Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Curriculum, Advocacy, and Policy

First Advisor

Dr. Kamau Rashid

Second Advisor

Dr. Sara Efron

Third Advisor

Dr. Todd Price



American schools were successful in assimilating European immigrants and their descendants, this has not been the case for nonwhites. Orfield points out the fact that Native Americans, African Americans, and people of Mexican origin in the United States received little education until well into the twentieth century is an indication of historical educational barriers facing nonwhite people (2013). The purpose of this study is to raise awareness to the evidence of the historical roots of racial inequality in failing schools and how it relates to Black and Latino students locked into inferior schools today. I provide a historical background of Chicago’s restrictive housing policy and the subsequent development and maintenance of segregated schools. Past school policies suggest that current school failures are not merely the result of social factors nor poor teachers, instead school failure is entrenched in a system of racial inequality. Although barriers today are not explicit in the exact way as they were fifty years ago, historical elements designed by city planners and school districts, such as residential segregation, gerrymandering of school attendance boundaries, transfer policies, and assigning teachers in a segregated way (Orfield, 1978, 1996, 2013) have contributed to inequality in education of African American and other children of color. If institutions of learning ignore the historical evidence that current school failures are entrenched in a system of racial inequality, subsequent misguided practices and policies that fail to include a civil rights component will support the continued educational detriment of African American and children of color (Orfield, 2013).