Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Curriculum, Advocacy, and Policy

First Advisor

Dr. Sara Efrat Efron

Second Advisor

Dr. Todd Price


Understanding that the academic achievement of Latino students continues to lag behind their White peers, this study explored the role of the teacher in the success or failure of Latino school-age children. The methodology utilized for this research was qualitative. I used a narrative approach to discuss the thoughts, opinions, and insights of the six teachers interviewed for this study. The in-depth conversations with the participants suggested differences in how Latino and White teachers view their Latino students. Most of the White teachers suggested that academic achievement can be reached through explicit vocabulary instruction, reading a wide variety of books, and holding students to higher standards. In contrast, the Latino teachers suggested that teachers and school districts need to honor bilingualism and provide a welcoming environment in order for Latino students to reach academic achievement. Overall, White teachers placed a higher value on cognitive intelligence, while Latino teachers placed a higher value on social intelligence. The White and Latino teachers that participated in this study had different perceptions on who is to be blamed for the failure of Latino students. When Latino students do not achieve academic success, some of the White participants suggested that this is because the Latino parents are not involved in their children’s schooling and do not read to their children, but the Latino teachers suggested that Latino students do not succeed in school because they do not feel valued and that their humble personalities do not fit the White teacher’s perspective of an independent learner. The individualistic view of educational success is quite different from the collectivistic viewpoint of success. White teachers who generally fall into the individualistic perspective described successful students as being self-reliant and independent, while the Latino teachers who generally fall into the collectivistic perspective described successful students as being interdependent and preferring to work in cooperative groups. As school districts continue to have conversations about closing the achievement gap between minority students and White students and continue to supply teachers with new curricula and the latest assessment tools to keep track of student growth, districts must not fail to provide teachers with teacher professional development about culturally and linguistically diverse students. In the end, the ones who suffer from this neglect are the students. It is my belief that many teachers would be eager to learn more about working with Latino students and leveraging their students’ culture to create a more educated student body.