ERIC Number: ED316617
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989
Reference Count: N/A
Making Schools More Responsive to At-Risk Students. ERIC/CUE Digest No. 60.
Pallas, Aaron M.
Current approaches to educating at-risk students are the result of several shifts in thinking over the last 35 years, and a new way of defining at-risk students is needed to permit changes in school policy and practice to meet these students' needs. Cultural deprivation was originally considered the single cause of at-risk status. Subsequently, educational deprivation was considered the primary cause. Another cause was thought to be the failure of all social institutions charged by society with educating youth. The current definition of at-risk status is the probability that the student will fail academically. A new definition of at-risk status must incorporate all of the factors that put a student at-risk, including the influence of family and ommunity. Acknowledging the influence of home, school, and community highlights the need for comprehensive academic and non-academic program strategies that serve students throughout their school careers. The following factors are associated with exposure to inadequate educational experiences: (1) poverty; (2) race and ethnicity; (3) family composition; (4) mother's education; and (5) language background. The highest concentrations of at-risk students are in urban centers and rural areas; roughly 40 percent of the school-aged population can currently be considered at-risk and the number is certain to increase. The problem of restructuring schools to meet the needs of at-risk students is one of developing an environment, programs, and services that will provide appropriate educational experiences. Making schools more responsive to at-risk students will be difficult for the following reasons: (1) unique family backgrounds and school experiences of the students; (2) the responsibility of schools for a diverse array of educational goals; (3) society's need for highly skilled workers; (4) increased number of at-risk students; and (5) imprecise nature of education. A list of seven references is appended. (FMW)
Descriptors: Community Influence, Definitions, Educational Change, Educational Trends, Elementary Secondary Education, Family Influence, High Risk Students, Individual Characteristics, Literature Reviews, Predictor Variables, School Demography, Student Needs
ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, Teachers College, Box 40, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Urban Education, New York, NY.