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    AFRICAN-AMERICAN MALE STUDENT PERCEPTIONS ABOUT FACTORS RELATED TO WHY BLACK BOYS DROP OUT OF SECONDARY SCHOOL

    By

    ANNTWANIQUE DEVONNE EDWARDS

    A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT

    OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

    UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

    2012

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    2012 Anntwanique DeVonne Edwards

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    To my mother, Dr. Beverly Edwards, whose example, unconditional love and unmerited patience have pushed me to excel; my father, Jeffrey Edwards, whose fight with MS has taught me to live through every adversity; and all who supported my continual pursuit of

    education, desire for lifelong learning, leadership, and passion for helping future generations attain academic success. Your support made me persevere.

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    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

    I thank God for His leadership, direction and support. I thank my mother for her

    unyielding love, motivating words, and teaching me to omit the phrase I cant from my

    vocabulary. She taught me and my sisters that things may be difficult, but never

    impossible. I am forever grateful for knowing the difference because that lesson was

    definitely needed during this process.

    I am extremely appreciative of the mentoring and superb scholarship provided by

    my chairperson, Dr. Bernard Oliver and members of my supervisory committee, Dr.

    Linda Eldridge, Dr. Erica McCray, and Dr. Woodrow Max Parker. Without them, I

    could not have finished the last leg of this race. I appreciate them allowing me to

    experience a successful ending. I would be remiss to not thank other collegiate

    faculty/staff who were significant in supporting me throughout this process: Dr. Michael

    Bowie, Dr. James Doud, Dr. Diane-Archer Banks and Angela Rowe. Thanks for not

    giving up on me. Also, the knowledge offered through UF Libraries and graduate

    editorial office staff was unparalleled.

    I have a heart of gratitude for the listening ears of Anita Edwards, Sonya Savage,

    & Lorenzo Savage II who heard more about this process than anyone and responded

    with encouragement and suggestions, as well as sweets, exercise, and/or prayer to

    combat stress. The encouragement given by my family, friends, peer graduate

    students, fellow school administrators, co-workers, spiritual leaders, church family, and

    body of Christ will never be forgotten. Their generous support and assistance

    encouraged me to complete this journey. And of course, without the participants in this

    study, all else would be moot.

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    TABLE OF CONTENTS page

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 4

    LIST OF TABLES ............................................................................................................ 7

    LIST OF FIGURES .......................................................................................................... 9

    LIST OF OBJECTS ....................................................................................................... 10

    LIST OF TERMS ........................................................................................................... 11

    ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................... 13

    CHAPTER

    1 THE PERVASIVE ISSUE OF BLACK MALES DROPPING OUT OF SCHOOL ..... 15

    Accessing Student Voice to Understand Issues ..................................................... 17 State and District-Level Policy Influence ................................................................. 20 Problem Statement ................................................................................................. 23 Significance of the Study ........................................................................................ 25 Theoretical Framework ........................................................................................... 27

    2 LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................... 39

    Historical Implications for Schooling African-American Children ............................. 43 Continued History: Overrepresentation of Black Males in Special Education ........ 46 Poverty and Low Socio-Economic Status ............................................................... 48 Family Background and Parental Involvement ........................................................ 53 Teacher Expectations and Readiness .................................................................... 60 African-American Males Self-Identity ..................................................................... 67 Minority Students Attitude and Motivation Toward Academic Achievement ........... 71 Student Voice/Perceptions ...................................................................................... 76 Conclusion .............................................................................................................. 78

    3 METHODOLOGY ................................................................................................... 80

    Research Design .................................................................................................... 80 Sample/Setting ....................................................................................................... 81 Instrumentation Development ................................................................................. 84 Procedures ............................................................................................................. 85 Limitations of Study ................................................................................................ 87

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    4 RESULTS ............................................................................................................... 92

    The Voice of Our Black Boys .................................................................................. 92 Demographic Characteristics of Survey Participants .............................................. 92 Examining Relationships of Factors Related to Drop Out ....................................... 97

    The Viewpoint of Black Boys on Student-Teacher Relationships ................... 100 How Black Males View School Curriculum in Relation to Dropping Out ......... 103 How the Black Family is Related to Boys Dropping Out of School ................. 106 Personal Experiences of Black Males in Terms of Decisions to Drop Out ..... 109

    Regression Analysis ............................................................................................. 111 Open-Ended Survey Questions Summarized ....................................................... 113 Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 114

    5 DISCUSSION ....................................................................................................... 123

    Student Characteristics ......................................................................................... 123 School Experiences .............................................................................................. 125 Family Experiences .............................................................................................. 128 Personal Experiences ........................................................................................... 130 Changing the Apex: Deciding to Remain in School and Earn a Diploma .............. 131

    Implications for Research ............................................................................... 134 Implications for Practice ................................................................................. 136

    School Experiences (Teacher Leaders and School Guidance Programs) 137 Personal Experiences (Community Influence) ......................................... 138 Family Experiences (Parent Education and Communication) .................. 139

    APPENDIX

    A INFORMED CONSENT FOR PILOT PARTICIPANTS ......................................... 141

    B INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FOR PILOT PARTICIPANTS ..................................... 143

    C TRANSCRIPTION OF INTERVIEWS WITH PILOT PARTICIPANTS ................... 144

    D PERCEPTIONS HELD BY PILOT STUDY PARTICIPANTS ................................ 163

    E DESCRIPTIVE DATA REGARDING PILOT STUDY PARTICIPANTS ................. 175

    F SUMMARY OF RESULTS FROM PILOT STUDY INTERVIEWS ......................... 176

    G OPT-OUT FORM FOR SURVEY PARTICIPANTS ............................................... 181

    H SURVEY INSTRUMENT ....................................................................................... 183

    LIST OF REFERENCES ............................................................................................. 190

    BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................... 202

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    LIST OF TABLES

    Table page 3-1 Likert scales used in survey instrument .............................................................. 91

    4-1 Frequency of responses for age of participants (n=261) .................................. 115

    4-2 Frequency of responses for grade level of participants (n=261) ....................... 115

    4-3 Frequency of responses for self-reported unweighted grade point average of participants (n=261) ..............................................................................