Between a “ROC” and a School Place: The Role of Racial Opportunity Cost in the Educational Experiences of Academically Successful Students of Color Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2014, Copyright © American Educational Studies Association. Despite numerous reform efforts, schools have not achieved equitable academic outcomes for all students. To better identify where schools have failed, research has sought to understand the complex role the school environment plays in mediating academic success, particularly for students of color. In this article, we forward the concept of racial opportunity cost and then use it as a lens to encapsulate the price academically successful students of color pay in their pursuit of school success. Through individual and focus group interviews, 18 African American and Latina/o students revealed nuances of the costs their academic achievement brought in the racialized, White-normed spaces that often permeated their school cultures. The purpose of this article is to provide theoretical support for the racial opportunity cost concept using existing interdisciplinary scholarship and to describe the racial opportunity costs that emerged from our analysis of student interviews.

altmetric score

  • 5.4

author list (cited authors)

  • Chambers, T. V., Huggins, K. S., Locke, L. A., & Fowler, R. M.

citation count

  • 8

publication date

  • September 2014