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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 171446 Find in a Library
Title: Reconstructing "Drop-Out:" A Critical Ethnography of the Dynamics of Black Students' Disengagement From School
Author(s): G J S Dei; J Mazzuca; E McIsaac; J Zine
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 304
Sponsoring Agency: University of Toronto Press
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2W8, Canada
Publication Number: ISBN 0-8020-8060-X
Sale Source: University of Toronto Press
Marketing Manager
10 St. Mary Street
Suite 700
Toronto, Ontario M4Y 2W8,
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: Canada
Annotation: Based on a 3-year study of African-Canadian youth who dropped out of the Ontario public school system (Canada), this book examines how institutionalized structures and schooling processes lead to African-Canadian youths' dropping out of school.
Abstract: The study involved interviews with black school drop-outs, black students, black parents, non-black students, and school personnel. Among the main findings of the study is that dropping out is a developmental process influenced by a series of school and off-school experiences. Students finally drop out when they see no other viable course of action. The emphasis of this study is on school factors that lead to students' disengagement with the school culture: low teacher expectations, differential treatment of African-Canadian students, conflict with school authorities because they do not respect black students, and academic labeling that significantly narrows students' options and chances for the future. A major issue in the alienation of black students that eventually results in dropping out of school is that of racial identity. This issue occupies a large part of students' complaints about the curriculum content, which they say has no relevance to their lives. These and other findings suggest that black students face an educational dilemma. On the one hand, black students and their parents recognize the importance of finishing school for employment and social mobility; on the other hand, their interpretation of the curriculum content and treatment in terms of racial identity causes them to disengage from the system. The authors advise that public education should provide avenues for personal and academic growth as well as the potential for economic and social mobility. Where this is being denied to specific groups in society, educators, parents, community leaders, as well as students must look at the cause. Appended study instruments, 187 references, and author and subject indexes
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Foreign criminal justice research; Race relations; Racial discrimination; School dropouts
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