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Analyzing the Policy That Shaped Her Education:

As a child Lauren Fox experienced first-hand the court-ordered racial integration of public schools in Charlotte, North Carolina. At TC she studied the fallout of their subsequent return to de facto segregation.
Analyzing the Policy That Shaped Her Education:  
Lauren Fox, Master’s of Arts in Sociology and Education
 

foxvideoWatch Interview
 
As a child Lauren Fox experienced first-hand the court-ordered racial integration of public schools in Charlotte, North Carolina. At TC she studied the fallout of their subsequent return to de facto segregation.
 
As a white student bused across town to integrated magnet schools in Charlotte in the mid-to-late 1990s, Fox recalls that the “busing system was completely normal for us. I thought that was the way all school systems were, and I had a great experience.”
 
Charlotte was known in those days as a national model following a 1971 U.S. Supreme Court decision that had required the city to integrate its schools. But in 2000, when Fox was a sophomore in high school, the Supreme Court declined to review a lower court’s decision to lift the mandate. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district stopped using racial enrollment quotas and began its return to a neighborhood-based—more segregated—school system. As she later discovered in her work with Professor Amy Stuart Wells at TC, Fox had seen as a high school student the beginning of a national trend to dismantle court-mandated desegregation plans.
 
Fox’s master’s thesis in the Sociology of Education program documents and analyzes the resegregation of her hometown schools and puts that trend in national context. She examines the consequences of redirecting education policy away from inputs in schools, such as the racial and ethnic make-up of the student body, to outputs such as test scores. “I wanted to take a look at the broader ideological changes that accompanied this shift towards policies which promote resegregation,” she says.
 
Also at TC, Fox has worked with Wells and three other master’s students on a large project, funded by the Ford Foundation, which, in her words, is attempting to “create a new common sense and public understanding surrounding issues of inequality, with the goal of  garnering more widespread support for stronger social justice policies.” Fox is part of a team that is looking at past research and public knowledge surrounding issues of inequality. Her fellow graduates in the Sociology and Education program, Melissa Barragan and Kathy Hill, as well as master’s student Joe Luesse, are also working with Wells on the project.
 
Fox is also part of Wells’ research project in Long Island and New York City, conducted through the Center for Understanding Race and Education, where she recently helped to write a paper based on interviews from students about how academic tracking—seen by some educators as supporting segregation within schools—has influenced their perceptions of their own academic abilities and success. Fox presented the findings with other members of her team at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association in Denver in April, an unusual accomplishment for master’s students.
 
Fox plans to stay at TC and pursue her doctorate beginning in the fall. “The projects that I’ve been working on here, I couldn’t imagine leaving,” she says. “I am so excited to keep working with Ford project. I think we’re on the brink of something really big in terms of shifting public knowledge and, hopefully, public policy.”

Published Thursday, May. 20, 2010

Analyzing the Policy That Shaped Her Education:

Analyzing the Policy That Shaped Her Education:  
Lauren Fox, Master’s of Arts in Sociology and Education
 

foxvideoWatch Interview
 
As a child Lauren Fox experienced first-hand the court-ordered racial integration of public schools in Charlotte, North Carolina. At TC she studied the fallout of their subsequent return to de facto segregation.
 
As a white student bused across town to integrated magnet schools in Charlotte in the mid-to-late 1990s, Fox recalls that the “busing system was completely normal for us. I thought that was the way all school systems were, and I had a great experience.”
 
Charlotte was known in those days as a national model following a 1971 U.S. Supreme Court decision that had required the city to integrate its schools. But in 2000, when Fox was a sophomore in high school, the Supreme Court declined to review a lower court’s decision to lift the mandate. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district stopped using racial enrollment quotas and began its return to a neighborhood-based—more segregated—school system. As she later discovered in her work with Professor Amy Stuart Wells at TC, Fox had seen as a high school student the beginning of a national trend to dismantle court-mandated desegregation plans.
 
Fox’s master’s thesis in the Sociology of Education program documents and analyzes the resegregation of her hometown schools and puts that trend in national context. She examines the consequences of redirecting education policy away from inputs in schools, such as the racial and ethnic make-up of the student body, to outputs such as test scores. “I wanted to take a look at the broader ideological changes that accompanied this shift towards policies which promote resegregation,” she says.
 
Also at TC, Fox has worked with Wells and three other master’s students on a large project, funded by the Ford Foundation, which, in her words, is attempting to “create a new common sense and public understanding surrounding issues of inequality, with the goal of  garnering more widespread support for stronger social justice policies.” Fox is part of a team that is looking at past research and public knowledge surrounding issues of inequality. Her fellow graduates in the Sociology and Education program, Melissa Barragan and Kathy Hill, as well as master’s student Joe Luesse, are also working with Wells on the project.
 
Fox is also part of Wells’ research project in Long Island and New York City, conducted through the Center for Understanding Race and Education, where she recently helped to write a paper based on interviews from students about how academic tracking—seen by some educators as supporting segregation within schools—has influenced their perceptions of their own academic abilities and success. Fox presented the findings with other members of her team at the annual meeting of the American Education Research Association in Denver in April, an unusual accomplishment for master’s students.
 
Fox plans to stay at TC and pursue her doctorate beginning in the fall. “The projects that I’ve been working on here, I couldn’t imagine leaving,” she says. “I am so excited to keep working with Ford project. I think we’re on the brink of something really big in terms of shifting public knowledge and, hopefully, public policy.”
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