Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

David Brown, EdD

Second Supervisor

Katrina Allen-White, EdD


The purpose of this qualitative descriptive phenomenological study was to investigate if and how the teacher certification and licensure process influenced the Black public school teacher participants, who were teaching in New York State schools, and how they perceived and experienced the certification and licensure exam process.

Through the lens of critical race theory, this study examined 12 Black teacher participants’ lived experiences and perspectives regarding if and how the teacher certification process influences New York State schools’ teacher racial diversity gap. Following descriptive analysis steps, three essential themes emerged: (a) minimal information on how to become a teacher, (b) standardized tests, and (c) my Black experience. The findings highlighted the lack of diversity within the teaching profession as well as the obstacles faced by Black learners and teachers on state exams. Given the lack of resources, accessibility issues, and the underrepresentation of Black and brown teachers in the classroom, academic progress is hindered, and Black students are discouraged from pursuing careers in education. This study recommends policy and certification examination modifications to create a more equitable educational system and teacher education and support programs to be developed for all students—particularly those from underrepresented groups.

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