The Influence of Teachers’ Colorblind Expectations on the Political, Normative, and Technical Dimensions of Educational Reform

Daniel D. Liou, Patricia Randolph Leigh, Erin Rotheram-Fuller, Kelly Deits Cutler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

This ethnographic case study examined the experiences of African American students within an urban school detracking reform initiative, which was intended to replace tracking practices through the institution of small schools. Over the course of a year, the researchers interviewed administrators, teachers, and students while gathering observational data from classrooms to explore the political nature of the reform and its impact on how students were viewed and treated by their teachers. Although this school reorganization aimed to expand opportunities for African American students, ultimately the data illustrated that restructuring efforts failed to change teachers’bb attitudes and academic expectations, thereby denying students equitable educations. We found colorblindness to be a key factor that informed teachers’ persistent low expectations for students of color that reproduced tracking practices and inequitable opportunity structures in the smaller schools, thereby reinforcing the former stereotypes of low achievement for those students. This study calls for educators to challenge the racial ideologies of academic achievement, vis-a-vis teachers’ colorblind expectations, through political, normative, and technical dimensions of change to actualize educational equity in urban schools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)122-148
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Reform
Volume28
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • African American students
  • politics of education
  • tracking and ability grouping
  • urban education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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