Mechanisms of Exclusion: Group Homogenization and Deficit Thinking in Integrated Schools

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


School integration and inclusion are important for educational equity, yet inclusionary educational policies often end up being exclusionary in practices. In this article I contribute to our understanding of school level mechanism underlying this process. I draw on 2 years of data collection in a progressive culturally responsive school implementing a voluntary students assignment policy to increase the share of low-income students of color in the school. I show how a conflict with dissenting mothers over gender-unlabeled bathrooms became a conflict over the meaning of inclusion when school leaders applied deficit thinking that saw low-income parents of color as less likely to support the program, despite heterogeneity in dissenting mothers’ background, and how as result dissenting mothers felt excluded from the school community and the needs of transgender students were unmet. These findings have important implications for theory and practice and for creating inclusive schools.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1763-1790
Number of pages28
JournalEducational Policy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2023


  • diversity
  • educational equity
  • educational policy
  • parent involvement
  • policy implementation
  • principals
  • qualitative research
  • segregation
  • urban schools

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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