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Title:Transforming the tracks: a case for inclusion of high school students as stakeholders in achieving racial equity in academic placement
Author(s):Berry, Ivory
Director of Research:Aber, Mark S.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Brown, Ruth N.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Aber, Mark S.; Trent, William T.; Dixson, Adrienne D.; Baber, Lorenzo D.; Rakha, Shameem
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educational Policy Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
racial equity
African American
student perspectives
mixed methods
Abstract:For many years, equity minded education reforms, instituted through the courts or grassroots efforts, have been introduced in schools to minimize the disparities among students of different socio-economic, racial, and linguistic backgrounds. Opposition and resistance are often high given persons, including administrators, teachers, parents, and students, fear that gains in educational equity results in a reduction of educational excellence and academic standards. Because public opinion affects democratic decision-making in school districts and educational stakeholders have ways of undermining reform efforts and economically impacting schools, policymakers, i.e., administrators, have to respond earnestly to the concerns of the opponents in order for equity reforms to be successfully implemented and sustained. When permissible, administrators create spaces and opportunities for educational stakeholders, such as parents and community leaders, to collaborate with district and school officials to discuss, debate, monitor, and evaluate reform efforts and ultimately receive buy-in. Students’ voices are often “represented” by other adults, restricted, or excluded altogether, even though they are the ones most directly impacted by reform efforts. In this mixed methods study, I make the case for the treatment and inclusion of high school students as educational stakeholders, particularly around detracking efforts implemented in the Champaign Community Unit School District 4 (Unit 4) to address enrollment disparities in upper level classes, such as honors and advanced placement, which exists between African American and White students. This study employs Critical Race Theory (CRT) as a guiding framework for establishing the contextual and historical analysis of the relation between race and academic placement. CRT is also used to interpret and discuss high school student data collected from a district-wide climate study survey administered in spring 2009, while Unit 4 was under a court-monitored equity consent decree, and individual interviews conducted in spring 2013, post-consent decree. Data outcomes suggest when students are not engaged as educational stakeholders, their unexposed opposition to equity reform manifests through forms of resistance that undermine reform efforts, impact desired sustainable outcomes, and reproduces racial disparities in academic placement.
Issue Date:2014-09-16
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Ivory Berry
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-09-16
Date Deposited:2014-08

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