About This Project
Youth of color are at the front lines of racial and ethnic integration reform, as they're traditionally bused into predominantly White suburban community schools. Thus, it's important to explore how peer culture and academics interact in youth’s everyday lives during local implementations. To do so, we interviewed 74 youth, 13-18, in a Northeastern school system currently implementing a court-mandated integration that includes two programs - suburban community schools and urban magnet schools.
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What is the context of this research?
In 2013 we interviewed Maria, 14, who is Puerto Rican. Her community is 83% Black and Latino and 46% below the poverty line. In 1st grade, she enrolled in a racial and ethnic integration program in a suburb that is 94% White and 3% below the poverty line. She recalled, “A girl thought it’d be funny for her friends to throw me off the monkey bars. ‘She’s from that neighborhood. She’s a thug'...kicked me in the stomach. Then a girl [from my neighborhood] came, but they called her a rat face. I was like, ‘Why’d I keep going to this school?’” This local reform began in the late 1990s and aims to increase the access Black and Latino youth have to quality education through suburban schools and urban magnet schools. Thus, we returned last summer to interview teens about their school realities.
What is the significance of this project?
School peer culture is a powerful force in youth’s everyday lives. Youth collectively interpret the world around them and produce their own cultural practices. This occurs within systems of inequality that promote peer exclusion, especially within racial and ethnic integration programs. There is a significant and strong relationship between peers and academic well-being. For instance, having school friends increases GPAs and reduces dropout rates. The exploration of academics and peer culture within racial and ethnic integration reform is primarily outcome driven. Thus, more qualitative research that investigates how young people make meaning of these experiences is needed.
What are the goals of the project?
This local educational reform involves two programs:
- busing youth of color into predominantly White intra-district suburban community schools.
- busing White youth and youth of color into inter-district urban magnet schools, which are legally mandated to keep a 50% in-town to 50% out-of-town ratio.
Thus, we aim to examine how peer culture differs in these parallel programs and how bused students integrate into their schools and neighborhoods’ peer cultures.
Ultimately, this project aims to increase educators’ abilities to develop racial and ethnic integration programs that take peer culture and young people’s experiences into account.
We are asking for funding to sponsor three undergraduate-student researchers who will transcribe interviews, manage contextualizing data, and analyze interviews during the summer of 2016 (8 weeks). Each student needs $320 for housing, $560 for dining and $346.66 for travel, ultimately $1,226.66 per student.
Meet the Team
Each scholar strengthens this project. Responding to youth’s experiences, sociologist Ana Campos-Holland, PhD, designed this study and is the Principal Investigator. Dana Wright, EdD, whose expertise is education and situated learning, is the Co-Principal Investigator and will support data analysis and recommendations. Student researchers Grace Hall, Luis Ramos, and Nathaly Del Real have contributed to research design, data collection, and transcription. Together, we will finalize this project.
Ana Campos-Holland, PhD
Ever since I became a sociologist, I have prioritized qualitative research methodologies that capture the complexities of social life in context.
Within the sociology of childhood/adolescence, I use youth-centered qualitative methodologies to create platforms for children and adolescents’ voices to be heard. Specifically, I aim to develop a deeper understanding of youth peer culture in the context of social inequality.
Moreover, I practice a teaching-meets-research pedagogical approach, maintaining an active research agenda that incorporates undergraduate-student researchers from research design to publication.
Dana E. Wright, EdD
My research and teaching interests include curriculum theory and design, sociocultural theories of learning and participatory action research (PAR) with young people.
With support from the William T. Grant Foundation and the Health Disparities Research LRP award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), I have studied classroom-based PAR projects with students as an approach to teaching and learning in four public high schools.
My recent publications examine participatory pedagogy and curriculum, literacy and academic identity development, and student participation in collaborative, inquiry-based learning projects in urban schools. I have provided curriculum development, capacity building and organizational development support to nonprofit organizations, foundations and to public school districts.
My educational path has been directed by my passion for equity. As a sociology major, economics minor and a selected scholar in the Community Action and Public Policy certificate program, I have critically examined systemic inequality, specifically with regards to families, youth, and education.
Since joining the research team in summer 2015, I have assisted with research design, interviewing youth, data management and analysis, and writing.
I have focused on the impact education policy has on the lived experiences of youth, with hopes that our work will allow their voices to be heard and be justly considered by social policy makers.
Currently, I am writing an honors thesis from this data about the impact of racial/ethnic school 'choice' programs on youth's friendships.
With your sponsorship, I will be able to continue my work during the summer of 2016.
Luis Enrique Ramos
As an undergraduate student fulfilling a B.A. in architectural studies and sociology, combined with a certificate in Program in Community Action (PICA), I have exclusively focused my studies around my passion for children's personhood, civil rights and social action, and education and social services, especially through this research opportunity.
Since joining the team in fall 2013, I have primarily assisted with finalizing data management, data entry and data preparation. Listening to the interviews that were conducted during the summer of 2013 inspired me to explore the different lived experiences each participant shared and I aim to contextualize their perception regarding the multiple aspects of inequality that they experience on a daily basis.
Considering the fact that I wanted to examine educational policies and their effects on youth, I decided to focus my Senior Integrative Project and PICA project on youth's perception of the racial/ethnic school 'choice' programs currently enforced in their hometown.
With your support and sponsorship, not only would you be aiding my learning, but also advocating for the right to let youth have a platform to voice their opinions regarding very critical and integral issues in our society. Thanks!
Nathaly Del Real
As a sociology and hispanic studies double major, I am exploring the multiple facets of inequality within our society concerning gender, race, ethnicity, and education.
Many youth of color that come from working-class families do not receive the same quality of education as their white/Caucasian-middle-class peers. There is an achievement gap that creates a divide between these two groups, and puts the youth of color at risk of lower academic achievement.
I have recently joined the team in spring 2016, and have begun assisting in transcribing interviews. With your support, I intend to continue working in this research process and to contribute helping youth express their views and thoughts about their educational experience.
Moreover, I am specifically passionate about helping first-generation students pursue higher education and to receive equitable rights.
Nothing posted yet.
Campos-Holland, A., Dinsmore, B., & Kelekay, J. (2016). Virtual tours: Enhancing qualitative methodology to holistically capture youth peer cultures. In New Media Cultures (ed. Robinson, R., Schulz, J., Cotten, S., Hale, T., Williams, A. & Hightower, J), 11, pp. 225-260, Studies in Media and Communications. Emerald Group Publishing Limited. ISSN: 2050-2060, DOI:10.1108/S2050-206020160000011020
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