Chapman, Thandeka K.
Is Integration a Dream Deferred? Students of Color in Majority White Suburban Schools
University of California San Diego
How does students’ relationships with school adults impact their educational experiences and future college and career choices?
Journal Name or Institutional Affiliation:
Journal of Negro Education
Vol. 83, No. 3, Pp. 311-326
Although Brown altered the racial composition of schools, it left adult dispositions toward students of color intact.
Students’ relationships with their teachers at the middle school level directly impact their opportunities to access rigorous coursework in high school.
Teacher–student relationships impact student connectedness with the school, students’ course accessibility in high school, and their future college options due to the courses listed on their transcripts.
Counselors’ low expectations are evident in the students’ discussions of college choices.
Many of the student’s state that their guidance counselors recommend technical schools or open admission colleges instead of competitive four-year institutions.
Students of color recognize the disparity in counseling between students of color and White students. When the students compare their academic planning meetings to those of their White peers, they realize that the White students are encouraged to apply to four-year universities and Ivy League schools. Counselors rarely encourage students of color to apply to selective schools or seek scholarships and grants to supplement college costs. Students of color who perceive their counselors to have low expectations for them are less likely to visit their counselors and seek information. Therefore, the academic pathways to college for students of color and White students look very different
Teachers and counselors continue to set low expectations for students of color and interact with students in ways that reassert deficit notions of students of color. These interactions define rigorous curricular spaces as the privilege and property of White students; in these spaces students of color are viewed as unwelcome guests or interlopers.
Journal Article Empirical Research
Desegregation, Expectations, Racial Composition, Teachers
Focus groups, Interviews
Method of Analysis:
High School Students of Color
Unit of Analysis:
To explore the experiences of students of color in majority White high schools, the research team conducted 22, 60–90 minute, focus group interviews with 97 high school students of color, from 6 schools in 4 districts.
The participants’ ages ranged from 14–19 years. Two-thirds of the participants were girls. The student participants include 74 African American, five Latino/a, 4 Asian American, 10 bi-racial, two Native American, and 2 multi-racial students. The large number of African American students aligns with the demographics of the suburban schools and the nearby urban district.
The research team consisted of 2 African American women, 1 Latina, 1 Korean man, and 1 Hmong woman.
Data were collected at the high schools through single audiotaped sessions with four to five students and one or more members of the research team.
The semi-structured interviews focused on three categories: general questions about their high school, adult relationships, and academics.
Because of the different levels of experience, students were split into 9th and 10th grade groups and 11th and 12th grade groups for the interviews.