market-driven district reform strategy. Drawing on data from six interviews with Hartford Community School parents and analysis of a pre-existing publically available data set collected by the National Household Education Survey this study focuses on the complex nature of parent choice. I argue that powerful socioeconomic factors and historical perspectives greatly impact patterns of public school choice among low-income minority parents. This suggests that it is inappropriate to contextualize the schooling preferences of low-income parents of color using a white middle-class centric understanding of educational values. Further, given the recent expansion of parent choice in public education nationally, it is important to question if school choice is really the most effective strategy to improve education opportunities for low-income minority families.


Senior project completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies

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