Lucia Gonzalez

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20202021 Forum on Choice

Lucia Gonzalez

Political Science and Urban Studies

CAS, 2023

Lucia Gonzalez is a sophomore studying Political Science and Urban Education. More specifically, she is interested in the intersection between the school choice movement and de facto segregation, and its impact on the college application process. Lucia is on the executive board for the First-Generation, Low-Income Dean’s Advisory Board, a mentor for Latinx Philly students through Puentes de Salud, and a research assistant for the Political Science department. In her free time, she enjoys playing basketball and eating Wawa with her friends late at night.

(Un)natural Selection: The School Choice Movement and the Push Towards Specialization in Selective Colleges’ Admissions Processes

Scholars have explored how “survival of the fittest” rhetoric eerily permeates into the contemporary educational landscape through the school choice movement, which was heavily reinforced through the No Child Left Behind Act, or NCLB. Neoliberal education policies have exacerbated inequality by upholding school choice and implementing standardized testing. This study will couple social darwinism and charter movement research to explore how magnet and charter schools create niches in the educational landscape, and how students with access to these specialized resources are able to accumulate distinguished skills for their college applications. A semi-constructed interview process will be used to explore Latinx Penn students’ experiences. While Penn will be used as a case study, the challenges associated with competing with limited resources are applicable to any elite college application process.