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In pursuit of opportunity: alternative education pathways for dropped-out students in Worcester, MA

Description

The intention of this research is to bring us to Worcester, Massachusetts, New England's second largest city, to critically investigate the punitive patterns that exist in the "second chance" opportunity

The intention of this research is to bring us to Worcester, Massachusetts, New England's second largest city, to critically investigate the punitive patterns that exist in the "second chance" opportunity structure experienced by young people who have been dropped-out of schools. The conceptual framework I've constructed pulls from developed theories on the relationship between structural processes, institutional practices and lived experiences of marginalization. There is a need to understand how the process of school leaving, the label of "dropout," and the pursuit of second-chance opportunity are connected and exercise forms of punishment that have clear messages about the worth of these young men's aspirations and the value in fostering support for their opportunities. This critical ethnography introduces the narratives of four young men, marginalized by race and class, whose pursuits of alternative education pathways in Worcester, MA lead them towards constructing an inclusive opportunity on one's own terms. My assertion here is that the social issue is not exclusively about "dropouts," but about the relationships our schools, neighborhoods and society at large have on creating the enabling conditions of opportunity for our most marginalized students.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Stayed in school or dropped out: negotiation of organizational structure and supports

Description

ABSTRACT High numbers of dropouts can be found throughout the country, but research has shown the problem to be most prevalent in minority communities. Although the majority of dropouts were

ABSTRACT High numbers of dropouts can be found throughout the country, but research has shown the problem to be most prevalent in minority communities. Although the majority of dropouts were Anglo, the highest event dropout rates were found among American Indians, Hispanics and African Americans. This descriptive study investigated how students negotiate school structure, social supports, and cultural identity to gain an insider or "emic" perspective on youth decision-making regarding whether to drop out or remain in school. Research was conducted in a suburban school district with a high school population of over 10,000 students in grades 9 through 12. Student selection was based on criteria developed through an analysis of district data of students that had dropped out of school over a three-year period from the 2006-2007 to 2008-2009 school years. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven participants of high school age. These participants were placed in one of three sample groups that fit the dropout profile. These groups were (1) students currently attending high school, (2) students who dropped out prior to completing graduation requirements, and (3) students who had graduated. The findings in this study will benefit the educational community as it relates to K-12 education and students leaving school (dropping out). Educators and administrators will be able to evaluate the findings of the study to review current practices and policies within their organization. The data will also give administrators the opportunity to develop and implement programs that can assist students in staying in school.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2012