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Date of Award

Spring 6-9-2023

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no restriction)

Work Type

Dissertation in Practice

Degree Name

Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Billye Sankofa Waters

Second Advisor

Dr. Wayne Au

Third Advisor

Mr. Jerome Gourdine


The educational system in the United States claims to be a neutral system in which each child has equal opportunity to learn. Rather, it is a system that is constructed from a white epistemology (Ladson-Billings, 1998) that teaches a white worldview (Sleeter & Stillman, 2005) while simultaneously disregarding epistemologies, including knowledge bases, from Communities of Color. This dissonance creates dehumanizing and harmful experiences for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who are made to participate in an educational system that denies their worldview and way of being. The study is grounded in Critical Race Theory to acknowledge the permanence of racism in society, the valuing of white epistemology as whiteness as property, the claim of neutrality under colorblindness and counter storytelling to recognize the importance of uplifting the voices of those negatively impacted. Engaged Pedagogy is included to provide a lens that views human beings holistically, necessitating the inclusion of elements of self-care and healing into the learning and educational processes.

The purpose of this study is to dream of a liberatory education by uplifting the voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who attended middle school in Oakland, California. Relational methodology, including group interviews, was used to learn from collective experiences. The research findings of the study identified three themes including the dream for learning to be driven by self, the dream for learning to support the betterment of self, and the dream for learning to support the betterment of society. When looked at through the lens of the current educational system, the three themes call for a shift in learning standards from one set of common standards for all students to personalized learning goals driven by each student.

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