Education School Theses and Dissertations

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    Critically Conscious White Teachers: A Case Study
    (2023-05) Priester-Hanks, Mary Louise; Scheurich, Jim; Thompson, Chalmer; Murphy, Hardy; Blackmon, Sha'Kema; Murtadha, Khaula
    Racism is a pervasive and destructive force in society and has no place in schools. White teachers, like all teachers, are responsible for creating a safe and inclusive learning environment for all students. This means being aware and actively working to combat their own biases and stereotypes, providing equal opportunities and support to all students. This instrumental, qualitative study captured the narratives of five White-identifying critically conscious teachers to understand how their critical consciousness is expressed and the opportunities and challenges they experience because of their anti-racism work. The central research question of this study was: How do critically conscious White teachers in a Southern Indiana school district experiencing demographic shifts engage in anti-racism work? Janet Helms’s White Racial Identity Development (WRID) theory was used to explain the teachers’ work towards anti-racism in schools. The findings from this study indicated that White identifying critically conscious teachers White teachers: a) leverage their privilege to promote anti-racism, b) use culturally relevant practices, c) engage in co-conspirator work, d) actively collaborate with BIPOC students and teachers, e) are instrumental in supporting anti-racism efforts, f) are content with making a positive impact on students and society, g) perceive and experience negative professional consequences as a result of their anti-racism work. This study has important implications for teachers, school administrators, and education system stakeholders.
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    The Spaces Between Us: An Affective Examination of Individual and Collective Memory in Parental Decision Making
    (2023-02) Silverman, Elena Hatton; Nguyễn, Thu Sương Thị; Maxcy, Brendan; Scribner, Samantha; Schall, Carly
    No pseudonyms are used in this dissertation. I found it very difficult to write about my participants using names that aren’t theirs. These are people who I know, who I have relationships with, who have been with me in one way or another for much of my life and choosing random and unrelated names for them felt wrong. However, to protect their privacy, they will be referred to throughout by single initials. All city and school district names have been omitted from this work. In sentences that discuss the participant’s current location I insert (name of city). In sentences that reference where we grew up, I include (the city we grew up in). When removing names needed for contextualization, I include an italicized parenthetical note. Writing by hand and handwriting play a significant role in this dissertation. Central to method as well as theory and discussion, much of the early work done in the process was all handwritten as were the letters that were sent back and forth for data collection. While you will not see handwriting throughout this dissertation you will read about it and will be able to see images of original handwritten text in the appendices.
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    Bought But Not Sold Out: A Critical Autoethnography of a Public School Board Member in the Neoliberal Turn
    (2022-05) Cosby, Gayle S.; Scheurich, Jim; Medina, Monica; Rogan, Patricia; Etienne, Leslie K.
    Neoliberalism is a pro-capitalist ideology that cycles money and power to the elite class by deregulating or privatizing the public sphere and is fueled by economic exploitation and oppression. This dissertation examines the neoliberal construct at work in the privatization of Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) from an ethnographic lens using the vantage point of an elected IPS board member. The literature surrounding the privatization of public schools offers stories from all over the U.S., however the conditions surrounding the privatization of public education systems are similar irrespective of geographical location. Common themes across the country include the de-professionalization of teachers, the circulation of the narrative myth of failing public schools and charter schools as a positive alternative, and overarching patterns of continued school segregation, gentrification of inner cities, and racial migratory patterns of residents affecting school enrollment. Theoretical framing employed in this study includes Punctuated Equilibrium at the macro level; sociopolitics and logics of action at the meso level, and critical theory and politics of resistance at the micro level of analysis. The analysis of data was conducted thematically and data sources encompass a self-authored blog as well as personal communications and reflections, news articles, and board documents. Results of this study illustrate that IPS as an organization underwent a fulcrum point of change, or ‘Punctuated Equilibrium’ in which it ceased to be an exclusively public institution and began to establish partnerships with private charter school companies with inherent profit motives, via the ‘Innovation School Network’. There were many political players involved in orchestrating this change, and those interest groups and their logics of action are detailed. Implications of this study include identifying the future spread of school privatization and possibilities for disrupting the furthering of this neoliberal agenda.
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    Not Just Mathematics, "Just' Mathematics: Investigating Mathematical Learning and Critical Race Consciousness
    (2021-07) Gatza, Andrew Martin; Tillema, Erik; Morton, Crystal; Willey, Craig; Cross Francis, Dionne
    This study is situated at the confluence of three calls for research within mathematics education: 1) work using novel approaches for studying students’ understanding of nonlinear meanings of multiplication; 2) work using discrete mathematics to explore social issues related to equity; and 3) work at the intersection of mathematical learning and critical race consciousness—specifically, social justice mathematics initiatives that explicitly address racism and the learners’ perspectives. The design research methodology of the study with 8th grade students provides practical curricular and pedagogical steps for doing work at the intersection of mathematical learning and race and racism; offers domain-specific learning insights; and merges theory and practice in conceptualizing the multiple complexities of learning and development in situ to create new possibilities for a more just mathematics education. Findings from this study offer insights at the intersection of the evolution of students’ establishment of nonlinear meanings of multiplication and critical race consciousness development. Specifically, this study identifies two schemes that students use to establish a nonlinear meaning of multiplication (SARC Scheme and RA Scheme), illustrates students’ growing racism awareness, and highlights how these initiatives can be mutually supportive in helping to normalize conversations about race and racism.
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    Interchangeable Oppression: Black Female School Counselors' Experiences with Black Adolescent Girls in Urban Middle Schools
    (2021-08) Hicks, Sonya June; Jackson, Tambra; Thompson, Chalmer; Blackmon, Sha'Kema; Morton, Crystal
    While much has been written about the work of school counselors in urban schools, there remains a void of information about the unique experiences of Black female school counselors, particularly in relation to their work with Black adolescent girls in the urban middle school space. This qualitative study seeks to illuminate these experiences via the contributions of four Black female school counselors who have worked in this capacity serving Black girls. Three points of inquiry or Research Questions served as guideposts for this study: (1) What are the personal and professional experiences of Black female school counselors in their work with Black adolescent girls in urban middle schools?, (2) What are Black female school counselors’ perspectives on the ways in which they are supported or not supported in working with Black adolescent girls? and, (3) In what ways (if any) does the concept of “mothering” show up in the relationships and counseling practices involving Black female school counselors and Black adolescent girls in urban middle schools? Thus far, it appears that Black women’s voices and perspectives have been devalued and ignored in research relating to school counseling. To adequately represent the perspectives and experiences of Black women as a marginalized group, I employed a critical hermeneutic phenomenological methodology, along with a Black feminist framework. I engaged the participants in two semi-structured interviews, along with asking them to construct a reflective vision board, serving as a mosaic of their lifeworlds as school counselors working with Black adolescent girls. These actions, along with a review of literature on the schooling experiences of Black adolescent girls in urban schools enabled me to acquire data leading to seven overarching themes relating to the following: relationships and connections based on culture and conversation, the need for support from decision-makers on programming, the physical and emotional investment in the work, mentoring, and the marginalization of Black women in school spaces. Lastly, I present conclusions and implications for school systems, school administrators, and professional school counselor organizations to aid in establishing effective practices in serving Black female students and enhancing the overall school counseling profession.
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    An Examination of the Bachelor's Degree Attainment Experiences of African American Males Post-Incarceration
    (2021-08) Wallace, James W., Jr.; Murtadha, Khaula; Thompson, Chalmer; Scheurich, Jim; Applegate, Rachel
    The United States of America incarcerates more of its citizens than any other industrialized nation. Moreover, African American males are disproportionately targeted for incarceration in a system reminiscent of the system of slavery abolished after the civil war. As the cycle of recidivism plays itself out in this nation, this research examines the experiences of Black males who have broken the cycle to reestablish themselves within society through educating themselves in our nation's colleges and universities. This work is a phenomenological multiple case study that examines the experiences of five men who were incarcerated for a felony offense and successfully obtained bachelor's degree upon release. This research asks the questions: what motivated the pursuit of a degree, how did they pay for it, what resources were utilized, what challenges were overcome, and what impact this achievement had on their lives? Additionally, this research examines current correctional and educational policies and their impact on the Black community and concludes by making recommendations grounded in the research on how the nation can reduce recidivism rates and better serve African American communities.
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    Figuring the Emotionally Disturbed Child: The Function of Teacher Talk on Special Education Referrals of Elementary Aged Children With Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
    (2021-07) Coomer, Maureen Negrelli; Thorius, Kathleen King; Hayes, Cleveland; Graff, Cristina Santamaria; Collins, Kathleen; Mintus, Kenzie Latham
    This interpretive study makes explicit the cultural cognitive structures on which education professionals rely as they determine an elementary-aged child as having an emotional and behavioral disorder through a critical discourse analysis of teacher talk and participant structure analyses.
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    Exploring the Importance of Accounting for Nonlinearity in Correlated Count Regression Systems from the Perspective of Causal Estimation and Inference
    (2021-07) Zhang, Yilei; Terza, Joseph V.; Vest, Joshua R.; Morrison, Wendy; Gupta, Sumedha
    The main motivation for nearly all empirical economic research is to provide scientific evidence that can be used to assess causal relationships of interest. Essential to such assessments is the rigorous specification and accurate estimation of parameters that characterize the causal relationship between a presumed causal variable of interest, whose value is to be set and altered in the context of a relevant counterfactual and a designated outcome of interest. Relationships of this type are typically characterized by an effect parameter (EP) and estimation of the EP is the objective of the empirical analysis. The present research focuses on cases in which the regression outcome of interest is a vector that has count-valued elements (i.e., the model under consideration comprises a multi-equation system of equations). This research examines the importance of account for nonlinearity and cross-equation correlations in correlated count regression systems from the perspective of causal estimation and inference. We evaluate the efficiency and accuracy gains of estimating bivariate count valued systems-of-equations models by comparing three pairs of models: (1) Zellner’s Seemingly Unrelated Regression (SUR) versus Count-Outcome SUR - Conway Maxwell Poisson (CMP); (2) CMP SUR versus Single-Equation CMP Approach; (3) CMP SUR versus Poisson SUR. We show via simulation studies that it is more efficient to estimate jointly than equation-by-equation, it is more efficient to account for nonlinearity. We also apply our model and estimation method to real-world health care utilization data, where the dependent variables are correlated counts: count of physician office-visits, and count of non-physician health professional office-visits. The presumed causal variable is private health insurance status. Our model results in a reduction of at least 30% in standard errors for key policy EP (e.g., Average Incremental Effect). Our results are enabled by our development of a Stata program for approximating two-dimensional integrals via Gauss-Legendre Quadrature.
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    Black Identity Development on a First Year Affinity Course for African American Males at a Two-Year Community College
    (2021-03) Turner, John Cleo; Scheurich, Jim; Hayes, Cleveland; Thompson, Chalmer; Etienne, Leslie; Brown, Roderick
    The research for this dissertation is a study of one case example of programs and classes put into place for African American males at community colleges around the United States with a focus on how these programs were successful or not in assisting in the persistence, retention, and graduation of these students. The purpose of using Cross’ (1991) Black Identity Development Theory as a framework for exploring the students’ experiences in racial ‘awakening’ was to track the patterns in how these experiences aligned with Cross’ concepts.
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    What Makes a Leader: Examining How Search Committees Conceptualize, Measure, and Evaluate Leadership
    (2020-12) Wilson, Shawn M.; Palmer, Megan; Hundley, Stephen; Flowers, Natasha; Scribner, Samantha
    The purpose of this research was to investigate the social and cultural constructions of leadership and how search committee members evaluate candidates for leadership positions. Moreover, how they conceptualize, measure, and evaluate leadership potential of candidates. To explore this issue, the following research questioned were answered: How do members of an executive search committee construct their views of leadership?; In what ways do the individual, social, and cultural constructions of leadership held by search committee members influence behaviors and outcomes of a search committee? In this study, I investigated how members of a search committee constructed their views of leadership and in turn how this influenced the search process for an executive leader. In order to explore this issue, this study is approached through the constructivism paradigm and informed by critical inquiry, using case study methodology. I followed one executive search process from the charge meeting until the committee made its recommendation to the hiring authority. The unit analyzed in this search employed a leadership competency model and tools which mapped to this model, in an effort to mitigate the influence of bias. I used semi-structured interviews with committee members to understand their views on leadership. I supplemented interviews with observations and document analysis as means of collecting data for the study. Three findings emerged through data analysis: the role of background and identity on views of leadership, the influence of personal and societal constructions of leadership on individual behaviors and search outcomes, and the application or utility of using a leadership competency model. Through my findings, I demonstrated how individual’s background and identity shaped their perceptions of what it meant to be a leader. Additionally, how they rated and talked about candidates matched their individual views about leadership rather than the leadership competency model they were asked to use. More specifically, analysis illuminated that minoritized search committee members had drastically different beliefs about leadership and experiences serving on the search committee. I concluded the study by outlining implications for policy, future practice, and future research, including offering a conceptual framework and tools for an equity-minded search process.