The geography of educational outcomes and school choice remains an under-researched area. This article investigates factors associated with the spatial aspects of academic achievement gap and explores the geographical inequalities of public school choice in South Carolina in the context of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. It is found that public schools with large minority enrollments and concentrated poverty are more likely to be labeled as "in need of improvement" regardless of urban, suburban, or rural locality. Independent samples t-test and multiple regression results show that academic achievement is sensitive to poverty, teacher turnover rate, and neighborhood socioeconomic status. In addition, we found that rural failing schools are in a disadvantaged position in terms of public school choice required by the NCLB legislation. Findings from the current research inform education policymakers the importance of addressing the spatial aspects of educational phenomena.


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pp. 24-40
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