Stories from the heart: Youth narratives on alternative schooling experiences
AuthorLopez, Maria A.
KeywordsEducation, Bilingual and Multicultural.
Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies.
AdvisorMcCarty, Teresa L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractIf you had a choice to be in an environment that ignored you and made you feel insecure and inferior, or one that affirmed your individuality, your identity, and made you feel welcome, which one would you choose? This study is about such decisions. "Stories from the Heart: Youth Narratives on Alternative Schooling Experiences" seeks to understand the social and educational conditions that lead growing numbers of "minoritized" youth to enter alternative education settings. The term minoritized refers to youth who have been disenfranchised educationally by the systemic interactions of socio-economic, socio-political, and linguistic forces that structure their everyday experiences; however, they are not necessarily minority in a numerical sense. It is my premise that these structures of feeling frame how these youth experience living in a modern world with competing interests and how they negotiate multiple subjectivities and identities. Increasing concerns about standards, safety, and accountability in American public education have given rise to a growing number of alternative school settings. Students arrive at these schools largely due to culminating negative experiences. The reasons range from school failure due to academic and/or behavior problems, poor home-school communication, excessive truancy, social alienation and juvenile delinquency to those motivated students who are working full-time to accomplish life goals in the fastest way possible. At many of these alternative schools, Hispanic/Latino and other minoritized students comprise a majority of the student body. As a teacher in the alternative-charter school where this research took place, the qualitative methods utilized revealed some surprising results. Although the data confirmed some prior findings in research on alternative schools, the results of this study bring forth new understandings of and possibilities for the education of disengaged youth. This study confirms that minoritized students enrolling in alternative education settings have a historical and enduring dissatisfaction with traditional public schools. And yet, provided with a more positive schooling experience, minoritized youth express genuine excitement for learning and even came to view school as a congenial environment. They profess learning more "than in any other school" in both academic lessons and the moral education of enhanced life skills. Grounded in Critical Theory and understanding of a caring approach to schooling, this study espouses the need for "love" in schooling as a pathway for positive educational change and revolutionary social transformation.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture