These Kids: Identity, Agency, And Social Justice At A Last Chance High School

Paperback | May 7, 2013

byKysa Nygreen

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Few would deny that getting ahead is a legitimate goal of learning, but the phrase implies a cruel hierarchy: a student does not simply get ahead, but gets ahead of others. In These Kids, Kysa Nygreen turns a critical eye on this paradox. Offering the voices and viewpoints of students at a “last chance” high school in California, she tells the story of students who have, in fact, been left behind.
 
Detailing a youth-led participatory action research project that she coordinated, Nygreen uncovers deep barriers to educational success that are embedded within educational discourse itself. Struggling students internalize descriptions of themselves as “at risk,” “low achieving,” or “troubled”—and by adopting the very language of educators, they also adopt its constraints and presumption of failure. Showing how current educational discourse does not, ultimately, provide an adequate vision of change for students at the bottom of the educational hierarchy, she levies a powerful argument that social justice in education is impossible today precisely because of how we talk about it.

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Few would deny that getting ahead is a legitimate goal of learning, but the phrase implies a cruel hierarchy: a student does not simply get ahead, but gets ahead of others. In These Kids, Kysa Nygreen turns a critical eye on this paradox. Offering the voices and viewpoints of students at a “last chance” high school in California, she t...

Kysa Nygreen is assistant professor in the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.6 inPublished:May 7, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022603156X

ISBN - 13:9780226031569

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Paradox of Getting Ahead

Part I  Social and Historical Contexts
1 Situating Jackson High: Last Chance High Schools and the Discourse of These Kids
2 Being Professional: Figured Worlds and the Construction of Self

Part II  Theorizing Identity and Agency
3 People Have the Power: Critical Consciousness and Political Identity in PARTY
4 From Theory to Practice: Teacher Identity, Agency, and Reproduction at Jackson High

Part III Dilemmas of Social Justice at the Last Chance High School
5 Paradigms of Educational Justice: Contested Curricular Goals in the Social Justice Class
6 Social Justice for “These Kids”

Appendix: Last Chance Literature Review Coding Methods
Notes
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

“Nygreen has written a theoretically and methodologically sound model of action research that tackles issues facing the education of students attending an alternative (read “last chance”) high school in California in this highly engaging book. She smartly debunks the notion that the students themselves are ‘the problem’ that educators and politicians are so determined to ‘fix.’ Highly recommended.”