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ERIC Number: EJ1065825
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: EISSN-2327-3607
"They Never Really Tried to Reach out to Us": Examining Identities and Confronting the Emotional Distance between Urban Youth and Urban Schools
McKnight, Andrew N.
Critical Questions in Education, v6 n2 p86-102 Sum 2015
This paper looks at the perspectives of 22 young adults concerning their upbringings and life experiences, experiences in inner city and suburban schools, after leaving school, and later in a privately funded urban GED preparation facility in a large southern city. Specifically it addresses the conceptions students have about school and their perspectives concerning their former public school teachers and the staff at the GED preparation facility. Some of the participants in the study left or were removed from public schools due to issues with attendance, discipline, or a desire on the part of the respective school's administration to, in their estimation, lower their liability concerning not meeting state testing standards. Others left because of community or family factors outside of school. All but one of the participants was African American and most indicated poverty as part of their backgrounds. The first part of this paper looks at what the interview data reveal about the participants identities and experiences, specifically looking at culture, race, gender and socioeconomics. The second part examines how the participants conceive of education and the acquisition of knowledge, and looks at issues of student alienation, the disconnect between community culture and that of the schools attended, and the perceived lack of care and irrelevance concerning institutionalized schooling. In an effort to point this research toward problem solving the paper concludes with a brief discussion of how the findings might positively inform teacher education. Also included in this document is a bibliography.
Academy for Educational Studies. 2419 Berkeley Street, Springfield, MO 65804. Tel: 417-299-1560; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High School Equivalency Programs; High Schools; Adult Education; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A