Date of Award

3-3-2018

Access Restriction

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate in Education

Department

Education

School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Antonia Darder, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ernesto Colin, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Karen Huchting, Ph.D.

Abstract

The achievement gap between Students of Color and their Euro American counterparts has persisted for decades. Too many Students of Color are becoming disinterested in high school curricula and are being pushed out prior to graduation. This mixed-methods study identified the perspectives of California high school board members toward Ethnic Studies (ES) curricula and the extent to which these perspectives informed public policy. This study was completed in two phases. In Phase I, a link to a survey was sent to all California high school board members, which elicited quantitative data. In Phase II, semistandardized interviews that generated qualitative data were completed with a stratified sample of participants who indicated interest in being interviewed in Phase I. With the use of inductive coding, themes were identified that more deeply explored some of the results of the survey.

The findings revealed that most school board members were supportive of ES as an elective, but less supportive of ES as a graduation requirement. School board members supportive of ES in this survey were primarily Euro American, fourth generation or higher, had taken ES before, and identified as Democrat. Fourth generation or higher respondents’ higher level of support than second-generation respondents were a difference that had statistical significance. Findings also showed board member perspectives can be understood on a continuum. Board members identified as change agents on this spectrum had already taken steps to establish ES and were working to alter district culture to further advance ES in their districts.

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