Wednesday, May 25, 2016

FWS Student Highlights: Jessica Viricochea

I am currently assisting Dr. Katharine Destler with her research regarding School Choice and Social Capital, specifically if segregation is affecting charter schools within the United States and why would that be. The tasks I worked on this semester were finding how many authorizers certain school districts have, if those authorizers state any diversity plans for the districts, and if there were any recommended strategies to help diversify public schools and how would it benefit the schools. Dr. Destler complied a list of about 40 United States cities, each containing some school districts. From there I searched by state to see which district has authorizers, how many, and through the authorizers websites I had to explore if they provided/mentioned any methods to aid their schools. On a weekly basis I searched through multiple websites, from the authorizers, and determined whether strategies actually helped their schools within the districts.

One thing I have discovered this week was that some school districts do not state a plan to help make their schools become more diverse because they believe it is unnecessary; some states do not want to acknowledge that segregation may be present. By having the opportunity to become an Undergraduate Research Assistant it has given me the chance to be more aware of certain issues that exist right in front of us. Through this learning experience I was able to broaden my horizon and the tasks that I have done during this semester will benefit me. Working on these projects for Dr. Destler has helped my long-term goals by being able to expand my knowledge regarding state and local school policies. Although my goals do not involve public schools, it is still good to know how important a district can impact a community, and even in a larger scale, how it can affect an entire state.