Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lopez, Rosita

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations


Educational leadership; Educational vouchers--Law and legislation--United States; School choice--Law and legislation--United States; Social justice--United States; Educational equalization--United States


While our nation's best students can generally be found in predominately white, suburban, and middle to upper-middle class school districts, our weakest students can generally be found in predominately inner-city school districts with high minority populations. To address the disparities between schools a variety of reforms, initiatives, and programs have been created and implemented -- with seemingly little if any long-lasting positive effects. It is this researcher's contention that the one reform movement that is different from the other measures is school choice. It is different because it is the only reform measure that leaves the decision on what is best for a student up to the parent. While the topic of school choice is expansive, this paper focuses exclusively on school vouchers as a possible option for low-income families who reside in a large urban school district. Framing this study is Professor Derrick Bell's theories on social change. Professor Bell postulated that four conditions must be present in order for social change, such as access for blacks and minorities to quality schools, to be cemented. This study examines political and legal events to judge whether or not Bell's theories can be employed at times when state legislation or important court decisions supported or prevented low-income families from attending the school of their choice.


Advisors: Rosita Lopez.||Committee members: Bradley Hawk; Scot Schraufnagel; Teresa Wasonga.


253 pages




Northern Illinois University

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