Social Contexts of the School Closures in West Philadelphia

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Anthropology
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Tardiff, Madeleine
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Background Information: This paper discusses the social contexts of the 2013 school closures in Philadelphia, specifically focusing on University City High School. This paper explores the notion that the school closings in West Philadelphia are connected to urban renewal or gentrifying processes. In this paper, “contexts” refers to the relevant history leading up to the school closings, information about the School District of Philadelphia, community perceptions of the closings, and quantitative data in some West Philadelphia neighborhoods. Methodology: Fieldwork at University City High School took place from January-April 2013, during the time the school closures were being announced, to collect information on stakeholders’ opinions of the school closings and the motivations behind them. Quantitative data was collected from the School District of Philadelphia and United States Censuses. Results: The data did not provide conclusive evidence as to whether there were ulterior motives behind the school closings; however, many community members shared the belief that there were, highlighting the need for increased transparency.

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Brian Spooner
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2014-04-01
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