Title page for ETD etd-11142012-145713

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Williams, Shaun E.
Author's Email Address swill61@tigers.lsu.edu
URN etd-11142012-145713
Title Accessibility to Public High Schools and School Performance in Metropolitan Baton Rouge, Louisiana 1990-2010
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Geography & Anthropology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Wang, Fahui Committee Chair
Jackson, Joyce Committee Member
Wang, Lei Committee Member
  • sociospatial accessibility
  • spatial inequalities
  • public education
Date of Defense 2012-10-23
Availability unrestricted
Education policies developed to initiate improvements to public school systems across Louisiana often result in a continuation or intensification of salient yet overlooked accessibility challenges. The public high school and its students have been particularly susceptible to these actions which have been sustained for decades within the state despite the increasing awareness of individual and community hardships connected to high school level inadequacies. Beyond isolated district studies or aggregate state reports, limited focus has been placed on student accessibility to public high schools or on responses of students and communities to processes which alter their access to area high schools.

This study advances the role GIS in historical geography and education research by implementing the Two-Step Floating Catchment Area (2SFCA) method to link historical phenomena with contemporary accessibility conditions for social groups within the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area (BRMSA). This work implements the 2SFCA method and two derivatives to gauge the transitions of high school accessibility from 1990 to 2010 and challenge heuristic approaches which demote the influence of geography in policymaking which effects high school accessibility.

A regression analysis revealed a moderately strong positive association between spatial accessibility determined the 2SFCA and school accountability scores established by the Louisiana Department of Education with 2010 data. Additionally, this examination found urban areas, particularly Baton Rouge, have experienced the lowest levels of spatial accessibility and correspondingly low accountability scores, which in most cases have only continued through time when compared to nonurban high schools. Together these analyses support the potential attraction of suburban high schools within the BRMSA. The conclusion of a series of common factor analyses implemented to complement accessibility measurements further support the attraction argument and the overall link between access, accountability, race, and geography as a potential offshoot of the White flight phenomenon was captured in the 2010 implementation.

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