ERIC Number: ED313181
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Mar-29
Reference Count: N/A
An Ethnographic Study of Low Participation Rates in Higher Education in Southcentral Pennsylvania.
Caldwell, Corrinne A.; Trainer, James F.
This paper examines factors in the very low college participation rate in certain south-central Pennsylvania counties, in order to develop strategies for increasing participation. The paper examines college participation through a series of interviews with elementary school students, recent high school graduates not attending college, school and community leaders, and college students from the area. The dominant socializing influences of family, school, and community formed the basis for analysis of the data. Interviews showed many lower-class parents took a laissez-faire attitude toward education and career choices, leaving responsibility with young teenagers, while middle-class parents insisted that children plan for high educational and career objectives. Schools reinforced this influence, channeling students into vocational or college preparatory courses in ninth grade. Respondents also saw counseling as reinforcing class values in college decisions. For many, obtaining a college education represented a potential threat to remaining in the area, although the possibility of outmigration could provide motivation for some working class students. Ironically, life is just good enough for many lower-class subjects in this study to produce comfort and self-satisfaction, rather than motivation to strive beyond their parents' class and educational status. This paper contains 23 references. (DHP)
Descriptors: Academic Aspiration, Access to Education, College Bound Students, College Preparation, Community Influence, Educational Research, Elementary Secondary Education, Ethnography, Family Influence, Higher Education, Interviews, Rural Areas, Social Class, Socioeconomic Influences, Track System (Education)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Gannett Foundation, Rochester, NY.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania