The United States educational system faces a major challenge in addressing the disenfranchisement of youth due to poverty and racism in the schools. The U.S. Census Bureau, 2006 found that “currently about one-quarter of Blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans are living in poverty in the U.S. compared to less than 10% of Asian Americans or Whites.” (Hughes et al. 2010, p. 2) Hughes, Newkirk & Stenhjem (2010) identified the stressors children living in poverty faced caused young adolescents to suffer mental and physical health issues which resulted in anxiety, hypertension, fear and depression. Lack of health care, neighborhood crime levels, joblessness, prejudice, and inadequate housing are among the many reasons multi-cultural youth from high poverty backgrounds become disenfranchised from the American school system. Race, racism, and poverty combine to create a triple jeopardy which severely impacts the fulfillment of the need of young adolescents to experience a sense of belonging and cultural competence. Lack of supportive environments both in school, society, work, and family life often prevent students from developing the cultural competence minority students must develop in order to become fully successful. For the purposes of this essay key issues were identified regarding the disenfranchisement of Native American youth, such as systemic prejudice and cultural bias within the school system which resulted in loss of connectedness of Navajo youth to school, teachers, and family. Galliher, Jones, & Dahl (2010) identified cultural connectedness as being the key component necessary in order to reengage the Native American student within the educational environment.
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...guidance throughout their educational experiences.
Galliher, R., Jones, M., Dahl, A., (2010).Concurrent and longitudinal effects of ethnic identity and experiences of discrimination on psychosocial adjustment of Navajo adolescents. American Psychological Association, 47(2), 509-526. Doi:10.1037/a0021061
Hughes, C., Newkirk, R., & Stenhjem, P., (2010) Addressing the challenge of
disenfranchisement of youth: poverty and racism in the schools. Reclaiming Children
and Youth, 19(1), 22-26.
Morgan, H., (2010). Teaching native American students: what every teacher should know.
Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed for Quick Review, 75(6), 44-47.
Waters, S., & Cross, D., (2010). Measuring student’s connectedness to school, teachers, and
family: validation of three scales. School Psychology Quarterly, 25(3), 1-19.
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