Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instr and Curr Leadership


Instruction and Curriculum

Committee Chair

Beverly E Cross

Committee Member

J. Helen Perkins

Committee Member

Erika Bullock

Committee Member

Anna S Mueller


Academic achievement for African American students has remained consistently low over time. Some researchers cite the disintegration of the black family as the cause. Others have argued that IQ is largely influenced by genetics, and that African Americans are genetically predisposed to be less intelligent than other races. One researcher traces the socio-historical connection between the institution of slavery and the current inequality inherent in the American education system. He also contends that the differences between African American culture and mainstream culture are so great that they adversely impact African American academic achievement. The purpose of the critical comparative discourse analysis was to illuminate the mal-alignment of educational policies and African American ideologies and the effect of this mal-alignment on the perception of the academic underachievement of African American students. This study contributed to the literature by illuminating the absence of African American ideologies from educational policy, and by making the connection between this absence and the persistent educational inequalities for African Americans. In essence, this study examined the pernicious cycle of: the perception of African American underachievement, the creation of policies that are guided by the perception, and the role of the policies in the perpetuation of the perception of African American academic underachievement.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.