Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Dissertation Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education Policy, Planning, and Administration

Committee Chairperson

David I. Backer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Katherine Norris, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jim Scanlon, Ed.D.


Since 2001, school districts, states, and the federal government have debated what should be done to address the academic achievement gap, identified most recently through standardized tests mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). This gap has highlighted what Gloria Ladson-Billings calls an education debt, or the accumulation of decades of educational inequities forced upon communities of color (Ladson-Billings, 2006). Still, the data from NCLB testing has only revealed one aspect of this education debt. Similar gaps in high school extracurricular activity participation rates have not been adequately studied. This dissertation measures the participation gap in a predominantly White school district and presents qualitative data to explain the gap. It then also suggest how to close the gap, offering proposals to improve the overall educational experience of Black and Latinx high school students in the district. The study utilizes a mixed methods approach with an explanatory sequential design, and it is grounded in Critical Race Theory. It finds that there is a significant gap in participation based on race, and it offers several specific policy changes that would be effective in closing the gap.