Parental Challenges to Organizational Authority in an Elite School District: The Role of Cultural, Social, and Symbolic Capital

Lareau, Annette, Elliot B. Weininger, and Amanda Barrett Cox. 2018. Teachers College Record 120(1):1-46.

This paper examines the consequences of the abundance of cultural, social, and symbolic capital held by parents in one elite district, which we call Kingsley.  During the period in which we collected data, the district administration sought to re-draw attendance boundaries for the two high schools in Kingsley.  We show how shifting coalitions of parents made use of the full range of available resources in opposing, or in some instances supporting, district officials’ plans.  We suggest that elite districts may be prone to a distinctive type of conflict between residents and policymakers.  As economic segregation increases, it is possible that more districts will experience these challenges.