Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Academic Program

Social Work BSW


Social Work

First Advisor

Julie Reid, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Anthropology and Sociology


This thesis explores Mississippi K-12 public education in terms of inequality and critical pedagogy with a focus on historical factors, state testing, and personal accounts of current teachers. The research is based on ten in-depth interviews with current schoolteachers regarding their perspectives on education and personal experiences and draws from previous scholarship, notably bell hook’s concept of engaged pedagogy. Critical pedagogy offers a model for transformative education for resisting social inequity and promoting democracy and citizenship, but teacher interviews suggest that the structure and culture of classrooms are contradictory to adopting critical pedagogy. Specifically, the research finds that both standardized testing and attempts to stay apolitical in the classroom are oppositional to fostering critical engagement and awareness about social realities.