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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Educational Disparities in Early Education: A Critical Race Theory Analysis of ECLS-K: 2011 Data
by Fair, Elizabeth L., Ph.D., Notre Dame of Maryland University, 2018, 185; 10784565
Abstract (Summary)

African American children’s public school education outcomes differ from those of their White, non-Hispanic peers. This dissertation used the data from The Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey for the Kindergarten Class of 2011 (ECLS-K: 2011) to explore the question: What factors during a child’s kindergarten through third-grade years contribute to disparate test scores, opportunities, and outcomes? There is a large body of research citing a gap between African American students and their White, non- Hispanic peers in later years of schooling. This study utilized data collected from students, parents, teachers, and administrators from a child’s entry to kindergarten through the completion of third grade. The results were interpreted through the lens of Critical Race Theory (CRT). Most CRT work has been qualitative. This study aimed to identify areas in which follow-up qualitative work could enrich the findings of the quantitative work and offer insight beyond the deficit models that are routinely provided to explain the gap.

Findings suggest that there is a slight gap between African American students and their White, non-Hispanic peers in reading and math scores on kindergarten entry. Those differences increased over a 4-year period. The data also suggest poverty played a factor in this disparity. The beliefs about kindergarten readiness between teachers and parents were aligned, and African American parents’ beliefs were more aligned than were those of the parent population as a whole. Teachers reported closer relationships with White, non-Hispanic students and higher levels of conflict with African American students, although this did not seem to correlate directly with reading and math test scores.

The research results indicate that there needs to be an increase in culturally relevant pedagogical training for preservice and inservice teachers. Early education programs need to be closely examined for practices that exclude or disadvantage children who are not from White, middle class backgrounds. The curriculum needs to build on the skills the students possess, rather than considering those without the desired skills deficient. Finally, intervention programs need to be evaluated as the data in the study indicate that reading gaps were less than math.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sattler, Joan
Commitee: Fenster, Mark J., Savick, Stephanie
School: Notre Dame of Maryland University
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Maryland
Source: DAI-A 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Educational leadership, Early childhood education
Keywords: Achievement gap, African American, Critical race theory, Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey, Education, Equity
Publication Number: 10784565
ISBN: 978-0-438-51529-1
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