Date of Graduation


Document Type

Restricted Dissertation - USF access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies


Organization & Leadership EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Mitchell

Second Advisor

Ellen Herda

Third Advisor

Betty Taylor


This research examined the lack of culturally relevant teaching practices in the classroom for African American elementary students (K-6) in California. Voluntary qualitative interviews were conducted with 7 participants who had elementary school working experience.

A summary of the findings included the development of the following 3 generative themes: (a) Teacher`s inexperience with culturally relevant teaching, (b) Perceptions of classroom bias and maltreatment toward African American students by teachers, and (c) African American parental involvement was critical to their children`s academic success.

The research findings revealed that all participants were not uniform in their application of culturally relevant teaching practices in the classroom. Further, the participants concluded that culturally relevant teaching were not a primary focus in either their pre-service or in-service teacher-education programs and that many of them believed present-day teacher bias and/or negative perceptions about African American students existed in the learning environment.

Recommendations for research in the profession included expanded efforts between educational stakeholders on California in creating uniformed policy to address the student achievement gap plaguing African American students, implementation of a uniform plan to hire competent, qualified K-6 teachers, and refocused efforts to update pre-service training to include culturally relevant teaching strategies and practices.

Additionally, recommendations for further research included removing ambiguous interpretation of federal accountability standards that pertained to reporting the academic achievement of only "numerically significant" that resulted in ignoring failing populations of students, primarily African Americans. The researcher recommended further study on mentoring pre-service teachers with experienced ones in the profession to better understand culturally relevant pedagogy in teaching. Lastly, a final reflection by the researcher that addressed key areas in the study was provided.

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