Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)

Program

Educational Leadership

Date of Award

8-2002

Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Louise L. MacKay, Terrence A. Tollefson

Committee Members

Elizabeth Ralston, Nancy Dishner

Abstract

This is a qualitative study of the perceptions of a purposeful sample of 27 individuals who were students, teachers, or administrators in North Carolina Negro high schools in the period from 1934 to 1966. I interviewed all of them personally or by telephone. All interviews were tape recorded, and the tapes were later transcribed by an individual who was familiar with the speech patterns of the interviewees. A commercial software program was used to help me identify any themes that emerged from the interviews.

One main theme was that the conditions of buildings and equipment varied with the particular high school and the time period. Participants’ comments indicated that facilities were substandard because they were old, had not been maintained adequately, or lacked indoor plumbing. A second theme was that students said they had taken a wide range of courses in their senior years, including English, history, mathematics (algebra and trigonometry), science (biology, chemistry and physics), foreign languages (French and Spanish), home economics, and several secretarial or business courses. Responses were mixed about how well the students were prepared for employment, but several students said they were well prepared for college. A third theme was that former students indicated that their parents, teachers, and administrators had worked together effectively to offer supportive environments for students. The fourth theme was that, although the quality of education for black students in general had improved after desegregation began, in some cases desegregation had caused problems for academically talented black students who aspired to go to college. Some expressed the opinion that their teachers had cared more about them than is now the case. A fifth theme was that, although several of the former students said they favored maintaining desegregated public schools, some of them also expressed the hope that more schools attended by blacks would become neighborhood schools. It was the consensus that the federal government was the cause of desegregating Negro high schools altogether. There was a lack of consensus about whether the overall situation of black students had improved or worsened as a result of desegregation.

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Copyright

Copyright by the authors.

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