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  • Writer's pictureDr. Terah Venzant Chambers

What is Being Black and High Achieving Going to Cost me in your School?

Updated: Aug 7, 2022

Lolita A. Tabron and Terah T. Venzant Chambers



Researchers have documented how schools perpetuate an unequal opportunity structure for low- income students of color. However, most of the attention has focused on low academic performers. We contribute to a growing body of research that shows how the educational needs of high-achieving, low-income students of color are not being met. Using the concept of racial opportunity cost, we share the perspectives of five African American high achieving, low- income students as they explain the high premium they pay to achieve academic success. We utilized a qualitative, phenomenological research design to understand the lived experiences of the five participants. Data were collected through focus groups and individual semi-structured interviews. Through our findings, we provide an explanation of what it means to be labeled at-risk versus being placed at-risk.




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