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ERIC Number: ED556529
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 85
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3036-7723-6
Examining the Achievement Gap: The Effectiveness of African American Teachers Instructing African American Students in Kansas City Public Schools
Campbell, Judith Jordan
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Missouri - Columbia
Over several years the American public educational system has failed to address one of the most infuriating problems faced by our nation, narrowing the achievement gap in urban districts with urban learners. Historically, minority students have not paralleled the academic performance of their White counterparts. This holds true with standardized assessments in addition to high school graduation and college admission rates (U. S. Department of Education, 2006). With continuous reflection upon the school system, policy makers, researchers, building administrators, and teachers have worked tirelessly to determine what the next steps are with the entrenched problem we face (Hale-Benson, 1982; Kozol, 1991; Lomotey, 1978). Nationally there have been repeated attempts and continuous research to solve the vexing problem and inadequacies of this gap; however, the solution is still very complicated. The majority of urban school populations today are students of color, but urban schools are staffed by predominately White teachers and administrators. In 1954, approximately 82,000 African American teachers had the responsibility of educating 2 million African American public school students in the nation. This changed after the ruling in the Supreme Court's decision in "Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas" (Hawkins, 1994). Lewis (2006) states that today, more often than not, minority students are being educating by individuals who are not of their racial, cultural, and gender background. Research now states that almost 87% of elementary and secondary teachers are White in the United States, while only 8% are African American (Lewis, 2006; U.S. Department of Education, 2004). Minority students, who were to benefit from "Brown", are now the most underachieving group of students in our schools. Many discussions have taken place on how one must look beyond the test scores when it comes to educating children; however, as a nation, test scores are still the leading determinant of our students success and their ability to compete locally, nationally, and globally. What factors contribute to the test performance of urban students? Might the cultural gap between teachers and students be important to consider? Kansas City Public Schools (KCPS) has made repeated attempts to implement effective methods to improve teaching and learning. During the 1980's under the desegregation order, as much as $11,700 per pupil was spent in Kansas City to support student achievement. This amount provided was more money per pupil, on a cost of living adjusted basis, than any of the other 280 largest districts in the country. Resources that were brought to the district due to the funds were new schools, higher teachers' salaries, and amenities such as an Olympic-sized swimming pool with an underwater viewing room, televisions, and animation studios. The funds assisted with the student-teacher ratio which averaged 12 to 1, which during that time was the lowest of any major urban school district in the country. The end results were dismal, leaving test scores stagnant and with less racial integration, which was the supposed motivation for the plan. The end results were also demoralizing, due to the negative public attention brought to the district's failure (Wesson, 2011). This experiment revealed that the educational problems in this district would not be solved by throwing money at students or schools, but by directly facing the dilemma of low student achievement (Hanushek, 1981). [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kansas
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Brown v Board of Education