In the United States, a staggering four thousand students drop out every school day. Moreover, in 2016, the graduation rate in Oregon was only 74.8%, one of the lowest in the nation. Research shows that a disproportionate number of youth leaving school are from historically marginalized communities. Many of these youth resiliently return to education at alternative schools. This research sought to explore the educational experiences of youth in alternative schools in their own voices and perspectives. From a theoretical framework based in sociocultural theory, cultural capital, and critical theory, this study underscored the importance of youth voice in changing the education system by incorporating qualitative methods and YPAR (Youth Participatory Action Research). Working alongside seven youth co-researchers who attended an alternative school in Oregon, we interviewed eight other students at the same school about their educational experiences and perceptions of the education system. The youth co-researchers and I co-constructed four themes collectively: “I felt invisible to the teachers”; “Teaching is a sacred act”; “Regular high school is like drowning, it’s cruel”; and “Dropping out was [actually] a success.” We also compiled counternarratives in the words of the eight student participants, which highlighted how the school system pushed them out despite their desire to learn. Finally, we spoke truth to power, in solidarity with the youth in this study, by presenting our recommendations for educational change to teachers, including how they can co-create spaces with students that foster care and empathy, value youth voice, and are culturally sustaining and identity affirming.
|Commitee:||Aguilar-Valdez, Jean, Farahmandpur, Ramin, Johnson, Ethan|
|School:||Portland State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Oregon|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Pedagogy, Education Policy, Education, Secondary education|
|Keywords:||Alternative education, Co-researching, Institutional racism, Pushout, Youth participatory action research, Youth voice|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be