ERIC Number: EJ1071708
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 33
Civic Mobilization for School Reform in Rivergrove, Florida: Contesting the "Social Construction of Place" in an Inner Ring Suburban City
Shircliffe, Barbara J.; Lance Rowland, M.
Urban Review: Issues and Ideas in Public Education, v47 n3 p413-432 Sep 2015
This paper examines civic mobilization for school improvement in Rivergrove, a small suburban city within the inner rings of a large Florida metro (All names of individuals, schools, organizations and communities are pseudonyms per IRB agreement with district. Subsequently, references to local media reports and city documents are disguised to meet IRB requirements.). Here, civic mobilization is understood as a movement against technocratic control over decision-making in a struggle over the social construction of place (Lake 1994). Faced with limited growth and demographic change, Rivergrove's civic leaders embrace strategies utilized in major cities to address blight and increasing school segregation. Rivergrove's elected and appointed leaders sought independence from the larger metropolitan school district in order to confine school boundaries to Rivergrove's city limits, at the exclusion of low income, predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Although local control proved infeasible, civic mobilization increased inter-governmental cooperation between city leaders and metropolitan school district officials. Efforts to improve public schooling focus on building a community identity within the schools, establishing themed academic programs in schools undergoing social economic and racial turnover, providing grants for instructional innovation, and forming regular communication between elected officials and district and school level leaders. The case of Rivergrove offers insight into the racial and class boundary making that occurs when building civic capacity.
Descriptors: Educational Change, Suburban Schools, Public Schools, Educational Improvement, Citizen Participation, School Segregation, School District Autonomy, Cooperation, City Government, Elementary Secondary Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida