Alternative education: Chicano students' stories

Currently, drop out rates and poor academic ratings are endemic in the Chicano community with only 64.1 percent of Hispanic young adults completing secondary schooling nationwide (Kau:fi:nan, Alt, & Chapman, 2001). In California, the Chicano student dropout rate is up to 50 percent in some cities versus the 35.9 percent nationally. This qualitative study provides the reasons why Chicano students, who are on the verge of dropping out, are transferred to an alternative education day school in a Southern California County. The researcher developed a descriptive analysis using Chicano students semester-long journal entries. The following categories and themes emerged from analyzing students' journals using qualitative methods. The first category was Raging against the School Machine with the following embedded themes: Physical Violence and a Combination of Things. The second category was Failing to Reach Academic Success with the following embedded themes: Forced Out and Born to Fail. The third category was Forming Alternative Lifestyles equates attending an Alternative School with the following embedded themes: Rebelling against the Dominant School Culture, Protecting Oneself, Having Fun, Thug Life, and Growing Up in the 'Hood. The fourth and last category was Acceptable Behaviors with the following themes: On Graduating, On Accruing Credits, On Familial Pressures, and On Liking School. This study should help administrators as well as educators understand what Chicano students go through in California's educational school systems.