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David E. Lawrence, Ph.D. is a 2021 graduate of the PHD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

David Lawrence at his Dissertation Defense.

From L-R: Dr. Laurien Alexandre, Committee Member, Dr. Donna Ladkin, Committee Chair, Dr. Carolyn M. Shields, Committee Member

Dissertation Committee

  • Donna Ladkin, Ph.D., Committee Chair
  • Laurien Alexandre, Ph.D., Committee Member
  • Carolyn M. Shields, Ph.D., Committee Member

Keywords

equity, White educators, suburban schools, transformative leadership, minoritized parents, social justice, school improvement, school reform, implicit bias, professional development, equity training

Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2021

Abstract

The intent of this qualitative critical incident study was to explore the interpretation of equity by White equity-trained suburban educators (WETSE) and minoritized parents (MP) in a Midwestern suburban school district to address and change inequitable student outcomes. WETSE and MP participated independently in focus groups. The research design used critical incident technique (CIT) as the methodology; focus groups as the data collection tool; and thematic analysis (TA) as the analytical tool. Zones of Mediation (ZONE) and Transformative Leadership Theory (TLT) were used to distill and categorize the research findings. WETSE and MP established an agreement on four themes thought to represent impediments to achieving equity in schools (implicit bias, White privilege, diversity, and power). Two divergent themes (WETSE—deficit thinking and MP—stereotyping) and one emergent theme (Equity Training) were generated. The singular stand-alone theme, assimilation, was a complete outlier, and it was generated by MP. All themes were categorized as “normative” or “political” elements of ZONE, demonstrating that technical changes are disconnected from WETSE and MP equity perspectives. Transformative leadership theory (TLT) is composed of eight tenets. WETSE and MP prioritized two of the eight tenets as essential to achieving equity. These findings indicate that changing mindsets (tenet #2) and redistributing power in more equitable ways (tenet #3) are central to achieving equitable school conditions. This study contributes to existing, albeit minimal, literature detailing longitudinal equity training’s effectiveness at deconstructing beliefs and ideologies of White equity-trained suburban teachers and comparing them to minoritized parents’ interpretation of equity using critical incidents. There is a disconnect between this study’s findings and what researchers and practitioners are doing to achieve equitable school outcomes. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA, https://aura.antioch.edu/, and OhioLINK ETD Center, https://etd.ohiolink.edu/etd

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David E. Lawrence

ORCID Scholar ID #: #0000-0001-9767-0964

Dr. David Lawrence is currently the principal at Northmoor Elementary School. Previously he has served as the principal of a middle school and high school. In addition, he has taught mathematics and science in grades 5-12. Dr. Lawrence has also served as Chief Academic Officer and Chief of School Innovation in multiple school districts. Dr. Lawrence is a national consultant most recently working with Jobs for the Future a Boston, Massachusetts based consulting firm and The Nikhar Group a Columbus, Ohio based consulting firm. Dr. Lawrence holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and accounting from the University of Cincinnati, master’s degrees with a concentration in leadership from Wright State University and Antioch University. In addition he also holds a superintendent license. Dr. Lawrence is passionate about CrossFit, reading, traveling, and connecting theory to practice in the field of education. Dr. Lawrence is surrounded by three amazing women. His wife Kim is a travel nurse and midwife who enjoys training and traveling with Dr. Lawrence. His daughter Davishay is currently working in Savannah, Georgia after completing her graduate studies at Akron, University and his youngest daughter Kimea is a graduate school student at DePaul University in Chicago majoring in Women’s Studies. Dr. Lawrence’s scholarship focuses on the issues of equity, implicit bias, stereotyping, assimilation, deficit thinking, and suburban school demographics.

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