Beyond SES and education inequity : a phenomenological multiple case study on grade school children and their mental and emotional disposition, cognitive development, and academic performance due to socioeconomic status.


In 1968, Paul Freire brought to the world, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. The way he categorized “the haves and have nots” still resonates with the wealth disparity in the United States. The need to create a level of equity in education by providing equal access was fundamental in his philosophy (Freire, 1968). Similarly, Freire’s fundamental philosophy informs this research study today. This phenomenological multiple case study’s central focus was to bring about a profound perspective of education disparity in a specific way. Divisions of wealth create educational inequity (Sirin, 2005). The distinction in socioeconomic status (SES) creates wealth, education, opportunity gaps, and creates additional social categorizations (Crenshaw et al., 1995). Education inequity is most often present in poverty-stricken and urban areas (Pollard, 2018). The most significant distinctions of education disparities appear between students from differing economic statuses and access (American Psychology Association, 2016). Behind socioeconomic status and education disparity are the victims, the children impacted by this social issue. This study’s primary purpose is to provide a platform for parents and children to share their perspectives and their feelings about their daily lived educational experiences and how these experiences impact them. The implications of education disparity on students requires more in-depth discussion, which involves a holistic view of “the whole child.” Further, the study focused on how the student’s socioeconomic status informs their educational experience and impacts their students’ mental and emotional disposition, cognitive development, and academic performance. This study’s research methodology measured the presence and volume of impact on students through the lens of Critical Race Theory (Crenshaw et al., 1995). This phenomenological multiple case study took the researcher on a journey of three parents with students in the same grade yet differing socioeconomic statuses and school experiences within the Charlotte Mecklenburg School District. The three parents spoke on behalf of their children and share the essence of their children’s lived experiences through surveys and semi-structured interviews. This study focused on how the participants’ educational experiences impact them in four ways: (a) mental disposition, (b) emotional disposition, (c) cognitive development, and (d) academic performance.



Education. Education inequity. Socioeconomic status. Education disparity. Third graders. Charlotte Mecklenburg School District. Emotional impact. Academic experience. School experience. Educational experience. Academic performance. Cognitive development. Emotional status. Mental disposition. End of year testing. Testing. K-12. Access.