The Motivators that Contribute to the Migration of African American Educators from Suburban School Districts to Urban School Districts



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The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the perceived motivators contributing African American educators' decision to migrate from a suburban school district to an urban school district. The case study approach was used in an effort to capture the participants' voices and the motivators contributing to their decision to migrate to an urban school district after working as an educator in a suburban school district.

The findings from this study will contribute to the existing body of literature by providing national policy makers, state policy makers, local school leaders and school district personnel information to create national, state, and local policy initiatives regarding African American educator personnel. The seven informants in this study were members of a large metropolitan area in the state of Texas and the suburban school districts bordering that metropolitan area.

Since the enactment of the federal No Child Left Behind Act (2001), the achievement gap has been discussed and studied. However, few studies have investigated African American educator migration from suburban school districts to urban school districts and the strategies used by African American educators to close the achievement gap for African American students who attend those suburban schools left void of African American educators. The interpretational analysis process selected was based on Glaser and Strauss' constant comparative approach to analysis. The constant comparative data analysis generated five major themes of the motivators contributing to African American educator migration: (1) educators migrated to become social change agents, (2) educators migrated for growth opportunities, (3) educators migrated for financial increases, (4) educators migrated due to workplace relationships, and (5) educators migrated due to their perceptions and experiences in their suburban school district.

My findings, based on the context of these seven African American educators, suggest that while the school district as an institution is not responsible or accountable for the African American educators migration, it can provide systems of support and initiatives for African America educators to assist them in overcoming the motivators inside of the school walls that contribute to their decision to leave.