The landmark case, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, ended segregation in public schools—changing the educational system in the United States forever.
With the educational system constantly changing and incorporating new laws such as No Child Left Behind, African-American students struggle to achieve excellence. Many question if our educational system is truly failing our African-American students—contradicting the No Child Left Behind Act as many African-American students are left behind with no way of catching up.
The Academic Excellence Indicator System (AEIS) report produced by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) indicated that African-American students scored lower than other ethnicities on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) test, the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), and the American College Test (ACT). The lack of achievement by African-American students could possibly change if they were treated equally and if quality educational opportunities were present through instruction.
The school system is key in building, as well as lowering the self-image of students. According to Kuykendall (1989), approximately 80% of African-American students have a positive image of oneself when they enter school, 20% still have this image by the time they reach fifth grade, but only 5% have a positive perception of themselves by their senior year in high school.
The qualitative case study method was exercised in this study because it allowed the researcher to build a holistic picture of the phenomenon being studied. The participants in this study were four African-American students that have continuously excelled throughout their academic years. The primary instrument for this study was the human form.
Emergent themes surfaced throughout the study. The themes included (I) Fear of being perceived as acting white, (II) More African-American educators are needed to act as role models, (III) Teachers' attitudes affect achievement, and (IV) Parental involvement is key.
This research provides framework that is essential for African-American students, parents, and educators. It serves as a survival guide to ensure that all African-American children have the opportunity to be successful.