Date of Award

4-2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Paul Farber

Second Advisor

Dr. Douglas Davidson

Third Advisor

Dr. Nancy Mansberger

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

One area where the national dialogue on race relations often takes place is in education. Unfortunately, with all the studies and programs developed to analyze and eliminate racial inequalities in education, the disparaging results do not improve systematically across the nation. I argue that the proposed solutions to eliminating racial disparities are ineffective in producing long-term systematic change because the problem is framed incorrectly. In order to frame the problem in a way that leads to lasting and effective change, we need a social science that embraces the consideration of power, values and the socio-historical context of race and racism in our society that lie beneath the racial inequalities evident in our schools. For this paper, I will first describe the need to change the way social problems are studied and provide an alternative paradigm emphasizing Aristotle's classic conception of the intellectual capacity of phronesis, as set forth by Flyvbjerg (2001). I will then describe critical race theory (CRT) and explain how it can be used to do phronetic social science research on race and racism in education. Finally, I will describe the history project efforts of the Kalamazoo Public Schools Anti-Racism Team as a case study of how to implement phronetic social science grounded in CRT, or what I am calling phronetic critical race methodology, in a particular context with the purpose of leading to social action and change.

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