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Educating Out and Giving Back: Adults’ Conceptions of Successful Outcomes of African American High School Students from Impoverished Rural Communities

Author(s): Farmer, T. W. | Dadisman, K. | Latendresse, S. J. | Thompson, J. | Irvin, M. J. | Zhang, L.

Journal: Journal of Research in Rural Education
ISSN 1551-0670

Volume: 21;
Issue: 10;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Keywords: rural education | rural schools and communities | African Americans

This study examined community adults’ conceptions of successful early adult outcomes for rural African American adolescents from 2 low-resource communities in the Deep South. Focus groups were conducted with parents, teachers, and community leaders. Parents also completed semistructured phone interviews. The focus groups identified 2 general types of successful outcomes. One type involved youth leaving their hometowns to attain their educations and establish careers and then reconnecting with the community (i.e., “giving back”). The 2nd type involved youth establishing themselves in the community as employed adults to support themselves and their families. Parents also described a variety of successful outcomes related to education, employment, living arrangements, and family and community involvement. Barriers to success included involvement with drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, and a lack of community-level supports (e.g., jobs, youth programs, extracurricular activities, educational opportunities).
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