Staying after School: At-Risk Students in a Compensatory Education Program

By Bram A. Hamovitch | Go to book overview

4 Staff Perceptions

Chapter 3 examined the conservative ideology of hope that acts as a focus for OSRP. The ideology helps the staff and students interpret and perform their roles within the program. This chapter reports that the staff comprehend their work in OSRP in a manner rooted in this conservative ideology, of hope. It explores the world of the staff as they interpret the program and its students. First, it examines staff views of the students themselves. The latter are perceived to be generally deficient in a number of ways: economically, emotionally, in terms of self-esteem, skill development, and so forth. Because of these problems, the students are seen as having three needs: authority, structure, and caring.

Second, the chapter explores the staffs interpretation of their own role within the program. Again, it is argued that their adherence to the program's conservative ideology of hope has repercussions for perception and action. The staff see some of their main roles as counseling students individually and in groups. Within these sessions, it is found that communications are carefully restricted: institutions are never questioned, and discussion of institutional barriers to upward mobility is silenced.

Last, the chapter examines the favorable view that the staff have of the program They feel that they make a difference in their students' lives. This is done by reinterpreting key concepts such as "work" and "decision making." The staff look hard for and find examples where they think they have made a difference.


OSRP STUDENTS ARE DEFICIENT

The main view that the staff have of the students is that they have identifiable and significant deficits. Some of these are seen as being generally shared by all the young people within both groups, while others are viewed as being unique to individuals. These perceived weaknesses encourage the staff to view the students as having various needs: a craving for authority and the necessity of structure and caring.

OSRP personnel understand that their students are economically disadvantaged This occurs as a matter of definition, since falling below the poverty line is a strict

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