Term of Award

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Daniel Chapman

Committee Member 1

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 2

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 3

Donyell Roseboro

Committee Member 3 Email



The purpose of this research focused on the impact of Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education (CTAE) courses on the educational experience of five African American graduates from a rural high school in Georgia. Using critical race theory (CRT) as a theoretical framework and counter narratives as the methodology, I collected stories from five African American graduates from a rural Georgia school using interviews. Critical Race Theory (e.g., Bell, 2000; Delgado & Stefancic, 2000; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995) provided the lens through which I was able to examine the way race penetrates the lives of individuals. Counter narratives e.g., Amah, 2012; Delgado, 1989; He, Ross, & Seay, 2015; Solórzano & Yosso, 2002) were used to explore how these former students were able to succeed despite some obstacles and adversities. Their stories countered the sometimes negative image of African American youth in the United States. The research was significant because it provided a voice for these graduates to discuss their educational experiences as it related to CTAE courses in particular as well as their overall educational experience. Participants were selected based on their previous enrollment in a minimum of one (CTAE) class. The participants all graduated from school between 2011 and 2012. The following findings resulted from this study:

African American students obtain minimal skills that will assist them in being empowered in the workplace.

  1. Students learned only basic information in employee and employer relationships. A substantial component of the information focused on how to please the employer.

  2. While the courses were enjoyable for students, they were not impactful for their overall growth as African American students did not learn to advocate for themselves. The enjoyment served as distraction from empowerment. Being entertained was a consolation, but it may have helped keep some students in school.

    2. CTAE courses contribute to the marginalization of students because the courses continue to be perceived as low level and they do not add value to the student’s cultural capital.

    A. The overall perception of CTAE classes is that they do not have the same value as core content courses within the high school. CTAE classes should be valued as students learn skills, instead they are de-valued which is reflective of the low regard for labor in our culture.