When whiteness creeps back in: an analytic look at whiteness in urban education school reform

Cheryl E. Matias, Jeremy Rucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper presents an analysis of how education reform in Denver Public Schools (DPS) fails to reach its targeted goal of closing achievement gaps between white students and Students of Colour based on its investment in Whiteness. Using a theoretical framework grounded in critical whiteness studies, we trace a history in DPS that includes legal intervention on behalf of Students of Colour and analyse how modern day school choice, specialised programme assignments and hiring and promotion tactics reproduce historical inequities by granting privilege to white students and educators through its stated doctrine and policy. This privilege is evident through testing data showing DPS white students not only outperform white state peers, but as district policies targeted at closing racial gaps take hold, white students are actually benefiting the most. This paper asserts that until DPS is willing to examine how Whiteness is entrenched in all parts of the district it is destined to perpetuate racial inequities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-121
Number of pages19
JournalWhiteness and Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Whiteness
  • achievement
  • urban education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Demography


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