Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)

Department

Department of Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies

Advisor(s)

Edward Brantmeier

Abstract

This research study focuses on three countries: the United States, France, and South Africa. While the issue of the income and racial achievement gap may seem similar on the surface for these three countries, research suggests that these issues, deeply embedded in each country’s history of racial segregation, economic inequality, and current policies and practices are connected to the struggle of students in acquiring necessary cultural capital. The comparative analysis conducted in this thesis illustrates how schools sort and select students based on racial identity and socioeconomic status, hindering access to cultural capital and affecting student achievement. The outcome of this thesis concludes that no single approach can be made to close the racial and class achievement gap. Instead, a multi-layered approach towards changing the system of education must be enacted in order to make meaningful progress towards ensuring equal access and quality education for all. This includes a reform in policy, practice, resource distribution, student-teacher relationships, and overall attitude towards diversity.

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