Date of Award

8-7-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Joseph Feinberg

Second Advisor

Dr. Chantee Earl

Third Advisor

Dr. Yali Zhao

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Natalie King

Abstract

This study is an examination of the publicly shared United States History curriculum for Georgia Virtual School. The study focuses on how inclusive the curriculum is to the perspectives of people of color, as well as how the curriculum addresses race, racism and the impact of racism on Black Americans. In this study of Georgia Virtual School’s United States History curriculum, Critical Race Theory is used to analyze current social studies curriculum that is publicly available. With a growing number of students accessing online education and virtual schools, this research contributes to an emerging literature regarding online social studies curriculum and critical race theory.

This study sits at the intersection of two under-researched areas in the field of social studies education. The first area is addressing race and racism in social studies curriculum and the second area is best practices in a virtual school setting. Qualitative content analysis was selected because it focuses on the meaning behind the words and the curricular messages shared with online students. The results from this research illustrate a picture of Georgia Virtual School (GAVS) that coincides with research on race and racism in social studies education. In particular, analysis of the U.S. History course from GAVS shows race and racism are not addressed to the degree that Georgia Standards of Excellence require. In addition, traditionally marginalized groups, such as LatinX, Asian Americans and Native Americans, are given significantly less curricular coverage than African Americans. Racism is also presented as an overarching systemic problem. Overall, the data results show that GAVS U.S. History curriculum inadequately addresses the significance of race and racism in United States history.

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