Date of Graduation

Spring 5-15-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Human Rights Education (HRE)


School of Education


International and Multicultural Education (IME)

First Advisor

Monisha Bajaj

Second Advisor

Melissa Ann Canlas


The historic residential racial segregation in the United States results in racially segregated public and private schools. Higher achieving schools tend to be in more affluent areas and are more accessible to white students. Schools that are older, in need of repairs, and tend to be identified as low-achieving, remain in the poorer areas and are mostly attended by students of color. Despite the 1954 landmark case that declared separate but equal schools unconstitutional, public schools are more segregated now than before the Brown v. Board of Education case was heard by the US Supreme Court. As a result, some families choose to send their children to private schools with reputations for academic rigor. However, when students leave their communities to attend school, they are put in a position of acclimating to new academic standards and are required to navigate different social and cultural expectations of a new community. This is especially true for students of color entering predominantly white spaces. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to identify and analyze the ways in which urban high school students, who identify as people of color, were shaped by experience of attending school outside their home community. The results of this study illustrate that students of color may face a variety of challenges, as well as experiences that may have a positive impact on their ability to navigate the world beyond their local communities. The study concludes that it is necessary for schools to be more intentional in their efforts to ensure the success of these students.