School identification: How young African American males in an urban elementary school come to identify with school

Jesse Rawls, University of Pennsylvania


Currently African-American males are dropping out of school, being placed in special education classes or being suspended from school at alarming rates (Kunjufu, 1995; Noguera, 1997). African-American males' failure in school may be caused by their inability to identify with the schooling process (Steele, 1997). The process of not identifying with school may begin at a young age. If students are to engage in the schooling process then they must find some value in submitting to the educational expectations placed on them when they enter school. The concept of school engagement and the impact it will have on the students' ability to identify with school has been researched in adolescent African-American males (Kunjufu, 1995; Steele, 1997). School identification and school engagement could be classified as the value a vi student places on the educational process. Students who do not value education or show negative behaviors towards school would be classified as students who "disidentify" with education (Jackson, 1968; Kunjufu, 1995; Polite & Davis, 1999; Spencer & Markstrom-Adams, 1990; Steele, 1992). A recent study by Osborne (Osborne, 1999) showed that adolescent African American males "disidentify" with academics more than any other group of students. While the negative impacts of African American male school failure have been outlined by many researchers, what has not been documented in great lengths is the process by which young African American males begin to value school or identify with school (Davis, 2003). Students who value school are more apt to show signs of positive school behaviors, such as high attendance rates, academic achievement and low suspension rates (Osborne, 1997). The research conducted in the following study is an attempt to highlight the experiences of young African American male students in an urban elementary school. The research is also designed to draw attention to the classroom lives of young African American male students with in emphasis on discovering why these students begin to value education.

Subject Area

Elementary education|Black studies|Educational psychology|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Rawls, Jesse, "School identification: How young African American males in an urban elementary school come to identify with school" (2006). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3227715.