Friday, August 7, 2020 1:00pm - 3:00pm

Zoom Meeting - Virtual

Dissertation Proposal Defense

Today, the need to help increase enrollment and retention of Black Preservice Teachers (BPTs) in a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) Teacher Education Program (TEP) is especially relevant in the United States, because teachers are more likely to be White and female in the classroom. According to the United States Department of Education’s Federal data, 80% of teachers are White with less than 7 % of teachers, across the United States, being Black between 1987 and 2015. America’s public-school teachers are far less racially and ethnically diverse than their students (Pew Research Center, 2018, August 27). There is a need to increase the number of Black teachers to address this imbalance.
Similarly, there is a lack of representation of Black Teachers (BTs) in the teaching force in the state of New Jersey. In 75% of public-school districts in the state of New Jersey, 84 % of the teachers are white (NJDOE, 2018). Conversely, within this same teaching workforce, 16% of the remaining percentage are teachers of color, with 7% of these teachers being Black. Despite this lack of equitable representation in the teaching force, 54% of New Jerseys’ students are Black, Hispanic, Asian, or other underrepresented populations. Examination of the DOE’s certified staff and enrollment data for the 2017-2018 school year also found a significantly higher staff-to-student ratio for white staff-to-Black and Brown students than for white staff to white students. With 56% of New Jersey’s students being students of color, and only 16% of teachers are teachers of color, there lies the problem (Guenther, 2020).
 In this qualitative case study, I identified the perceived beneficial and challenging aspects of the multiple social identities of Black Preservice Teachers (BPT) and Black Preservice Alumni (BPA), who are/were enrolled in Renaissance University’s TEP. My primary research question was: How do BPT’s and BPA’s interpreted experiences intersect with macro-level structural factors to illustrate or produce disparate enrollment and retention outcomes?
 The findings revealed how structural racism fortified through a macrostructure of whiteness resulted in BPT and BPA participants experiencing racialized trauma. Racialized Trauma manifested as complex social inequalities in Renaissance University’s PWI TEP. Likewise, the findings shared how the BPT and BPA participants or “walking wounded” clawed into the university structure for healing through micro-structures of triage supports which were responsible for resilience in Renaissance University’s PWI TEP.


Who to contact:

Lisa Knox-Brown