Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department or Program


Department or Program Chair

Elizabeth Truesdell PhD

First Reader

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


The achievement gap in the United States develops when millions of children enter the classroom on their first day of kindergarten. The sociological effects of the achievement gap as it relates to the racial and socio-economic strata create cyclical, systemic problems in our country that ultimately affect the next generations of children in our schools. The purpose of this study is to learn from adult African-American teachers about the issues confronting African-American high school students who no longer have role models in the classroom, as was previously the case, prior to school desegregation. A former teacher, of African-American history, was interviewed for the study. Results indicated that African-American teachers must take on the responsibility of engaging in conversations about race with their colleagues. The effect of this dialogue would be to help all teachers understand the challenges that all students with different cultural backgrounds face in the contemporary high school. Because there are so few African-American teachers, African-American students frequently lack role models with whom they can easily identify. This can negatively impact selfesteem for students and can keep students and teachers of all races from building rapport. Sometimes, it can even keep students from accessing the academic content.

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