Date of Conferral
Public Policy and Administration
Dr. Richard J. DeParis
The achievement gaps between White and Black students remain prevalent in American public schools. To resolve the problem, many school districts have developed equity-centered practices to improve high school graduation rates. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine whether the (a) duration of exposure to educational equity policies, (b) percentage of economically disadvantaged students, (c) percentage of students with disabilities, and (d) percentage of limited-English-proficient (LEP) students are predictive of high school graduation rates for Black students in large school districts. This study was grounded in Schneider and Ingram’s social construction of target populations theory. Archival data of 466 case files from the regulatory 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rates and duration of exposure to educational equity policies were evaluated using a one-way ANOVA and a multiple linear regression. A statistically significant ANOVA indicated that large school districts without educational equity policies in place were associated with the numerically largest mean level of high school graduation rates (M = 79.73), while large school districts with 4 or more years of having educational equity policies in place were associated with the numerically smallest mean level of high school graduation rates (M = 75.48). The negative regression relationship between the percentage of economically disadvantaged students variable and the outcome variable predicted that an increase in low income students (22%) results in a 3% decrease high school graduation rates for Black students. While expressing reservation in interpreting the students with disabilities variable, the LEP variable was not significant. The findings of this study could contribute to positive social change through public policy development to increase chances of closing the education divide in America.