Date of Award


Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Antonia Darder


Demographics in American urban cities have been steadily changing over the last few decades and are on their way to becoming more ethnically diverse than ever. Cities in the southwestern region of the United States are increasingly becoming primarily Latino (Mellom, Straubhaar, Balderas, Ariail, & Portes, 2018). This demands the need for a reflective and critical view of the schooling system in this region and how it serves the needs of the Latino communities. This dissertation makes a case for the need to push against mainstream educational practices that are imposed on school systems by lawmakers, capitalist corporations, and philanthropist, and looks instead to the educators of color, more specifically to Latina principals, who work hand in hand with teachers and families in working-class Latino schools. This proposal calls for the development of a critical consciousness by educators of color as a grassroots change effort to heal the dehumanization that these educators have themselves suffered as a result of their experiences in American school (Annamma & Morrison, 2018). Educators have a responsibility to support students in the development of voice and participation in ways consistent with a democratic social order. This requires educators committed to the amelioration of oppression and the formation of an educated and empowered citizenry. Through examining the perceptions of bicultural principals who are aware of this dilemma and involved in the mentorship of bicultural educators, the study sought to identify what practices and understandings are needed in working-class Latino schools to support educators and students of color to deal with the duality of their biculturalism, which can have a negative impact on the academic achievement of Latino students. Similarly, the study brought to light the emancipatory approaches that conscious Latina principals utilize when engaging with bicultural teachers who teach bicultural students from working-class communities The goal was not to create another superimposed reform effort that closes the “achievement gap” of students of color, but to instead, close the “critical consciousness gap” that affects many educators of color, so that they can in turn create emancipatory pedagogical centers in majority minority urban schools.

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