Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Curriculum, Advocacy, and Policy

First Advisor

Sara Efron

Second Advisor

Terry Smith

Third Advisor

Todd Price


The discussion of racial and cultural competence in public schools today is necessary. The student population of public schools across the United States has significantly grown racially and culturally diverse. Through the use of a narrative inquiry and a critical lens, this study explored the perception and experiences of public-school educators focused on the topic of racial and cultural competence as it relates to their classroom practice and educational policies. The focus of this research (1) describes and analyzes my personal experiences through the use of qualitative approaches, (2) shares the experiences and perceptions of three public-school educators, and (3) advocate for coursework on the topic of racial and cultural competence to be embedded within teacher preparation programs. Data was collected using oral histories, in-depth one-on-one interviews, and a document review. The following themes were identified: (a) Identity is Foundation, (b) Preparation Matters, (c) Defining is Difficult, (d) Policy Creates Tension. This research provides implications to support parents, community members, and educators in their journey of improving school environments for students of color.