Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Wendy Luttrell

Subject Categories

Education Policy


critical; Early Childhood Education; narrative analysis; School Readiness


This qualitative study applies a critical and constructivist grounded theory approach (Charmez, 2014) to a narrative inquiry of how White middle-class early childhood educators perceive or make assumptions when identifying school readiness in low-income Black children. The data collection included an online districtwide survey of kindergarten and first-grade teachers (n=24), interviews of five teacher participants, observations of five identified non-school ready low-income Black children and two focus groups (participating and interpretative). The findings revealed an ecology of school readiness, in which teachers felt that the increase in standards impacted their quick identifications of non-school ready children. These participants claim that there is a culture of rushing, a pushing down of the curriculum (k=1st), an undemocratic atmosphere, a pressure to conform to developmentally inappropriate practices and an inclusion of unreasonable teacher accountability evaluations. They also realized that parents have different expectations, work too many low-wage jobs to be actively involved and can not always help their child at home. Overall, it was determined that school readiness, as a term is a deficit based term that needs to re-imagined and reconceptualize in early childhood practices.