Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

Doris Lynette Crawford

Department Affiliation

Other

Third Advisor

James R. Bliss

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Abstract

Significant efforts at the national, state and local levels have focused on closing achievement gaps between student populations in public schools. Some research suggests that parents and community members can help hold schools accountable for meeting academic and other goals. The Equity Council serves in an advisory role to the Wilson County school board in a district in the southeastern part of the United States. The council monitors equity in the district on several measures, including the hiring of minority educators, student achievement and suspension rates. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to understand and describe the functioning of the Equity Council. Data from interviews, observations and artifacts were analyzed according to Bolman and Deal’s (2008) four frames. Critical theory served as the conceptual framework for the study. Findings suggest that the bylaws of the council and rules of discourse limit the autonomy of the council. However, the group also resists the limitations placed on it through actions such as negotiating improved communication with school district employees and inviting principals to present at council meetings. Additional questions were raised for possible future action research involving the council, including an investigation of media for communication, further study of student discipline, and public discussion of community issues.