Term of Award

Fall 2008

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Saundra Murray Nettles

Committee Member 1

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 2

John Weaver

Committee Member 3

Ronald Bailey

Abstract

From the very beginning of this nation's history, race has played a major role in the educational opportunities awarded to minorities. And although it has been fifty years since schools were mandated by the U.S Supreme Court to desegregate, discussions about race and culture in the classroom continue to generate controversy and discomfort for many African Americans. In fact, issues of segregation, racism and racial inequality in both schools and society are constantly being raised and voiced within the African American community. Today, the nation is engaged in a great discussion about the differences in academic achievement between African American children and their white counterparts. Delpit suggests that we look at the past through new eyes in order to determine what we might learn to help address the apparently difficult educational issue of providing an excellent education for all African American children (as cited in Foster, 1997, p. ix). Therefore, lessons regarding the teaching of African American children can be learned from the cohort of African American educators who experienced segregation first hand. For this reason, this study explored the experiences, beliefs and practices of three retired African American teachers who taught in segregated school environments in Georgia. Through such an exploration, this study investigated the underlying culturally relevant themes that helped and benefited the educational performance of African American students during the days of separate but equal. This study used a culturally relevant lens to examine the overall school climate, the importance of parental and community involvement, and the teaching practices of the three retired African American teacher participants. Additionally, oral history was the qualitative method used to explore their lived experiences. Thus, this study sought to make the connection between what teachers from the segregated past and the teachers of today's generation can do to promote academic achievement among African American students.

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