Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph Stoltman

Second Advisor

Dr. Kathleen Baker

Third Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

As more schools are identified in need of improvement for failing to reach state set academic standards, questions are being raised about the demands of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) and whether its intended goals are achievable. Rather than assessing schools on achievement scores alone, a more practical approach would be to identify failing schools on multiple measures. Has NCLB created a geography of schools that are in need of improvement? Can the spatial patterns of NCLB indentify factors which may influence student and school performance? This study analyzed spatial and demographic characteristics of Michigan public schools identified as failing for the 2007-2008 school year. Findings revealed an economic influence on education, with failing schools averaging more students eligible for free lunch and lower family income than passing schools in the study. Passing schools averaged higher percentages of White students and lower percentages of Black students. There was higher average per pupil spending for failing school districts than their passing counterparts.

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