Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Fantasy T. Lozada

Second Advisor

Dr. Hillary Parkhouse

Third Advisor

Dr. Terri Sullivan

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Zewelanji Serpell


Although formal education is often lauded as the great equalizer in the U.S., schools often mirror and replicate the deep-seated inequalities of society. In a recent report, the U.S. Congress noted that race, gender, and socioeconomic status are the primary axes of inequality in educational achievement (Hussar et al., 2020). Scholars have long known the existence of this disparity in achievement outcomes, but efforts to close the gap have often been from a deficit lens aimed at changing the effort and motivation of students. This framing has problematized ethnic-racial minority students’ abilities and behaviors from an ahistorical lens that fails to account for the ways in which schools have historically been structured to marginalize students of color. More equitable perspectives of disparate school achievement outcomes reframe the question of “why are Black and Latinx students not achieving as well as their White counterparts?” to “in what ways are schools not responsive to the needs of Black and Latinx students?”

One significant way individual schools commonly underserve students of color is in the monocultural platform that school norms, values, and practices emanate from. Given the overrepresentation of White educators in a school system that serves a growing population of ethnically and racially diverse students, this dissertation project explored critical consciousness development of five White teachers across a two-year action research professional development program. Using a case study design, this study explored common themes in their development as well as areas of divergence by mapping teachers' critical consciousness development onto a model for a conceptually similar construct (i.e., sociopolitical development).

The findings of this study suggest that, for the focal teachers, there were multiple unique paths of critical consciousness development. In addition, comparisons across cases highlighted the potential for expanding the sociopolitical development model to include factors related to self-perceptions and identity as well as bidirectional influences between elements of the model. These results have implications for practitioners and broader education stakeholders that seek to call in equity and justice in education.


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