Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Leadership & Policy Studies

Committee Chair

Steven Nelson

Committee Member

Ladrica Menson-Furr

Committee Member

Derrick Robinson

Committee Member

Susan Copeland


This dissertation is a three-article exploration of the concept of educational equity and how it impacts Black students in urban schools. Through the framework of Social Construction Theory, the concept of equity is explored through a series of discourse and document analyses. The first article uses a corpus methodology to analyze the Race to the Top (RTTT) applications of the 12 states that won the competitive grant that encouraged massive education reform law and policies alongside submitted ESSA plans of these same states to identify strategies used to combat barriers to success for urban, Black students. The second article uses critical discourse analysis (CDA) to explore the discipline policies of twelve urban school districts-one district within each of the twelve states that won the RTTT grants. The goal is to highlight how the discourse in discipline policies can replicate the dominant ideologies of education policies as a whole, facilitating inequitable schooling for Black students in urban areas. The third article conducts a critical research synthesis of existing literature to determine how parents of Black, urban students envision equity for their children. In order for education policy to close the opportunity gap for Black students in urban schools, there must be critical discussion about how socially constructed norms influence the construction and implementation of recent education reform policies. This dissertation attempts to contribute to that discussion in ways that inform education stakeholders, particularly at the local level.Keywords: educational equity; urban schools, black students, education reform policies


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest