The People of the Desert, Cultural Discontinuity, and the American Education System

Date of Award

Summer 5-29-2019

Document Type

Restricted Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Mark Jimenez, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Deborah Stone, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Patricia Easley, Ed.D.


This study examined the Tohono O’odham Native American students culture, self-identity and ethnicity, and the intersectionality of the American education system to determine if the cultural discontinuity significantly contributes to the low academic achievement in reading and mathematics. Additionally, this research explored the confluency between home and school dissonance, teacher effectiveness level, and teacher cultural competency level to determine the impact on the low student achievement scores on academic assessments in reading, and mathematics. Given that many schools operate based on middle-class Euro-American norms (Carter, 2005), it is important to understand how home-school dissonance impacts academic for Tohono O’odham students. The use of mixed methods for this study was a convergent parallel design. Qualitative findings suggested that while there are differences between student home and school worlds, the differences between the two does not trouble the students. Quantitative findings indicated that no significant relationship existed between the teachers’ scores on the SKR, CCSAQ, or the HDS, and standardized test data of their students (Ho: ρ = 0). The data analysis conducted failed to reject the null hypothesis. However, there was a significant correlation between teacher effectiveness (SKR) scores and cultural competency level of teachers.

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