14 SES 06 B, School-Related Transitions Within a Life Course Perspective IV
Education has become increasingly important for young people trying to establish a place in society. To complete school, and not drop out, has become one of the conditions to sucseed in Norway as well as in the rest of the western world. In Norway there are very few private schools and special school, inclusion is an important principle to ensure that all children will develope and learn throughout their 10 years of obligatory schooling. Nevertheless, 30 % of youth at the age of 25 have still not completed their vocational training or schooling. Despite efforts form the school authorities and the schools, this number has been quite stable over the last ten years.
The topic of drop-out has been researched by many over the years. In Norway most of the research has been quantitative, and has uncovered several riskfactors, like the pupils grades, their families sosio-economic backgrund, sex and ethnicity. The differnces between the students when they enter the Norwegian school system increases during their obligatory schooling (Markussen 2014, Markussen, Frøseth & Sandberg 2011; Falch & Nyhus 2011).
Rumberger (2011) suggests that we can understand ”drop-out” from either an individual or an institutional perspective. However, this is challenged by Fine (1991) and Brown & Rodriguez (2009) who have argued that one shouldn´t look at either the individual or the institutional reasons for drop-out, but rather the meeting between these two, the invividual and the institutional. Looking at drop-out from this perspective will for instance underline the ”push-out” factors or other mechanisms that students experience as reasons for drop-out as for example the silencing of the students voices in meeting with the institution.
By not completing school, these youths are in danger of being marginalized and then socially excluded. The risk of marginalization could be explained by youth not finding their place in education or failing to meet the school's requirements (Nordli Hansen 1986). Parenting practices and social home environment do to various degrees motivate youth to take education seriously. According to Bourdon (1974) educational choices constitute traditionalist action that is passed between generations. A cultural class differences means that youth from the working class for the first are little interested in education, and that for the second, if they take education - prefer shorter educations faster rewarding in terms of money in your wallet. One consequence could be that youth from the working class more easily choose vocational education than youth from the middle class. Social differences may also be explained by the fact that middle class youth achieve better grades, and easily adapt to the school system compared to students from lower social classes. These school institutions do not speak the same language with values as is familiar with the lower social strata.
Our article looks at the stories and explanations of seven youths that all have dropped out from school in Norway. They are all in the catagories that research shows increases the risk of drop-out, that is low socio-economic background and low grades from schools. At the time of the interview they were all 21 years old or younger, had started sixth form college at 16, but left before completion.
The question we ask ourselves is:
How do the youths explain what led up to dropping out of school?
The research questions are as follows:
What reasons do the youths give for leaving school before completion?
How do their life stories mirror their drop-out story?
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