Always Room At The Top: Black Students And Educational Policy In Ithaca, Ny
Bradwell, Sean W. Eversley
Frequently referred to as the achievement gap, racial disparities in educational outcomes are reported in school districts across the nation. Most educational research focuses on this crisis in urban communities, and overcrowded classrooms, underfunded schools, unqualified teachers as well as inadequate resources are some of the commonly identified causes. However, racial disparities are equally found in toprated districts where these factors are least likely to exist. The growing body of research documenting racial disparities in top-rated districts has challenged the conventional wisdom about the origin, causes, and solutions of racial disparities in schools. Drawing on tenets from Afrocentricity and critical race theory, this dissertation explores educational inequity and related policy in a top-rated, suburban school district. The project examines the historic roots of racial disparities in this district and employs qualitative interviews with black students as a means to analyze and better understand how students experience these disparities. On the basis of this investigation and its findings, policy recommendations are made for the purpose of helping districts such as the one studied close their education gap. Ultimately, the study also concludes that educational reforms will be ineffective unless they address the fact that racial disparities are often linked to and rooted in institutionalized policies and practices that are deeply entrenched and protected at the community level.
dissertation or thesis