My life experiences as a teacher have influenced my research agenda. Broadly I am interested in education inequality that disproportionately affects minorities. I plan to look at education inequality from a sociological lens as well as a policy point of view. This topic intrigues me because many of the problems facing minorities can be improved with a greater access to quality education. The environmental conditions students face in urban school, both inside and outside the classroom, can drastically impede minorities’ academic success; however, there are policies schools and government can implement to offer students greater opportunities.
In the first part of my dissertation, I would like to look at the effects low preforming schools have on minority students. I examine latent similarities of an urban school district and a prison. From the moment students walk into the door they are met with a metal detector, ...view middle of the document...
Schools with high rates of special education students do a poor job of correcting behavioral problems and helping students reach grade level; instead, they segregate this population and lower their educational standards. When students are held to lower standards in high school, they are hampered later in life. I hypothesize that students labeled as special education decrease their educational attainment and their ability to work in a structured environment.
I am particularly interested in, urban-suburban busing. If student lived in a high poverty neighborhood, but attended a high preforming school, could their educational outcome improve? I would like to look at how busing students across districts could improve educational attainment. Even though forced busing was not upheld by the supreme court in Milliken v. Bradley, some suburban schools voluntarily allow minority students to transfer to suburban schools. A suburban school districts in St Louis, Missouri allows student exchanges with the city. The schools in the city of St. Louis have higher poverty, lower test scores, and lower graduation rates than the nearby suburban schools. I would like to empirically investigate the positive or negative impact busing has on student performance. Specifically, I would look at student’s grades, test scores, and behavioral record before and after being admitted to the program and also compare their records with students who attend the city school. This research will quantify the effects low preforming schools have on student’s education.
Low preforming schools do children a disservice, yet that are still able to operate each year and continue a cycle that disproportionately effects minority communities. In summary, my dissertation looks to quantify the impacts of low preforming schools on student outcomes. These three parts of my dissertation I plan to complete over the next four years. The Ford fellowship will aid the completion of my PhD through increased networks, opportunities to present my work, and valuable feedback.