Texas Education & Social Entrepreneurship: Falling Short of Impact

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2021-05

Authors

Smith, Celesia

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Abstract

The United States has a significant issue with education equity– an issue that is especially pronounced in the state of Texas. With the racial wealth gap widening each year– and with it, the opportunity gap– the question remains as to how advocacy groups, policy changes, and social enterprises are addressing the growing racial and socioeconomic inequity. Although various studies seek to analyze the influence of policy and advocacy on education inequality exist, little research deep dives into the role that social enterprises play in closing the opportunity gap. This thesis 1) addresses the inequity issues that Texas specifically faces, 2) provide an overarching perspective on social entrepreneurship and the role of social enterprise, and 3) present three case studies on various types of social enterprises in Texas, each of which include a logic model and theory of change analysis to gauge the long-term, systemic impact each enterprise has on its beneficiary group. Using this theory of change and logic model framework, this thesis finds that most social enterprises fail to address the root-causes of inequity, choosing to use a reactionary as opposed to a preventative approach. Further, it asserts that stakeholders in the social sector must make an effort to shift their mindset to one of a systemic focus, as to address inequity issues at the root instead of at the surface. If this mindset shift does not occur, the opportunity gap will continue to persist.

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