Race, Trust and Public Schooling: Examining the Nature of Urban Black Parent Trust in Public Schools
Kathryn Hill

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Teachers College, Columbia University

Primary Discipline

At a moment when New York is attempting to transform its education system through market mechanisms such as school choice and portfolio management and when many historically Black neighborhoods in the city are experiencing gentrification and demographic change, my dissertation project examines the nature of Black parent trust in public schools. It builds on the body of education research examining trust in schools and draws on the sociological and political science research that studies race and trust. My approach also teases apart how the nature of trust in local public schools might be different from the nature of trust in the institution of public schooling or faith in public education, as Black parents may expect different things from the local school and the school system. I explore the development of trust in schooling, by treating trusting as a dynamic process, shaped by past socialization and experiences, combined with current engagement with public schools. By examining how trust in public schools might develop uniquely for Black Americans, my study can contribute to treatments of trust in education research. Moreover, it can inform practice and policy—by giving educators a better understanding of what fosters trust between parents and schools in various contexts, and policymakers a better understanding of how demographic change and current education reforms are linked to public trust in public institutions.
About Kathryn Hill
Kathryn Hill is a PhD candidate in the Sociology and Education program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She also holds a BA in History and Literature from Harvard University and an MA in Sociology and Education from Teachers College. While in graduate school, Kathryn has served as a research assistant for the Center for Understanding Race and Education (CURE), the Ford Foundation’s Building Knowledge for Social Justice Program and the New Jersey Network of Superintendents Study. Kathryn worked as an educator in the Bronx, New York before going to graduate school, as both a 7th grade ELA teacher and a High School Academic Director for Citysquash, an afterschool enrichment program. Grounded in political sociology, her research focuses on the intersection of race, class and political and cultural orientations toward schooling.

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