Reading Between the Lines: Three Conversations on Students’ Success Robert Guzman ARP 851 April 30, 2013
Reading Between the Lines • Original Intent of exercise: • Study the differences/similarities between Caucasian female and AB540 student • Study variances made by each student in following variables • Selection of school • Application process • Utilization of campus resources • Future plans • Findings • Family structure determines student’s self esteem • Data can be used to create workshops to enhance self-esteem • Barriers to Success are the most divergent and predictable of the three—NEED TO BE ADDRESSED
RBTLOverview • Observational settings • Personal Observation • February 4th, Martin Luther King Conference Room EOP • First Interview • March 1st, Office (274 coded phrases) (32 categories) • Second Interview • March 15th, Office • March 16th, Starbuck’s (380 coded phrases) (18 categories) (15 categories)
RBTLThemes • Family / Community • Goals Upon Graduation • Barriers to Success
RBTLFamily/Community • Family/Community • Caucasian Family Structure • Weak to non-existent re-enforcers –ill equipped to handle challenges • When my grandmother passed away, nobody signed the papers to adopt me • I would just come to school to go to class and go home: I would sleep all day and was depressed; I was in a weird funk and did not want to do anything and I did not want to get out of bed; I was afraid to take SAT because I had a fear of how stupid I was • Latina Family Structure • Strong family structure—gave students confidence to succeed and extend “family” with university personnel • I visit (my professor) during office hours; I have him re-explain (material); SDSU was not her first choice—was accepted to USD; because of cost, she attended SDSU; these kids that make it, tend to protect the parents from the negative consequences; bonds make them committed because they are children of their parents but also parents to their parents, linguistic translator, cultural translator, and many times financially responsible.
RBTLGoals Upon Graduation • Category contains subtle qualities of self-esteem • Latina responses • Focused more on how degree would support the family • White female response • Focused more on controlling situation • I want to run a program; I want to be on top; if I make it to the president of a college that would be great; what do I see myself doing five to ten years down the road, I see myself running a program. • I want to teach; I also want to get a Master’s degree in education; I see myself helping my mom; I don’t know why but I always wanted to help children; I do not want to be a supervisor; I like being with kids more.
RBTLBarriers to Success • Most divergent and predictable of the three • White student’s impediment—lack of support which resulted in lack of confidence • Once she created support structure in school she used it to master her environment • When we look at…say a white female student in EOP…she (may) lack the kind of capital that she needs to move freely and be successful as a white person. So whether she is a foster student, or a single mother, or comes from low income…or all the other things that preclude her from moving up…when you look at that, they still ultimately know that once they acquire these skills there is nothing, there is no barrier in front of them from stopping from succeeding. • But for a Brown kid or a Black overcoming those odds? They still have the phenotype to overcome.
RBTLBarriers to Success • Latina Students • Because of the strong support structure, they are confident to to create support systems at school • They can get deported at any time • It is difficult for them to pay their way to college • Face reality of not finding work • Many are at the mercy of high school and university administrators • Belief/hope that system will change and acknowledge their value as citizens • The stress they inherit is amazing. It is one thing to be of Mexican American descent and have these obligations. It is another thing to be of Mexican descent and be undocumented and struggle with these issues. Being undocumented means that you cannot go out and try these things on your own because you are afraid of being caught. And, if you get caught that means your (family) is going to get caught.
RBTLBarriers to Success • I got enough saved to pay for three years of college (I was) lucky…because other friends of mine…did not find scholarship money…and have to work and pay for school. It is a slow process. • This is probably one of the most devastating issues. I just had a young man see me. He is a Business major…he is undocumented and he was trying to figure out should he try to get a job as being undocumented…or should he go to grad school hoping immigration reform might take place. It is a question I get asked all the time, “What do I do now?” • When I told him that I wanted to go to USD and I wanted his help to see what I can do what kind of resources did he have for me to reach out and see how I could afford it…he told me straight out that I needed to get off that cloud. It is not going to happen (for you). • She knows but it does not stop her from dreaming. It does not stop her from hoping. It does not stop her from thinking that maybe this country will do some kind of reform that will take into consideration that she has been an outstanding citizen.
RBTLLimitations • Interviewed only a small segment • Family structure not always dependent on ethnicity • Comparison between genders • Bias of the researcher
RBTLConclusions/Areas For Further Research • Study how a family’s positive or negative influence on a student can affect their academic performance • From these studies develop workshop seminars that address following issues: • Self esteem • Building positive re-enforcers • Creating external relationships on campus
Reading Between the Lines • I think the one thing you have to remember about dreamers is that unlike every other population you deal with, they have no hard future. No matter how hard they work, no matter how well they do, ultimately if we do not do anything about immigration reform, they will have no future. They will do the same job that their parents are doing…because we are increasingly calling for measures that verify citizenship at employment. Who is going to lose? We are. These folks are pursing this out of sheer belief that this nation will welcome them. They came here, their parents came here for that. What if the single mom had no chance of really getting a job after the university? Would she be putting everything into that she is doing right now? Would the single dad? Would the kid without social capital who knows that once they have a university degree all of a sudden they will have acquired the form of social capital and they can now enter the main stream? That is where your comparison comes in.