Community Forces and Academic Disengagement: A Summary of Findings
We started this book by stating the three objectives of our study. One was to discover the factors that contributed to the low school performance of Black students in the Shaker Heights school district. The second was to examine one of these factors, their academic disengagement. Finally, we hoped to bring community forces into the present discourse, policy, and practice in Black education. Our framework for the study was the cultural—ecological theory of schooling, which posits that minorities' school engagement and performance would be influenced by two sets of actors: (a) societal and school factors, and (b) community factors. The societal and school factors (the system) are the treatments of Blacks by Whites in society and in education, and the community factors are people interpretations of and responses to schooling (community forces) because of the way they interpret and respond to the societal and school treatments as well as their mode of incorporation into minority status. We did not downplay the role of societal and school mistreatment of Blacks in Shaker Heights, but we focused on the role of community forces; that is, we concentrated on the educational beliefs or interpretations and behaviors of Blacks, especially those of the students. Specifically, we examined how the following features of the community forces affected the academic engagement and school performance of the students: frame of school or educational comparison; beliefs about the instrumental value of school credentials; relationship with White people and the schools they controlled; symbolic beliefs about or interpretations of cultural, language, and intellectual differences; and educational strategies or how Blacks strived to acquire formal education.
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Publication information: Book title: Black American Students in an Affluent Suburb: A Study of Academic Disengagement. Contributors: John U. Ogbu - Author. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ. Publication year: 2003. Page number: 250.
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