Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

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Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Educational Studies Department, Economics Department

First Advisor

Edwin Mayorga

Second Advisor

Lisa Smulyan


In this thesis, I explore how racialized neoliberalism, a popular policy framework that emphasizes individual profits at the expense of historical context, feeds off of disasters. I then ask what that relationship produces within urban and educational policy. Using a middle school in North Nashville, a historically Black neighborhood that is undergoing rapid gentrification, as a case study, I contextualized changes in education with changes in the surrounding neighborhood. Although researchers have previously examined the influence of neoliberalism on disaster policy, urban policy, and educational policy, I aimed to bring those three areas of study together more robustly. I examined newspaper records, finding that public discourse originally claimed an investment in supporting residents, but quickly switched to value profit maximization over community investment. I also interviewed four educators to learn about how changes in the neighborhood have impacted changes within the school. I found that the school system deprived the school of much-needed resources in the name of educational reform, and that disruption in the surrounding community had strong impacts on students. I conclude by putting my interview data in conversation with the archival data and proposing alternative structures for urban and educational policy that would better support communities that have been historically abandoned by local governments.