Bailey Brown

Columbia University

Bailey Brown is a doctoral candidate in Sociology, a Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow and a Ford Foundation Fellow. Bailey hails from Brooklyn, New York, and Danbury, Connecticut. She received her undergraduate degree in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania with minors in urban education and Africana studies. Bailey co-facilitated the Office of Academic Diversity Research Collective for interdisciplinary graduate student scholars at Columbia and served as a fellow for the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Dissertation Title: Kinder Panic: School Choice and Parenting in an Era of Open Enrollment

Dissertation Abstract: Bailey’s substantive research examines the intersections of urban poverty, elementary education, and the family using qualitative methods. The dissertation seeks to interrogate how parents make sense of, process, and experience open enrollment plans. Specifically this dissertation analyzes the social processes that shape how low-income parents living in New York City make educational decisions for their elementary-aged children. Past research has shown that differences in school preferences, information access, and social networks can restrict low income parents’ school decisions. Nevertheless, much of this research neglects the individual and contextual level framing processes that underlie school decision-making. Her dissertation is guided by four central objectives. First the dissertation examines how access to social networks and parents’ framing of the school search process shape school decisions. Second, the study evaluates how the uncertainty of school choice systems can shape the emotional labor of parenting. Third, it examines the spatial relationships across a parent’s home and social network and the child’s school to assess how geography may shape school decision-making. Lastly the dissertation explores local school choice policy through an analysis of anti-charter discourse at school district meetings. To accomplish these objectives, this qualitative study employs semi-structured interviews with 100 low-income parents, geographic analysis of descriptive survey data, and ethnographic observations at New York City school district meetings.