Schooling Students Placed at Risk: Research, Policy, and Practice in the Education of Poor and Minority Adolescents

Schooling Students Placed at Risk: Research, Policy, and Practice in the Education of Poor and Minority Adolescents

Schooling Students Placed at Risk: Research, Policy, and Practice in the Education of Poor and Minority Adolescents

Schooling Students Placed at Risk: Research, Policy, and Practice in the Education of Poor and Minority Adolescents

Synopsis

This book examines historical approaches and current research and practice related to the education of adolescents placed at risk of school failure as a result of social and economic conditions. One major goal is to expand the intellectual exchange among researchers, policymakers, practitioners, and concerned citizens on factors influencing the achievement of poor and minority youth, specifically students in middle and high schools. Another is to encourage increased dialogue about policies and practices that can make a difference in educational opportunities and outcomes for these students. Although the chapters in this volume are not exhaustive, they represent an array of theoretical and methodological approaches that provide readers with new and diverse ways to think about issues of educational equality and opportunity in the United States. A premise that runs through each chapter is that school success is possible for poor and minority adolescents if adequate support from the school, family, and community is available. *The conceptual approach (Section I) places the research and practice on students placed at risk in a historical context and sets the stage for an important reframing of current definitions, research, policies, and practices aimed at this population. *Multiple research methodologies (Sections II and III) allow for comparisons across racial and ethnic groups as well as within groups, and contribute to different and complementary insights. Section III, "Focus on African-American Students," specifically addresses gender and social class differences among African-American adolescents. *Current reform strategies presently being implemented in schools throughout the United States are presented and discussed (Part IV). These strategies or programs highlight how schools, families, and communities can apply research findings like the ones this book presents, thus bridging the often wide gap between social science research and educational practice.

Excerpt

Since the advent of mass schooling in the United States, some populations have been better served by this nation's educational system than others. Poor and minority students have been among those for whom the system has provided unequal inputs, and who have been plagued and stigmatized by unequal outcomes. Despite years of educational reforms designed to address these disparities, the United States is still faced with substantial numbers of poor and minority students who are being failed by this nation's schools. This failure is particularly evident at the secondary level. Between 1972 and 1996, students from low-income families were more likely to drop out of high school than were their counterparts from middle- and high-income families. Furthermore, in 1996, the high school dropout rates for AfricanAmerican, Latino and Native-American students were still higher than the dropout rate for their White peers. For poor and minority students who remain in school through high school graduation, their proficiency scores in mathematics, reading, and science continue to lag behind those of their White counterparts. Students who attend secondary schools with high poverty levels and high percentages of minority students also are more likely to be taught core academic subjects by teachers who did not major in these subjects than are students at more affluent schools with smaller minority populations.

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