Kinder Panic: The New Labor of School Decision-Making

Mon, Apr 19, 2021, 12:00 pm
Virtual Only – Zoom Link Forthcoming


Bailey Brown, PhD
Assistant Professor
Sociology & Anthropology

This book project examines the complex lives of families contending with the rise of school choice systems. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 102 parents of elementary children and observations of enrollment events in New York City, Kinder Panic identifies how school decision-making under contemporary school choice programs has fundamentally altered early parenthood. I argue that school enrollment during the early years shapes parents’ sense of self and their ideas about ‘good parenting.’ I conceptualize school decision-making as a rising form of family labor and demonstrate how school choice policy remains an enduring source of social inequality. Mothers and fathers and families across socioeconomic background experience school decision-making unequally. Kinder Panic sheds light on the new and unintended challenges parents face in an era of school choice.