American University
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posted on 2023-09-07, 05:13 authored by Desmond RuddDesmond Rudd

Racism has plagued the soil and bloodlines of many generations, creating a divide in the economic, healthcare, housing, and education sector. Given America’s systems, structures, and governance practices, decisions regarding education are decided by those who hold power. They control who receives access to certain learning opportunities; what type and styles of learning should be distributed to children; and how teachers should disseminate information to their constituents. Systems and governance practices continue to diminish family voice, especially Black and Brown families who suffer at the margins. The call for antiracist family engagement practices to overwhelm our education system is now. What are ways in which schools are being responsive to families? In what ways are schools creating an inclusive, antiracist space for families? How are schools making decisions that leverage the voice of families, especially those who identify as Black/ Indigenous/ People of Color? The Office of the Student Advocate's ultimate mission is to advocate for and protect the rights of students and families across the District of Columbia. In this study, we explore these questions: • How can Community Schools leverage data in a way that centers family voice as a tool for increasing inclusive and antiracist family engagement practices? • What additional support can State Education Agencies provide to support intentional antiracist family engagement within schools? • How can the Office of the Student Advocate leverage its positionality to advocate and support the needs of antiracist family engagement practices that improve relations, connectivity, and partnership between local and state education agencies? Using the grounded theory methodological approach, the problem of practice examines the use of family voice in K12 community schools. An antiracist meeting protocol (ie. the intervention) was designed to assist in increasing family voice and shifting power. Using grounded theory and the antiracist meeting protocol, a new discovery of an Antiracist Family Engagement Practice Framework (AFEP) was birthed. This body of work is an act of rebellion towards structure and hierarchy in pursuit of liberation for Black and Brown people. These findings suggest that families in DC are disconnected; state education agencies need to provide intentional support, professional development, and city trends and insights to local education agencies; and provide a strong argument for why local education agencies should consider the use of an antiracist meeting protocol embedded with aspects of critical race theory, grounded theory, and liberatory design that allows for families and other participants to be valued, supported, and connected in schools. It also provides hope in improving the partnerships between families, schools, and school community partners through open and honest dialogue centering on family voice.



American University


Degree Awarded: D.Ed. School of Education. American University


Degree grantor

American University. School of Education

Degree level

  • Doctoral

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