All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Linda Searby

Advisory Committee Members

Martha Barber

Tondra Loder-Jackson

John Dantzler

Loucrecia Collins

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2011

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Education (EdD) School of Education

Abstract

One key issue facing urban schools is the mass exodus of middle class African American families to peripheral areas of the city center. Current research specific to Central Alabama documents how the creation of small school districts have affected both the out-migration of African Americans and the resegregation of urban schools; however, the analysis does not consider why middle class African American residents choose to live in a certain municipality. This qualitative study attempts to address the "why" aspect by exploring the perceptions of middle class African American parents in Central Alabama in regard to the educational choices they make. The exploration was designed as a multiple case study within the boundaries of an urban zoned school, an urban magnet school and a suburban public school. Focused interviews provided the central data source for emergent within-case themes. Individual cases were analyzed according to factors that pushed participants from a particular setting, factors that pulled participants toward another setting and factors that mediated their experiences within the environment of choice. The multiple case study method was expanded to include the simultaneous use of an autoethnographic component that provides the context of the researcher's personal journey toward a healthy, non-racist White identity. This non-conventional meshing of methods allowed the researcher to focus on the perceptions of the participants within a bounded framework while also presenting the information in a format that would enrich understanding for a variety of racial audiences. Analyzed through the lens of Critical Race Theory and Identity Development Theory, findings from the study are closely connected to the unique point in history where we now find ourselves in the area of race relations in Central Alabama. The study holds significance as a bridge discourse to connect educational policy with the actual desires of middle class African American parents.

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