Social Construction Is Racial Construction: Examining the Target Populations in School-Choice Policies


In this qualitative study, the authors examine how race influences the perception of school-choice policies among policymakers in five states – Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Oregon, and Michigan. Through interviews with key stakeholders in these states conducted in 2019, the authors aim to understand the way policy influencers view the intended beneficiaries of their proposed school-choice policies through a racialized lens. They find that white families are often seen as more capable or empowered compared to their minority counterparts, in the context of choosing schools. The study highlights the fluid and sometimes conflicting nature of these perceptions, even within the same state. Racial biases are embedded within the design and enactment of educational policies, although they were not explicitly stated. These findings have significant implications, as implicit bias shapes how policies are crafted and implemented, often with differing impacts on minority racial groups.

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