Academic Publications


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Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever? Racial and Economic Isolation and Dissimilarity in Rural Black Belt Schools in Alabama

Published Rural Sociology in 2021

By Bryan A. Mann and Annah Rogers

School racial and economic segregation trends in the United States have increased since the high point of school integration in the 1980s. Current scholarship rarely examines segregation trends in rural areas, especially in the rural Black Belt region of the southern United States. The Black Belt was the location of the leading events of the Civil Rights Movement and where white residents exhibited overt and violent resistance to Brown v. Board of Education. This landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case prohibited legally mandated racial segregation in schools. Our study examines patterns of racial and economic isolation and dissimilarity in the Alabama Black Belt to determine the contemporary nature of school and neighborhood segregation in the region. We use a Critical Race Spatial Analysis framework to conceptualize the study, and we show that segregation patterns have continued and, in some cases, worsened in the last three decades. The forces driving these patterns are different from in the past, stemming from student population changes rather than students’ distribution within school districts. Based on these findings, we explain solutions that include implementing school enrollment policy changes alongside policies that incentivize population growth and economic development.


Gentrification, Charter Schools, and Enrollment Patterns in Washington, DC: Shared Growth or New Forms of Educational Inequality?

Published in the Peabody Journal of Education in 2020

By Bryan A. Mann, Heather Bennett, and Annah Rogers

Cities in the United States and across the world have experienced gentrification at the same time as school choice policies have become more popular. This research examines the relationship between gentrification and charter schooling, seeking to understand how together they affect demographic composition of schools across Washington, DC. This study uses geographic information systems (GIS) mapping and statistical techniques to show that gentrified neighborhoods are more likely to have charter schools. Additionally, the demographic compositions of charter schools and traditional public schools differ depending on the gentrification classification of the census tract in which the schools are located. While a handful of diverse charter schools exist in gentrified neighborhoods and some diverse public schools exist in traditionally affluent neighborhoods, schools in Washington, DC remain racially and economically isolated overall.


The Role of Place, Geography, and Geographic Information Systems in Educational Research

Published in AERA Open in 2019

By Bryan A. Mann and Andy Saultz

Despite the strong relationship between geography and education policy, educational research tends to draw from other fields of inquiry such as economics, political science, and history. This special topics collection centers the usefulness of geography and place in educational policy research. The introduction explains the rationale for the collection and discusses the themes and articles in the collection. We conclude with a call for researchers, policy makers, and colleges of education to enhance their capacity in incorporating geographic thinking into educational policy research.


Cyber Charter Schools and Growing Resource Inequality among Public Districts: Geospatial Patterns and Consequences of a Statewide Choice Policy in Pennsylvania, 2002–2014

Published in the American Journal of Education in 2019

By Bryan A. Mann and David P. Baker

An analysis from 2002 to 2014, aligning media reporting of the effectiveness of the fully online K–12 cyber charter school model with data on enrollment flows to cyber charter schools and expenditure and demographic indicators across all 500 residential public school districts in Pennsylvania, finds a three-part geospatial-social process. Initial high-tech cachet surrounding the option stimulated statewide spread in enrollments, but over time growth in student flows became more pronounced among disadvantaged, lower tax-base public school districts. As mass media coverage shifted to a research-substantiated narrative of the model’s academic ineffectiveness, cyber charter enrollments declined first in districts with higher parent educational attainment and then intensified. With the large movement of students, the mean amount of public funds transferred from residential districts in 2014 was about $800,000 (standard deviation about $3,100,000). With dubious academic benefits, districts with the lowest tax base lost significant revenue to cyber charter providers.