About the Research

My Sponsors:

What’s research without a sponsor? I’m currently an undergraduate student in Sociology at the University of South Dakota. My beloved university provides a 10-week  Summer research program called U.Discover (the Honors students tell me it’s competitive, so I guess I got lucky!). The U.Discover committee does their thing and picks 10 students to work on their personal research with a faculty mentor and hands out a $3,000 stipend to boot! My faculty mentor is Dr. Lucy Dai in the Sociology department here at USD.

So, check out my school. I love it here. I call it Harvard in a Corn Field. Is that cliché or what?

Research questions, simply put:

Is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. just a hood figga? Are schools named for him the worst ones in the neighborhood? Has the honor of having a school named in his memory really more of a token gesture that has furthered bias and segregation? If so, are we moving past it?

My theory

I believe that schools named for MLK most recently will have the best academic performance. Essentially, the longer the school has been named for MLK, the more likely it is to be low-performing. I believe this is an indication of the change of the mindset of the population towards MLK. He’s moving from being a Black hero to being an American hero.  I probably can’t prove all that during 10 weeks, so the current goal is really just to see where these schools are at performance-wise and see if any trends pop up.

Now What?

With limited time and a summer start, I expect to gather the data on public schools named for MLK and a few schools surrounding each MLK school for performance comparison using No Child Left Behind data from state level testing.  While this blog will probably involve many posts of the obstacles of undergraduate research and frustrations of trying to get school staff on the phone during the summer, I do hope to provide details of the process of research as well as cool stuff I find along the way that is relevant to the topic, but perhaps not in the scope of my current research.

Since I Lack a Filter:

I’ll be keeping things real here on the blog. So, for the record, USD may support my research efforts, but they surely don’t support my opinions. If you read something you don’t like, don’t take it out on USD or the Regents; they probably haven’t even read it. 🙂

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