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The Extent to Which the School Leader Makes Efforts to Close Black Male Achievement Gaps that Promote Reconciliation of Value Differences within the School Organization Open Access

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Abstract of DissertationThe Extent to Which the School Leader Makes Efforts to Close Black Male Achievement Gaps that Promote Reconciliation of Value Differences within the School OrganizationAs a society, America has struggled to resolve some deep-seated differences over values. These differences are most visible and divisive in the historical White-Black dichotomy. In the realm of education, the Black male achievement gap is a vivid reminder of this previously legalized oppressor-oppressed relationship. The Black male achievement gap is a particularly unique phenomenon in that Black male students surpass every other racial and gender category in educational achievement gaps (NCES, 2013a, 2013b, 2014a, 2014b; NAEP, 2011, 2013). This phenomenon is well-known and well researched. Many researchers point to a fundamental conflict over values that results in this lingering gap between Black male students and their peers. Though these value differences have been researched, how these differences are being reconciled in efforts to close Black male achievement gaps is not known.Argyris and Schön’s (1978, 1989b) theoretical framework provides a practical way to engage the values of the school organization. This perspective allows social scientists to understand whether or not the values guiding the actions of the organization are enabling the organization to effectively meet its stated goals. This research study analyzes a school’s process of responding to the Black male achievement gap, focusing on the school leader’s efforts to close these gaps. The theory of action framework allows the school leader’s efforts to be mapped, distinguishing between espoused and in-use theories of action and understanding if and how the in-use theories are reconciling value differences within the school organization.

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