Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon

Committee Members

Allison D. Anders, Katherine H. Greenberg, Scott Ellison


In this philosophical research project, the author examines the question: How can the case be made that there is an imperative need to change the trajectory of current efforts to reduce “achievement gaps” in the United States and (re)vision a transformation of our school settings through conscious-raising sensitivity regarding issues of equity towards equality amongst educators that harnesses the work of philosophy of education scholars? She engages the reader in a theoretical hike through a philosophical argument for attending to philosophical theories of education, extending the work of Jane Roland Martin regarding sensitivity and drawing heavily on the scholarship of Barbara Thayer-Bacon regarding relational “(e)pistemologies,” constructed thinking, and democratic community. Contending that there is a tandem need to address issues of diversity as they pertain to equity and work towards inclusion of dominant community and marginalized groups to establish a new equality of dominant and marginalized groups working together, the author explores guiding graduate level education students to personal preparation for conscious-raising regarding issues of sensitivity to diversity for equity with the imperative of inclusion for equality. The case is made, through theory infused with illustrative narrative, that a critical philosophically positional approach can raise consciousness regarding diversity for equity and inclusion to advance toward an ideal of equality, resulting in pedagogical praxis in educational practitioners which the author claims will help advance the vital aim of reducing “achievement gaps” in schools in the United States.

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