Empowerment Starts Here

This site is dedicated to the professional and academic work of Dr. Angela Dye.

Publications & Research Interests

Recently Published

The Phenomenon of Student Powerlessness and Student Achievement:  An Instrumental Multi-case Study on the Practices of Three Teachers Identified as Successfully Serving Low-Income African American Students
ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database

This instrumental, multi-case study was designed to identify tactical strategies of activating and using student power to promote the achievement of low-income African American (LIAA) learners.  While student power is an implication of culturally relevant teaching, in its connection to critical pedagogy and its conception as a “pedagogy of opposition” (Ladson-Billings, 2001, p. 160), it does not have an operationalized treatment in the literature reviewed.  Based on tenets for effective teaching and learning in and beyond critical education, the Empowerment Framework (Dye, 2012), created by this study’s principal researcher, was used to operationalize student power.  It was then used to investigate the practices of three teachers (coincidently all White, all male, and all teaching at Christian schools) who were identified as successfully serving LIAA students.  In light of the critical tenets used for operationalization, it was presumed that a basic form of student power would be present in their practice; therefore, any strategies used to activate such power would be recommended for strengthening the tactical deployment of culturally relevant teaching.  Contrary to these expectations, the study found that no basic form of student power was located in their practice.  However, in light of the framework used, this study did find that 20% of the nuances required for the student power construct were present.  Based on the successful standing of its participating teachers, this study concludes that academic achievement is complex in nature and challenges multiples stakeholders of LIAA children and other marginalized learners to question the etymological construct of achievement-based rhetoric.


Empowerment Starts Here: Seven Principles for Empowering Urban Students
Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Co.

This book introduces the Empowerment Framework (pre-dissertation), unveiling the notion of empowerment based instruction and achievement.  This framework is presented in the backdrop of storytelling where the remarkable presence and accomplishments of students and staff made empowerment possible.   Preparatory School for Global Leadership (PSGL), which existed as a non-instrumentality charter school in Milwaukee, WI., was  the first school to embrace the framework in its totality, employing a nontraditional school day in order to actualize the tenets of empowerment.  Mainly having three instructional blocks, students spent each school day engaged in project based learning, service learning, and direct instruction, all while being exposed to a vibrant unwritten curriculum based on a steady stream of assessments, orientations, and behavior management.  Through real students such as Maurice, Diedra, and Lisa, and real teachers such as Ms. Guice and Ms. Vertal, the sweat equity and outcomes of student empowerment are revealed.

In Progress

The following titles represent articles that are being submitted to peer-reviewed, scholarly journals:

Student Power:  The Foundation for Student Learning

Collectively framing culturally relevant teaching (Ladson-Billings, 2009) and critical pedagogy (Freire, 1970; Giroux, 2013; Kincheloe, 2008) as critical education, very little has been done to operationalize the notion of student-power in which the practice is based.  In both, personhood, liberation and contextual relevance are cornerstones for learning and navigating sources of knowledge.  To achieve this end, students must have agency and the space to be co-conductors in their own educational experience.  While these key components of student-power are implicated in the literature, they are not specifically identified as practices of student-power.  Even when Ladson-Billings advocated for a pedagogy of opposition (2001), giving space for learners to validate themselves, access resources, and resist oppressive treatments, student-power, the agency needed to engage accordingly, is not conceptualized nor operationalized.  This article attempts to offer a basic construct for student-power in order to frame and present the nuances of rigorous teaching and learning in a way that highlights the essence of students’ agency and position in the learning process.  While it is believed that such framing will strengthen the practice of critical education, the construct of student-power has a broader reach.  Not only is student-power essential for liberation and empowerment, it is essential as a basic tenet for learning and achievement.  In short, student- power is the foundation to learning that transcends schooling mandates and truly builds the competencies and dispositions needed for 21st century living.

The Shiny Apple with a Rotten Core:  Exposing the Treatment of “Student Achievement” in Schools Serving Low-Income African American Learners

This article frames achievement celebrated by test scores, attendance, and behavioral compliance as the shiny apple and exposes the rotten core of student-powerlessness when these objectives alone are prioritized.   While the process will be shared in which this shiny apple/rotten core phenomenon was revealed, a construct for achievement is offered that better aligns with Ladson-Billings’s (2009) advocacy for the cognitive and psychosocial development of all learners, including those that are socio-politically and economically disadvantaged.  Finally, this article concludes with community based recommendations to address and eliminate toxic instructional pursuits in the name of achievement, particularly when schooling learners from marginalized communities.

The Empowerment Scorecard: A More Culturally Relevant Approach to Measuring Achievement

In other discussions, Dye (2014; In Progress), has offered a culturally relevant, yet concrete construct for achievement. Naming it as A-level achievement, contrasted against contemporary constructs, named as B-level achievement, she closed the door to any ambiguity on the political demands of schools, even when schooling socio-economically disadvantaged learners. However, offering this construct is not enough. Just as though it was short sided for Ladson-Billings to frame culturally relevant instruction without framing a concrete construct for culturally relevant achievement, thereby making it impossible for teachers to be seduced into banking style (Freire, 1970) or assimilationist style (Ladson-Billings, 2009) teaching, it would be short sided to present a construct of A-level achievement without offering a means in which it can be measured.  This article attempts to take on this challenge.


Research Interest

Dr. Dye is interested in enhancing the achievement of marginalized and under-represented learners.  To this end, her research and writings have centered on the development of the Empowerment Framework, an emerging theory that identifies ways (primarily instructional) to share classroom power that promote the cognitive and psycho-social development of the learner.  She has worked extensively to design instructional programs that promote specific principles of student empowerment: project based learning, performance assessments, direct instruction, data-based student engagement and management, and advising.  With the completion of her PhD, she is looking to partner with research institutions to explore the Empowerment Framework so that the pedagogy of student power can continue to grow as a notable and credible best practice!

One comment on “Publications & Research Interests

  1. Pingback: Education Next Poll Results, ECAA, and State Level Accountability | The Empowerment Network

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