Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Florida's definition and subsequent calculations of a public high school graduate: A Critical Race Theory analysis
by Watson, Terri N., Ph.D., Florida Atlantic University, 2010, 122; 3407310
Abstract (Summary)

On March 18, 2008, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida filed a class action lawsuit against The Palm Beach County School Board and its district superintendent on behalf of approximately 176,000 students under their jurisdiction (Schroeder v. The Palm Beach County School Board, 2008). The plaintiffs cited the defendants for their failure "to provide a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality education" (p. 7) as required by the Florida Constitution, Article IX, ยง 1. They contended that their claim was substantiated by The School District of Palm Beach County's (SDPBC) dismal high school graduation rates.

Spurred by the lawsuit, I wanted to understand the controversy surrounding high school graduation rates, in spite of decades of school reform measures, and why different calculation methods are utilized in the state of Florida. In respect to the latter point, I was curious to learn about the differences among graduation rate calculation methods and what impact, if any, these differences had on the reporting of high school graduation rates, particularly those for students of color.

Black America's past and present reality in public education has illustrated the need for new paradigms to address the achievement gap promulgated by contextual factors that serve to impede the academic achievement of all students. The statistical analyses and Critical Race Realist perspective, which has evolved from Critical Race Theory when applied to policy research, offered in this study found Florida's definition and subsequent calculations of a public high school graduate to result in significant and consistent differences among graduation rates relative to student race and graduation rate calculation method.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sughrue, Jennifer
School: Florida Atlantic University
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 71/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African American Studies, Black studies, Educational leadership, Education Policy, Secondary education
Keywords: Black students, Equity, Florida, High school graduate, Racial differences
Publication Number: 3407310
ISBN: 978-1-109-75946-4
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