Theses Doctoral

Cultural Competence: An Adaptive Approach to Closing the Achievement and Opportunity Gaps

Jackson, Cecilia

The current demographic changes in the U.S. have resulted in a national culture gap, which contributes to the achievement and opportunity disparities that persistently plague students of color. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 86% of all PreK-12 grade teachers are European Americans. Yet, the student population in urban settings continues to be overwhelming economically disadvantaged students of color. Plaguing the nation’s schools are concerns about identifying teachers capable of successfully teaching in diverse classrooms, as stakeholders continue to speculate about the efficacy of White teachers to teach students of color due to the White teachers’ lack of understanding about and sensitivity toward students of color. Consequently, educators struggle to effectively serve their culturally dissimilar students. Despite the technical fixes of school reforms over the past three decades, however, the achievement and opportunity gaps remain. Hence, an adaptive approach to closing the opportunity and achievement gaps necessitates challenging our nation’s beliefs, values, and assumptions through a series of professional learning opportunities, as engaging in a series of intensive professional learning within a 12-month period improves student achievement by as much as 21 percentile points.
The purpose of this study was to develop the Cultural Competence Professional Learning Module (CCPLM, 2016), which is grounded in Adult Learning Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Culturally Relevant Pedagogy and is designed to foster Cultural Competence in NYC DoE public school teachers. The researcher used the Cultural Competence Needs Assessment Survey (2016) and the Multicultural Personality Questionnaire (2000) to ascertain NYC DoE schools administrators’ level of cultural competence and their beliefs about their teachers’ cultural competence. Of the school administrators who completed the surveys and were culturally competent, 15 provided feedback on the CCPLM’s content and design in a focus group. Concurrently, four national experts on professional learning and diversity in schools also reviewed and provided feedback on the module. The results from the study support the need for a professional learning module that fosters NYC educators’ cultural competence. Delimitations and limitations of the study are discussed.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Organization and Leadership
Thesis Advisors
Perkins, Brian K.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 23, 2018