Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Cristo Rey model: Confronting the educational opportunity gap for low socioeconomic status and minority students
by Fahey-Smith, Ellen T., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2015, 129; 3721029
Abstract (Summary)

In the 21st century, much discourse among educators, policymakers, and scholars in higher education has focused on student achievement. Differences in educational attainment and accessibility based on race and socioeconomic status have been a topic of concern in higher education for the past several decades, both in terms of individual inequities, as well as the broad impact such inequity has on the nation as a whole. Education is directly linked to lifetime earnings and the disparity in lifetime earnings between individuals holding a high school diploma and a college degree has increased. In the global knowledge economy, continually occurring advances in technology have put a premium on educational attainment, and economic performance and productivity are dependent upon a well-educated workforce. The economy advantages individuals with a college degree and a strong capacity for learning.

Although the United States is publicly committed to providing access to higher education, economically disadvantaged and minority youth continue to enroll in and complete college at much lower rates than more privileged students. High school completion and lack of academic preparation are barriers affecting students’ ability to obtain a college diploma.

The Cristo Rey Network is an organization of 28 college preparatory, urban, Catholic high schools, which has as its goal, supporting low-income, predominantly minority students, in their efforts to obtain a college diploma. This qualitative study uses case study methods to examine the Network’s effectiveness in reducing the educational opportunity gap for low socioeconomic status and minority students, in particular Hispanic students who represent 56% of the student population of Cristo Rey high schools nation-wide. The study describes Cristo Rey’s approach to creating an environment to achieve the Network’s goal of preparing students from underserved low-income communities, who are below grade level, for higher education attainment. This research explores the influence of the following four elements of the Cristo Rey Network model in achieving their goal: the Corporate Work Study Program, the college-preparatory academic curriculum, the culture of Cristo Rey schools, and the role of character development and faith.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Perna, Laura W.
Commitee: Hyacinthe, Cassandra, Kaplan, Eric
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Higher Education Management
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 77/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Higher Education Administration, School administration, Higher education
Keywords: Achievement gap, Jesuit, Low ses, Opportunity gap, Secondary education model, Work-study
Publication Number: 3721029
ISBN: 9781339022086
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