Hawn Nelson, Amy
Experiencing the Double-Edged Sword of Desegregation: Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Graduates from 1995-1998
1 online resource (342 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
The purpose of this study is to gain insight into the long-term effects of desegregated schooling within a firmly established K-12th grade desegregated school system. Long-term outcomes include: educational and occupational attainment, comfort with diverse individuals, positive attitudes towards race relations, sense of civic engagement, and increased interaction with other racial groups (such as living and working in diverse environments). Previous studies have examined the long-term outcomes of desegregated schooling for graduates who attended desegregated high schools, yet these students attended segregated schools from K-9th grade. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools were desegregated from roughly 1975-2002, when its mandatory court order was lifted. This study examines experiences of graduates from 1995-1998, a cohort of students who attended desegregated schools from K-12th grade. This dissertation conducted a comparative case study analysis of a racially desegregated school, racially identifiable White school, and racially identifiable Black school. In 1997, Independence High School was racially desegregated at the school level, with the school demographics mirroring the greater Charlotte community. In contrast, Garinger High School was racially segregated Black, while North Mecklenburg High School was racially segregated White. This dissertation focuses on graduates of three schools and seeks to answer the following general question: How do graduates of Independence High School, Garinger High School, and North Mecklenburg High School from 1995-1998 describe and make sense of their schooling experiences, particularly in regards to interracial contact, racial identity development and diverse understandings of greater society? From this overarching question stem several subsidiary questions:1) Were there differences in long-term outcomes of graduates between the three schools? 2) Were graduates aware that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools were under a court-ordered desegregation plan during their years of schooling? Did graduates see themselves as part of a segregated or desegregated school?3) Did the racial composition and organizational structure of schools affect opportunities for interracial contact and racial identity development? 4) Did experiences with desegregated schooling lead students to develop a greater sensitivity to the complexities of race and social class as adults?This study utilizes critical theory as a general theoretical lens and focuses specifically on racial identity development theory to better understand the experiences of graduates. Qualitative and quantitative data are used to present a holistic view of the three schools. An overall context of the schooling experience is described using an existing quantitative dataset collected in 1997, and yearbook analysis provides information regarding opportunities for interracial contact in each school. A revised version of the Diversity Assessment Questionnaire (Civil Rights Project, 2001) was distributed to research participants to determine the long-term outcomes of individual high school experiences. From these surveys, a representative sample of twelve graduates per school, for a total of 36, were selected for in-depth interviews. Results indicate that individuals did experience desegregation in dramatically different ways based on the racial composition of their school, with the racially desegregated school and the racially isolated Black school having more positive outcomes than the racially isolated White school. Graduates of all schools were unclear regarding the definition of desegregation and the majority of graduates did not know they attended schools under a court-mandated desegregation plan. Results indicate that desegregation efforts in Charlotte, NC had countless intended and unintended consequences and as such were perceived in dramatically different ways by graduates. Collectively, desegregation provided a positive experience with long-lasting positive outcomes for graduates.
CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG SCHOOLSDESEGREGATED SCHOOLSDIVERSE SCHOOLSGRADUATESPERCEPTIONS OF SCHOOLINGRACIAL COMPOSITION
Curriculum & Instruction
Blitvich, PilarFlowers, ClaudiaHancock, Stephen
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2010.
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). For additional information, see http://rightsstatements.org/page/InC/1.0/.
Copyright is held by the author unless otherwise indicated.