Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Closed Access

First Advisor

Jerusha Beckerman

Second Advisor

Emily Cullen-Dunn


Public schools are supposed to be the great equalizer in American society. However, based on oppressive historical practices such as forced assimilation, linguistic erasure, and the acknowledgment of singular funds of knowledge, the educational system has mainly failed students of color from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. This thesis is a testament that public school teachers committed to serving socially diverse communities are critical in changing this oppressive narrative and cultivating innovative thinking that leads towards greater equity. The work begins by rejecting the “banking model of education” and enacting a liberatory pedagogy in the classroom (Freire, 2000). Student-teaching recollections help to demonstrate the critical role of trustworthy and compassionate relationships between teachers and students in fostering a classroom community that works against hate and oppression. These stories show how this revolutionary work can transform the nuanced work of ordinary curricula into powerful and relevant classroom experiences that encourage higher-order thinking through dialogue, reflection, and collaboration — crucial foundations for a just, equitable, and democratic society.

Under author imposed embargo.
Available for download on Wednesday, April 30, 2025