Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Government and International Affairs

Major Professor

Bernd Reiter


Race, The creation of race, The declining significance of race



This research is an investigation into the relationship between the resegregation of American

public schools and the social creation of race. This research is based on the popular notion that

American public schools are failing to produce students capable of competing in today's global society.

The proof most often used to assert the failure of American public schools is the Black/White Test Score

Gap. For the purposes of this research the Black/White Test Score Gap is defined as the gap between

the scores on academic standardized tests between Black public school students and White public school

students regardless of which government agency administered the test. Also within this research the

Black/White Test score gap will be used synonymously with the term achievement gap.

The most widely accepted hypothesis for the existence of the Black/White Test Score Gap is the

segregation of public schools based on race. The United States has had a long history of the racial

domination of Black people and public schools have been a widely used tool in that domination. The

segregation of Black people into public schools that are incapable of producing a quality of education

sufficient enough to enable its students to compete in the global marketplace has been a problem for the

American government. My research will demonstrate that this problem exists because many public

schools contain high levels of individuals experiencing extreme levels of poverty, this fact is in contrast

to the widely held notion that segregation based on race is the most significant factor in predicting the

achievement gap in American schools.

In this research I will investigate the social construction of race in the United States. This

investigation is done to demonstrate why race is not the best predictor of the achievement gap in the

United States. My hypothesis, in this research, is that once the social construction of race is exposed the

premise that race is the best predictor of the Black/White Test Score Gap wills diminish because that

social construction is unreliable for use in policy formation and scientific research. More specifically I

propose that the best predictor for the aforementioned relationship is not race but class. The segregation

of Black public school students into school districts which contain significant levels of students that are

poor is much more significantly associated with the Black/White Test Score Gap than the fact that these

students attend schools that are predominately Black in the United States.