Title of Abstract

School Closings and Demographic Balance in Rock Hill Elementary Schools

Submitting Student(s)

Maria Luisa Manley

Session Title

Schools and Education

Faculty Sponsor (for work done with a non-Winthrop mentor)

Stephen Smith, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Political Science

Abstract

This paper expands on previous research on the Rock Hill School District’s (RHSD) high schools by adding analyses of demographic balance in the district’s elementary schools. Studying equity and balance in RHSD is especially interesting because of the district’s history of swimming against the “nationwide resegregation tide.” Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, I investigate the consequences of the district’s recent decision to close three elementary schools. These consequences include: racial/ethnic balance, socioeconomic balance, and community perceptions of the school district’s current trajectory. According to current and historic data showing the dissimilarity indices between the largest racial/ethnic groups in Rock Hill, this report concludes that racial/ethnic balance in the elementary schools of RHSD has decreased in recent years, while socioeconomic balance has been maintained. This finding could indicate a prioritization of socioeconomic factors over racial/ethnic consideration in decisions made by the board. Lastly, research suggests that the community surrounding the RHSD may be dissatisfied with recent changes to the district due to several factors, including lack of adequate representation for peoples of color in Rock Hill, increased student to teacher ratios, and increases in school populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Start Date

15-4-2022 12:00 PM

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Apr 15th, 12:00 PM

School Closings and Demographic Balance in Rock Hill Elementary Schools

This paper expands on previous research on the Rock Hill School District’s (RHSD) high schools by adding analyses of demographic balance in the district’s elementary schools. Studying equity and balance in RHSD is especially interesting because of the district’s history of swimming against the “nationwide resegregation tide.” Using both quantitative and qualitative methods, I investigate the consequences of the district’s recent decision to close three elementary schools. These consequences include: racial/ethnic balance, socioeconomic balance, and community perceptions of the school district’s current trajectory. According to current and historic data showing the dissimilarity indices between the largest racial/ethnic groups in Rock Hill, this report concludes that racial/ethnic balance in the elementary schools of RHSD has decreased in recent years, while socioeconomic balance has been maintained. This finding could indicate a prioritization of socioeconomic factors over racial/ethnic consideration in decisions made by the board. Lastly, research suggests that the community surrounding the RHSD may be dissatisfied with recent changes to the district due to several factors, including lack of adequate representation for peoples of color in Rock Hill, increased student to teacher ratios, and increases in school populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.