Date of Award

Fall 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Social and Cultural Foundations in Education


College of Education, Department of Educational Policy Studies and Research

First Advisor

Stephen Haymes, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Troy Harden, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Ronald Chennault, Ph.D.


Under the threat of a $1billion budget deficit, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) declared a "utilization crisis" and in 2013 closed 50 public schools, slated five schools to be turned around and declared the co-location of 23 schools in 11 buildings. This utilization crisis model, marketed by politicians as a cost cutting effort, has been implemented in many large cities across the United States. There are two commonalities across cities closing public schools deemed underutilized. First, these cities have gradually increased charter schools over the last decade. Second, the closing of schools deemed underutilized disproportionately impacted low-income, African American students. This thesis argues that such policies are reflective of post-2008 neoliberal reform, both in its characteristics of consolidation and the heightened targeting of the policy's repercussions. Drawing from critical urban theory, this place-based analysis considers one of two zones of underutilized school actions of Chicago's 2013 school actions, Englewood/West Englewood, and creates a moving map of the neoliberalization of the school landscape of this zone. First, it considers the historical circumstances that influenced the development of the school landscape of Englewood/West Englewood prior to neoliberal reform through a historical analysis of the interconnection of race, class, capital, space and education policy in Chicago. Second, it maps the first wave of neoliberal education reform under Renaissance 2010, the 2013 school actions and the school landscape for Englewood/West Englewood as of June 2015. Finally, it considers how the extra-local competition in the public school marketplace of the Englewood/West Englewood zone has drawn and continues to draw students and thus resources from district run neighborhood schools to privately run charter schools.

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