Confronting The Barriers To Understanding Teaching And Learning Experiences Of Marginalized Groups In Public Schools: Critical Reflections On Research Centered On The Voices Of African-American Educators
The achievement gap between African-American and European-American students in U.S. public schools is a problem with no simple explanation, and one that leaders struggle to correct. The researcher's central premise is that there are many ways to improve education for African-American students and that the racial achievement gap is inexcusable. African-American women may offer a unique perspective on this topic, by virtue of their status as women and as African Americans, as well as their experiences as students and teachers. The researcher set out to conduct research exploring the perspectives of African-American female teachers with respect to perceived and actual barriers to the effective education of students, specifically African-American students, teachers' coping strategies, and teachers' recommendations for change. However, major obstructing factors prevented the necessary collection of data for that research. In the dissertation, the researcher describes the current climate of education reform in the United States and critiques current reform efforts. She conceptualizes reasons for the structural factors that contribute to and explain the difficulty in collecting data on the experiences and perspectives of African-American teachers in U.S. public schools. Factors that may have prevented schools from allowing access to interview and observe African-American teachers are analyzed. Additionally, the researcher explores the question of why, in the rare cases in which schools did grant permission for the research, African-American teachers may have been uncomfortable participating in interviews about and observations of their experiences and practices. In theorizing about these factors, the researcher discusses the nature of the proposed research, her orientation, and the rationale for the proposed study. Major factors potentially influencing the decisions of school leaders and teachers not to participate are also presented. These include the nature of the public school teaching profession; race relations and history in the United States; education and experience in the United States; and laws, policies, and practices applicable to public education. In evaluating these elements, the researcher brings to light several factors that may prevent such research. The researcher concludes by presenting similar research initiatives and theories on how comparable research goals may be met, and by discussing areas for future research.
Education; Teaching; Research; African-American; African American; Black; Learning; Marginalized; Schools
Assie-Lumumba, N'Dri Therese
Sipple, John W; Trumbull, Deborah J
Ph.D. of Education
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis