Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education/Leadership in Urban Schools

First Advisor

Patricia Krueger-Henney

Second Advisor

Jack Leonard

Third Advisor

Peter Kiang


Problems in urban education have had a disproportionate and detrimental impact on Black students and it has long been assumed that providing Black students with Black teachers, who could act as mentors, would substantially contribute to the success of Black students; however, this has not necessarily proved true.

This dissertation attempts to explore and analyze why the relationship between Black teachers and Black students has not been as successful as was once hoped. In order to understand this problem qualitative research was gathered from Black teachers and Black students by conducting individual interviews using questions designed to elicit personal responses about Black identity, Black experiences with racism, exposure to stereotypes, and attitudes about education. After collecting the data, it was discussed in focus groups, comprised separately of the interviewed teachers and students. Each group was given time to reflect and evaluate their answers in a group setting, which helped validate the consistency and validity of their initial responses. Theories of Collective and Personal identity, Stereotype Threat theory, and Nigrescence theory were primarily utilized to analyze the accumulated data.

Among the many insights, a key finding was that there existed a sort of self-fulfilling circular pattern wherein Black students and Black teachers were disconnected from each other in a way that impeded student educational progress. This "disconnect" existed, and was perpetuated, due to different perceptions and expectations of what it means to be Black in America; and, specifically, how this effects learning in urban educational setting. This disconnect does not need to exist, and is harmful to the educational success of Black students. On a positive note, this can be corrected by creating educational policies, which will address issues of perception and Black identity as it effects teachers and students interacting in the urban classroom.


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