Date of Submission

Spring 2023

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Justin Dainer-Best

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Black students are disciplined in K-12 schools at higher rates when compared to their White peers. Research has shown that this inequality in treatment can be traced back to the teachers' biases and prejudices against students of color. Lack of support from teachers can harm students’ academic achievement and overall success outside of school as well. In response, various programs have been implemented to help teachers better support all of their students. For example, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has been successful at helping teachers facilitate learning in an emotionally sensitive way. This program began as an initiative to help teachers support Black students, but the research has shown that even this program, like schools in general, winds up supporting White students disproportionately. SEL has been critiqued for not sufficiently focusing on how to best support Black and Brown students. There are, however, several more recent initiatives in place for working teachers to help them reflect on their biases and classroom practices. Building on these cultural awareness initiatives already in place, the hypothetical study proposed in this paper is an intervention focused on how anti-Blackness is driving the significantly higher rates of Black students being disciplined in school. This research hypothesizes that after teachers undergo a three-month diversity training program to reflect on their own biases, and become better advocates for their Black students, Black students with teachers in the experimental group will show, based on mock data, an equal grade improvement compared to their White peers. Based on the mock data symbolizing student surveys scores, this research also hypothesizes that Black students will have a better connection to their teachers compared to the students of color in the control group.

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Open Access

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