Color Conscious, Cultural Blindness: Suburban School Districts and Demographic Change

Anjalé D. Welton, Sarah Diem, Jennifer Jellison Holme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Suburban school districts have undergone significant demographic shifts over the past several decades. However, limited research exists that explores how suburban district leaders are responding to such changes, and what factors may shape their responses. To better understand how districts within these communities are responding to suburban diversification, we conducted a qualitative case study of a large and rapidly changing suburban district. We interviewed top-level district administrators, principals, and teachers at three case study schools that were undergoing particularly rapid demographic shifts. We found that instead of directly addressing issues of race in the district, the district’s response was colorblind in design: It was racially conscious of changes in student demographics, but its practices to address these changes were race-neutral. Findings suggest that districts must assert a framework for responding to issues of race in the face of demographic change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-722
Number of pages28
JournalEducation and Urban Society
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 12 2015


  • colorblindness
  • demographic change
  • race
  • school reform
  • suburban districts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Urban Studies


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