14 SES 09 A, Aspirations and Success of Young People in Rural and Urban Areas
A trend that school is required to extend its role of nurturing students has been discussed globally. (Cummings & Dyson, 2007; Dyson, 2008; Dyson & Jones, 2014; Raffo, Dyson, Gunter, Hall, Jones, & Kalambouka, 2009). With various issues complicated the component of family, more students are prone to malfunctioned parenting, resulting in their disadvantage for schooling academically and economically. Moreover, the intricate relationship between school and its location was reviewed to reveal student and parents’ school choices and school’s reaction such as Broccolichi & Zanten (2000)’s case study in Paris. Different from their previous focus on parental school choices at the junior high school level, this study sees cases of high school as an agent to implement programs targeting on the disadvantaged students.
After the Coleman Report released in 1966, more attention have been paid worldwide to the ways to enhance the education of disadvantaged students due to their insufficiency caused by individual, family and the social structural factors. With Special Education Act promulgated in 1984, Taiwan began to implement theeducational priority areas project on 1995, “Big hands in small handst”in 2005 and then the remedial programs nowadays. These efforts aimed to systematically implement in different areas to reduce the influence of disadvantaged factors. Needless to say, the Taiwanese government agencies and non-governmental organizations were involved in educational activities for helping the disadvantaged in the past decades, such as the near-poor household subsidies, all kinds of scholarship to reward excellent students in impoverished family. This reveals all the make-up efforts to follow the positive discrimination for these students with special needs. Yet this kind of top-down interventions to all schools is problematic since there is no one-size-fits-all solution, given the fact that schools vary in size, student component, culture, and even the community nearby.
The high school of the periphery in this study are those high schools which locate in the outskirts of big cities like Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung in Taiwan. Faced with pupil flight to more prestigious public or even private high/vocational schools, the high school of periphery tends to enroll a high percentage of low-income and underprepared students. This is, school of periphery is prone to be at the disadvantage with lots of able students’ flight and only those in need left. In this situation, school of periphery is helpless since no resources available. Given this, the accumulation of disadvantages for the high school of periphery can be realized by the Matthew’s effect- a psychosocial reasoning proposed in Merton (1968) to explain the distribution of prestige in science. Furthermore, the accumulation of advantage and disadvantage in education was discussed (Kerckhoff & Glennie, 1999). In reality, the relative obscure status for high school of periphery has formed by the accumulated disadvantages, reflecting the phenomenon “the poor, the less”in its school management and the competition for its counterpart. This study aims to reveal the disadvantaged status for high school of periphery and to realize the difficulties and challenges they encountered, further to propose related policy suggestions to help these schools.
As part of an integrated research team studying four categories of communities and its schools, including urban, remote, schools in-between, and schools of the periphery, this study utilized both survey and semi-structured interview to collect data. Based on the location, researchers made several calls to ask around the intention of participation for potential schools. It ends up with three cases of high school participated, including Utopia, Innocence and Mountains (pseudonym), with 32 participants in total. Specifically, there are 17 administrators and school teachers as well as 15 high school students. To clarify, the survey regarding the disadvantaged students and program implementation was filled by the director of school. Moreover, three forms of interview guideline were created and reviewed during the periodical group meetings. Also, the software of MAXQDA in 2018 version was utilized to facilitate the work of analysis and synthesization. More details can be found in Table 1. Table 1 Cases of high school participated Name of school Utopia Innocence Mountains Location Next to U city Next to P city Next to P city, near the best high school in H city Curriculum provided Academics only Academics only Academics & vocational The percentage of the disadvantaged 70% 29% 19% Administrator 5 5 2 Teacher 1 1 3 Student (count) 6 4 5 notes: 1. most administrators also teach at the same time 2. students with economic and academic disadvantage were included
Based on the surveys and interviews conducted, four characteristics of school of the periphery were synthesized: 1. the relatively obscure status in high school competition due to the stereotype of students and parents chronically; 2. short of resources & learning opportunities in a poor neighborhood nearby; 3. a short distance from the nearby metropolis but no easy transportation; 4. a policy design of dividing as the same high school zone with the nearby metropolis for entrance exam. On the one hand, the characteristics of disadvantaged students at school of the periphery include: a malfunction of their family of original, the lack of motivation leading to a poor performance, at a disadvantage both economically and academically, a trait of emotional disadvantage, and without aspiration for higher education. On the other hand, the characteristics of disadvantaged school of the periphery include a high percentage of disadvantaged students who are mainly from the neighborhood, a disproportion of resource and support to the percentage of the disadvantaged at school, and school’s suffering from insufficient financial support for infrastructure chronically. Intriguingly, our findings reveal that high school of the periphery still play an important role in offering learning opportunities for the local and its far-fetched feeder schools although there are a variety of disadvantages accumulated. Realizing this, more attention should be given to these high school of the periphery. In terms of policy suggestions, the researchers propose that related programs conducted at the school of periphery should be tailored individually, both levels of school and student included. With these primary findings in mind, the researchers do hope the obscure status for high school of the periphery can be recognized, further strengthening both disadvantaged school and students to combat their accumulated disadvantages.
Kerckhoff, A. C., & Glennie, E. (1999). The Matthew effect in American education. Research in sociology of education and socialization, 12(1), 35-66. Broccolichi, S., & Zanten, A. V. (2000). School competition and pupil flight in the urban periphery. Journal of Education Policy, 15(1), 51-60. Cummings, C., & Dyson, A. (2007). The role of schools in area egeneration. Research papers in Education, 22(1), 1-22. Dyson, A. (2008). Beyond the school gate: Schools, communities and social justice. Orbis Scholae, 2(2), 39-54. Dyson, A., & Jones, L. （2014）. Extended schools in England: Emerging rationales. IJREE–International Journal for Research on Extended Education, 2（1）, 5-19. Merton, R. K. (1968). The Matthew effect in science: The reward and communication systems of science are considered. Science, 159(3810), 56-63. Raffo, C., Dyson, A., Gunter, H., Hall, D., Jones, L., & Kalambouka, A. （2009）. Education and poverty: mapping the terrain and making the links to educational policy. International Journal of Inclusive Education, 13（4）, 341-358.
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