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

By Bram A. Hamovitch | Go to book overview

class-based or racially based critiques because these are thought of by the staff as being negative. OSRP staff express their ideological support for existing social institutions like schools and the economic system, despite obvious problems that their students are having in relation to these. As such, the program itself may be seen as attempting to stifle any latent class-based and racially based societal critiques, replacing them with the conservative ideology of hope.

It is important to reemphasize that the program's main goal is to integrate these young people within schools so that they increase their performance there. Yet, the program does not address (or allow the students to address) any of the concerns that they and their parents have expressed above. Instead, the staff rest within the safe boundaries of the conservative ideology of hope. Given the failure of OSRP to make headway on its central goal of integrating at-risk students into their schools (chapter 2), it seems clear that institutional critiques like the ones raised above by the students and their parents will not easily be replaced with this ideology. Experiences of perceived injustice are hard to explain within a conservative ideology that promises upward mobility. The program might be successful in encouraging students and their parents to mouth its official ideology, but this does not supplant their experiences within social institutions like schools and the economy. Hence, the staff and students/parents talk past each other, communicating their different experiences. This is predictably associated with deadlock and an inability to achieve program goals.


NOTES
1.
River City Senior High School is informally referred to as "High School" within the community. Highland is referred to by its name. Perhaps this reflects the fact that for years, the former was the only high school in the community.
2.
I cannot identify these speakers by name because this interview was transcribed from an audio recording of a group of students.

-103-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • 1- Introduction: At-Risk Students, Schools and Compensatory Education Programs 1
  • Notes 13
  • 2- Osrp: Opportunity or Failure? 15
  • Notes 32
  • 3- A Conservative Ideology of Hope 35
  • 4- Staff Perceptions 53
  • Note 68
  • 5- Contradictory Relationships With Parents 69
  • Note 85
  • 6- Mixed Perceptions of the Schools 87
  • Notes 103
  • 7- Another Lost Opportunity 105
  • Appendix: Methods 123
  • References 127
  • Index 133
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