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Bruce Mims Dissertation - SOCIAL CAPITAL, INSTITUTIONAL AGENCY, MINORITY OR LOWSTATUS …

Bruce Mims Dissertation - SOCIAL CAPITAL, INSTITUTIONAL AGENCY, MINORITY OR LOWSTATUS
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT, AND AVID IMPLEMENTATION

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  • 1. SOCIAL CAPITAL, INSTITUTIONAL AGENCY, MINORITY OR LOWSTATUS YOUTH EMPOWERMENT, AND AVID IMPLEMENTATION by Bruce Lamar Mims ____________________________________________________________________ A Dissertation Presented to the FACULTY OF THE ROSSIER SCHOOL OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree DOCTOR OF EDUCATION August 2007 Copyright 2007 Bruce Lamar Mims
  • 2. DEDICATION First, I dedicate this project to Jason Cuneo, my loving partner whose unwavering support has sustained me throughout this academic and emotional journey. I also dedicate this project to my children, Steven and Stephanie CuneoMims. My children and their future are what inspired me to embark upon this scholarly journey to better myself. To my parents, Joseph and Marceline Mims, whose love, patience, support, and upbringing have made me the person that I am today. To all of my relatives who are no longer with us, I always carry the spirit of your memory close to my heart—especially my grandmother, Maudine and my Aunt, Deloris: their radiant spirits always shine brightly on my life, and shower my family with many blessings. ii
  • 3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my chairperson and my committee whose support and guidance made this all possible. I especially would like to thank my mentor, Dr. Stacey Nickson. Her presence in my life has been the guiding force that has motivated me to expand my professional and personal horizons. Her membership on my dissertation committee is the culmination of our professional and personal relationship together; and, I am eternally grateful for her continued friendship and collegial support. I would also like to thank personnel from the following entities for their support throughout this project: Los Angeles County Office of Education AVID Regional Office; the Rowland Unified School District; the Long Beach Unified School District; the Escondido Union High School District; the Baldwin Park Unified School District; and the Pomona Unified School District. iii
  • 4. TABLE OF CONTENTS DEDICATION……………………………………………………………. ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS………………………………………………..iii LIST OF TABLES…………………………………………………………vi ABSTRACT………………………………………………………………viii CHAPTER 1…..……………………………………………………………1 INTRODUCTION……………………………………………………. …1 Problem Statement………………………………………………..... 3 Purpose of the Study……………………………………………….. 5 Research Questions………………………………………………....6 Significance of the Study…………………………………………... 7 Terms and Definitions………………………………………………17 Delimitations of the Study………………………………………… 19 Assumptions and Limitations of the Study………………………… 19 Conclusion…………………………………………………………..21 Organization of the Dissertation…………………………………… 21 CHAPTER 2………………………………………………………………...22 CRITICAL SYNTHESIS OF LITERATURE…………………………... 22 Introduction…………………………………………………………22 Theoretical Frameworks of Social Capital….................................... 23 The Plight of Minority and Urban Youth………………………… 33 Community Based Intervention Programs and Institutional Agency………………………………………………...44 Social Capital Theory in the Context of Intervention and Institutional Agency………………………….... 55 Social Capital, Social Support, and Educational Outcomes……………………………………………... 62 Theoretical Convergence and Opportunities for Expanded Articulation…………………………...65 Conclusion…………………………………………………………..68 CHAPTER 3……………………………………………………………….. 70 METHODOLOGY…………………………………………………….. 70 Introduction…………………………………………………………70 Sample and Population…………………………………………….. 80 Instrumentation…………………………………………………….106 iv
  • 5. Data Collection…………………………………………… 113 Data Analysis………………………………………………. 115 Summary…………………………………………………… 116 CHAPTER 4…….…………………………………………………. 117 DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF FINDINGS. 117 Introduction………………………………………………....117 Program Coordinator Participant Descriptions…………… 119 Analysis of the Findings in the Context of the Research Questions……………………………………………. 119 Thematic Summary of Key Findings in the Analysis……. 141 CHAPTER 5…………………………………………………....….. 144 DISCUSSION OF KEY FINDINGS, IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS………………………………………...144 Discussion of Key Findings in the Analysis……………… . 144 Implications of the Study……………………………… 156 Limitations of the Study…………………………………….159 Recommendations…………………………………………..160 Suggestions for Further Study…………………………….. 162 REFERENCES…………………………………………………….. 165 APPENDICES………………………………………………………171 Appendix A: Resources Domains and Essential Recourse and Relationship Groupings……………………………………………172 Appendix B: Name Generator…………………………………….174 Appendix C: Position Generator…………………………………..182 Appendix D: Resource Generator…………………………………183 Appendix E: Guided Conversation Protocol………………………184 Appendix F: Guided Conversation Excerpts Concerning AVID Training……………………………………………………..186 Appendix G: Name Generator Survey…………………………….189 Appendix H: SEI Scores and Positional Status Relative to Occupations Listed in the Position Generator (Appendix D)……………………………………………………….190 v
  • 6. LIST OF TABLES Table 1 Southland High School Enrollment by Ethnicity…………… 82 Table 2 Southland High School AVID Enrollment by Ethnicity………………………………………………………84 Table 3 Pierce High School Enrollment by Ethnicity…………………86 Table 4 Pierce High School AVID Enrollment by Ethnicity………………………………………………………87 Table 5 Pinnacles High School Enrollment by Ethnicity……………...89 Table 6 Pinnacles High School AVID Enrollment by Ethnicity………………………………………………………90 Table 7 Canyon High School Enrollment by Ethnicity……………….92 Table 8 Canyon High School AVID Enrollment by Ethnicity………………………………………………………94 Table 9 Valley Vista High School Enrollment by Ethnicity………..…96 Table 10 Valley Vista High School AVID Enrollment by Ethnicity………………………………………………………98 Table 11 Shoreline Heights High School Enrollment by Ethnicity………………………………………………………100 Table 12 Shoreline Heights High School AVID Enrollment by Ethnicity …………………………………………………..101 Table 13 Parkview High School Enrollment by Ethnicity……………...103 Table 14 Parkview High School AVID Enrollment by Ethnicity………………………………………………………105 Table 15 Program Coordinator Accessed Positions and Positional Status………………………………………………121 vi
  • 7. Table 16 Program Coordinator Resource Contacts and Extensity of Weak Ties……………………………………….124 Table 17 Program Coordinator Network Range………………………..127 vii
  • 8. ABSTRACT This study isolated the salience of institutional agency within the context of a specific intervention program called, Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID), an untracking program designed to help low achieving students elicit academic success. Four primary research questions guided the study. First, to the degree those efforts to engage in social capital mobilization are made, how might the program coordinator’s accessible social capital play a prominent role? Second, to what extent are AVID program coordinators able to mobilize their social capital to convey information, resources, and opportunities to minority and low-status youth in the context of program implementation? Third, what factors facilitate or constrain the accumulation of accessible social capital and agency-oriented mobilization of social capital (on behalf of program participants and/or program implementation)? Finally, to what extent does AVID training identify the underpinning theoretical concepts and processes of social capital theory; thus do AVID program coordinators understand their role relative to the help-seeking and network-seeking orientations of institutional agency? This study incorporated both inductive and deductive methodologies within the qualitative research design to accomplish in-depth cross-case analysis of the range, quality, and nature of program coordinators’ individual networks and sources of support. Furthermore, this methodology also determined their proclivity to excess their individual networks and sources of support to convey essential resources, viii
  • 9. information, and opportunities to minority or low-status youth; thus facilitating their academic and social mobility, and, hence, fostering their empowerment. The study revealed insight and answers as it relates to the primary research questions, and articulated the findings into (3) thematic summaries and discussion. First, the study revealed that program coordinators have critical deficiencies in their personal networks relative to the status of their positional contacts. Second, it revealed that program coordinators are not engaged in active (institutional) agency as counterstratification mechanism. Finally, the study revealed that AVID training does not explicitly address agency as an intervention design relative to the resources model of social capital. ix
  • 10. CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Urban Public Education: Crisis and Opportunity Although public education continues to move forward in this era of increased accountability, relative to “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB), states, districts, and school-wide learning communities continue to struggle with its implications; especially those situated in large urban areas, serving predominately low-status and minority children. This is due in large part to the fact that the predominate policy initiatives and research studies continue to analyze this dilemma through a deficit paradigm, rather than considering variegated sociological, and social cultural, and socioeconomic conditions, which either facilitate or hinder academic success (Ladson-Billings, 2000; Singleton & Linton, 2005). Nevertheless, minority and lowstatus students continue to lag behind their white middle-class counterparts, while institutions assess and analyze their progress and shortcomings through normative lenses. Institutions also engage in prescribing instructional interventions without analyzing the nature of schools, schooling, and foundational pedagogy. As bureaucratic policy pressures mount, many districts and schools struggle for the answers and formulas to close the achievement gap between minority and low-status children and their white middle-class counterparts. Some isolated school settings, teachers, and classrooms, however, are uniquely poised to affect significant positive change in student learning outcomes because they tacitly or explicitly equip students with the skills and knowledge essential to elicit success. These isolated 1
  • 11. settings are elucidating success within the context of the milieus, communities, social cultural and socioeconomic situations, and challenges they face on a consistent basis. Why does this happen in isolation? What have these pockets of powerful teaching, learning, and student development discovered that public education it its entirety cannot decipher and implement on a wide scale? Do these isolated pockets of success reflect traditional or normative paradigms or pedagogies? On the other hand, do these success stories afford entirely new insight into how institutional pedagogy and public schooling can and should adapt to meet the needs of the demographics they serve? Success as the Exception Districts and schools if not public education as a whole are gradually moving toward a point of critical mass, whereas reform efforts imposing normative or traditional means to improve student learning outcomes relative to minority children are creating increasing levels of dissonance and discord within the communities they serve. White middle class students excel, achieve, and advance relative to the people, information, resources, and opportunities at their disposal and deployment. Their minority and low-status student counterparts, however, lag behind because of inadequate resources and facilities, poorly trained educators, curricular and instructional disconnect, which results in alienation and internalized oppression. Normative reform efforts such as standards-based and/or high-stakes testing and standards-based instructional designs tend to perpetuate alienation and disenfranchisement. As a result, minority student dropout rates increase, and fewer 2
  • 12. minority students gain access to colleges and universities; thus, creating new cycles of marginalization, disenfranchisement, and oppression. The gathering maelstrom concerning accountability, coupled with increasingly scarce resources, socioeconomic constraints is the backdrop that affords scholars the opportunity to cultivate new areas of research to analyze the components of schools and pedagogy that either foster or hinder positive human development relative to minority or low-status youth. These components either promote success or perpetuate failure in these milieus. Although the institutional structures that circumscribe productive educational programs provide the foundations for positive student learning outcomes, their success by no means ubiquitous (Conchas, 2001; Mehan, Villanueva, Hubbard, & Lintz, 1996). Success is systematic because strategically placed individuals (e.g., teachers, program coordinators) have a penchant to facilitate processes and provide support while embedding minority and low-status youth into the relationships and networks, which translate into academic and social support mechanisms. Empowering them with essential resources, information, and opportunities is essential to their ability to navigate through and overcome the institutional, social cultural and socioeconomic obstacles that typically impede their progress or mobility. Problem Statement Many different types and/or categories of academic and social intervention programs that exist pertaining to minority and low-status youth, a substantial body of scholarly literature exists that implicitly or explicitly articulates the theoretical 3
  • 13. mechanisms of social capital, while analyzing their efficacy relative to implementation cycles. A substantial body of literature, however, does not exist that theoretically articulates and analyzes exactly how teachers, youth workers, and other institutional agents serving minority or low-status youth are able to empower these youth along several simultaneous dimensions. These dynamics include complex role-sets that such agents assume within the context of the school setting or an intervention. As it pertains to minority and low-status youth intervention programs, we do not know enough about the dynamics of how program coordinators and/or staff members assume the complex role-set of “institutional agents;” and, how they acquire and mobilize social capital on behalf of program participants and how they and serve as bridging agents. They connect youth to essential resources, information, and opportunities controlled by “agents” in other networks and institutional settings. This process enables minority and low-status to access institutional mechanisms that facilitate academic and/or social mobility, which routinely engineer the success and empowerment of white middle and upper-class youth. Scholarly literature beckons for an expanded articulation of those institutional mechanisms that underpin social capital relative to minority and low status youth; meaning, institutional mechanisms precipitate access to social capital. Whereas social capital pertains to the institutional resources and support mechanisms accessible through social ties to “agents,” who are strategically positioned in relation 4
  • 14. to society’s stratification systems; thereby, facilitating academic or social mobility. Therefore, examining the impact of “agency” relative to program efficacy and/or learning outcomes, or other dynamic manifestations that precipitate academic or social mobility in the lives of minority and low-status youth is essential to understanding the salience of social capital as it pertains to their empowerment. Purpose of the Study Variegated depictions of programmatic success relative to minority student achievement is largely descriptive in nature, I intend to isolate the salience of institutional agency at the individual level, within the context of a specific intervention program called, Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID). AVID is an untracking program designed to help low achieving students elicit academic success. Institutional agency refers to persons using their influence, capacity, and resources in their own embedded networks to assist others, in this case minority and low-status youth, in gaining access to networks, resources, information, and opportunities essential for academic and social mobility (Stanton-Salazar, 1997). In addition, I will examine the manner in which the people, i.e., institutional agents, involved in the intervention program convey essential skills, which empower minority youth to overcome both institutional and societal obstacles and attain academic success. Finally, using the two predominant conceptual frameworks of social capital theory, coupled with empowerment, I will construct a theoretical rationale to articulate the complexities of these empowering mechanisms and behaviors in a scholarly manner that future educational studies related to institutional 5
  • 15. or pedagogical reform might take into consideration when elucidating recommendations. The primary focus of the study centers on how institutional agents, who are members of privileged groups or classes in their complex and evolving roles and mobilize, within the context of their own social networks, to resources, information, and opportunities, and their social capital to support minority and low-status students within the framework of an intervention program. Research Questions Primary The following are the primary questions driving the research of this study: 1. To the degree those efforts to engage in social capital mobilization are made, how might the program coordinator’s accessible social capital play a prominent role? 2. To what extent are AVID program coordinators able to mobilize their social capital to convey information, resources, and opportunities to minority and low-status youth in the context of program implementation? 3. What factors facilitate or constrain the accumulation of accessible social capital and agency-oriented mobilization of social capital (on behalf of program participants and/or program implementation)? 6
  • 16. 4. To what extent does AVID training identify the underpinning theoretical concepts and processes of social capital theory; thus do AVID program coordinators understand their role relative to the helpseeking and Significance of the Study Re-Conceptualizing Youth Resiliency and Network Orientation One of the most predominant and overarching ideologies, which permeates our society, is individualism and meritocracy. On one hand, our society exalts and reveres principles of individualism, independence, and self-reliance. For the most part, individual success is commonplace for those persons who reflect the value systems and background typical of the white middle-class ideals (Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). This ideal, however, does not take into account the inherent social network structures that individuals (i.e., white and black middle-class) marshal, to elicit and attain the information, resources, and forms of support that ensure their success; hence, the paradox (Cochran et al., 1990; Spencer, 2001). Youth from privileged backgrounds inherently benefit, tacitly and/or explicitly, from the institutional and social structures embedded within their primary networks and communities. Their network systems insulate them from failure and ecological dangers relative to greater society, hence, facilitating their success. Meanwhile, structural and institutional conditions seemingly transform individual circumstances, pertaining to minority and low-status youth, into situations that may increase the potential for failure. Stanton-Salazar (2001) terms such mechanisms as defensive or 7
  • 17. self-protective help-seeking orientations; whereas, a lack of proximity relative to adult kin, one-parent households, poverty, coupled with environmental conditions typical of urban blight translates into embedded ness into social dynamics that fail to buffer or insulate them from the burdens of racial stratification. Against this backdrop, Spina (as cited in Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000) suggests that popular notions of resiliency (e.g., success “against the odds”) are misleading. In fact, popular culture inordinately romanticizes the concept. This paradigm is plagued with biases, which, consequently, diminish and/or de-legitimate the belief systems and practices of other cultural communities, i.e., minority or lowstatus. These privileged communities perceive resiliency as an ideal related to the adherence to traditions and natural support systems emanating from the family and ethnic communities (Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). Re-conceptualizing our notion of youth resiliency is an essential component relative to shifting the popular paradigm; it is a systematic developmental process that begins with the individual’s (e.g., child or parent) ability to formulate optimal responses to adverse situations and circumstances, as well as his or her perception that options and assistance, indeed, exist (Spencer, 2001). The quality and salience of youth and family relationships within the primary support system, usually the family network, predicates cultivation and promulgation of help-seeking tendencies outside of the primary relationship support system or network. This is a critical supposition as it relates to relationship and support network dynamics within communities comprised of minority, low-income 8
  • 18. individual and family units (Stanton-Salazar, 1997, 2001). Children and adolescents, as well as their families and communities are constantly exposed and subject to influences extending outside of the primary network or support systems. These outward extensions are essential to healthy development, as well as access to information and resources to guide and enhance their optimal response patterns (Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). They find themselves embedded in a myriad of social dynamics outside of their primary networks. Otherwise, they become isolated and disengaged from the mainstream; lacking available resources and information essential to foster upward social mobility (Cochran et al., 1990; Granovetter, 1983; Spencer, 2001). From the onset of their school careers, minority children face complex and evolving social cultural challenges as they endeavor to overcome the institutional obstacles typically associated with urban public education, as well as those that characterize or society; plagued by various constructs of oppression, which seemingly conspire to perpetuate minority disenfranchisement and/or marginalization (Stanton-Salazar, 1997). They must assume the burden of socialization through acquiring essential coping skills that will enable them to navigate the ecological perils of a highly racialized, and discriminatory society. Conceptually speaking, most minority children are at-risk youth, although at different degrees (Cochran et al., 1990). Therefore, we must begin to analyze minority youth and family resilience within the scope of the developmental process rather than an aberrant phenomenon (Spencer, 2001). As minority and/or low status 9
  • 19. youth learn to employ their help-seeking skills, they cultivate the ability to venture beyond their primary networks seeking essential information and assistance relative to situational decisions and responses; moreover, optimal response skill enhancement increases the likelihood of upward social mobility (Spencer, 2001; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2001). Stanton-Salazar and Spina (2000) submit that minority and low-status youth resiliency depends on the ability of persons to reach across social cultural borders to foster positive help-seeking orientations, or attitudes and beliefs about the utilities of individual networks to assist in the coping process concerning a life problem. Subsequent network-orientations entail the proclivity towards strengthening relationship dynamics to reach across social cultural borders and overcome institutional barriers, seeking the assistance and support from relevant adults, agents, or peers. This transformation is the process of strategic socialization, which determines; (a) individual choices relative to cultivating various social relationships in the face of structural circumstances; (b) whether individuals utilize those relationships as sources of social and institutional support; and, (c) individuals’ facility relative to crossing conflictive social cultural borders to overcome institutional barriers to facilitate mobility. Institutional Agency and Complex Role Dynamics Organizations and communities also entail forms of agency, and their agency serves as a vehicle to assist members pertaining to some benefits precluded from persons outside the community or organization. Institutional agency, however, as 10
  • 20. depicted by Stanton-Salazar (1997) usually consists of a person who has the capacity to act or operate in the face of opportunities, as well as constraints. In addition, their degree of effectiveness is dependent upon the amount and diversity of the social capital they can access; thus, the degree to which the program coordinator assumes the role-set of institutional agent predicates the effectiveness of an intervention program, such as AVID. Although many scholars have tacitly conceptualized the role of institutional agency in the context of their research and publications, it remains considerably under-theorized. Yet, the institutional agency is an integral component underpinning the development and resiliency of minority youth. Stanton Salazar (1997) posits that institutional agents as those individuals in strategic positions who possess the commitment and the capacity to facilitate or convey institutional resources, support, and opportunities. The agents’ own embedded social networks are the nexus of their ability to facilitate or convey resources and opportunities (Stanton-Salazar, 1997; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). Thus, institutional agency pertains to an individual’s evolving dynamic of complex relationships that, when accessed and/or mobilized in the context of an intervention, convey essential resources, information, and opportunities that facilitate growth and development. In this case, we are referring to the social and academic mobility of minority or low-status youth, which fosters their empowerment. 11
  • 21. The institutional agent’s significance and efficacy lie in the fact that, not only are they purveyors of resources and support, hence, social capital, to minority or low-status youth, but also due in large part because their transactions represent a “counter-stratification” mechanism defined in terms of Stanton-Salazar (2001). When employed, it counterbalances the ill affects of differential privilege and marginalization due to systemic biases and racial prejudice that plagues our society (Stanton-Salazar, 2001; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). Institutional agents mitigate potential alienated embeddedness depicting the typical experiences of minority and low-status youth, as they navigate through the situational perils, which they encounter throughout their adolescent lives. A person’s strategic and positional relationships, resources, and their ability to access resources and information relative to high-status or power positions predicate their ability to act as institutional agents. If this is the case, then they have the ability to align their personal attributes and traits with the dominant culture of power, i.e., white, middle-class, within the context of their own social cultural experience (Stanton-Salazar, 1997, 2001; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). Thus, their potential to empower youth relates to their ability to convey codes or rules of power that dictate dominant institutional contexts; hence, enabling them how to negotiate and, in some cases, subvert those rules to acquire power, while attaining academic and social mobility within the dominant construct (Delpit, 1988). It is important, however, to point out that the role of institutional agents and agency itself constitutes both the capacity to act, as well as the decision to act. In short, 12
  • 22. capacity or capability alone does not necessarily equate to agency. Agency is both a socio psychological and a behavioral concept; and, program leadership does not necessarily predicate agency, without action. Understanding the role and responsibilities institutional agency entails is essential to its effectiveness as a pedagogical construct. There are many academic intervention programs endeavoring to implement innovative instructional designs to elicit positive student learning outcomes. As the literature reflects, in many cases, the programs elucidate positive student learning outcomes. Mehan, Villanueva, Hubbard, and Lintz (1996), as well as Kahne and Bailey (1999) articulate the fact that innovative instructional design is not necessary tantamount to program success as evidenced in positive student learning outcomes. In fact, many of these innovative intervention programs fail, or elicit variegated levels of success, and create considerable acrimony relative to their implementation. This is why agency is such an important concept to understand and manifest in the context of an intervention design. Institutional agency as it relates to program effectiveness entails that the institutional agent consciously acts and successfully transitions between multiple and evolving dynamic roles, relative to constructs which tend to empower minority and low-status youth; hence, they are teachers, motivators, counselors, parents, mentors, mediators, and, if necessary, disciplinarians (McLaughlin, Irby, & Langman, 1994). Ironically, intervention programs that do not explicitly articulate the essential dimensions and dynamics that institutional agency entails may affectively do more 13
  • 23. harm than good, because implementation failure reinforces or perpetuates trenchant embedded alienation relative to student learning outcomes. In other words, there is no presupposing framework from which to analyze the overriding philosophical or ideological constructs precipitating the underlying dissonance (Hernandez, 1995; Singleton & Linton, 2005). Social Capital Theory, Strategic Socialization, and Equity Pedagogy Articulating the theoretical mechanisms that facilitate resiliency, relative to minority and low status youth, in the context of a social capital framework is imperative to the study. In fact, they are the lynchpin attribute that enables us to intellectualize the social cultural and socioeconomic dynamics depicting systemic biases plaguing our society and schools; and, consequently, marginalize cultures and children (Delpit, 1988; Stanton-Salazar, 1997). Moreover, social capital is a salient theoretical lens that when catalyzed could adequately shift educational paradigms and pedagogy towards equitable designs and practices. This theoretical mechanism engages and empowers minority students to reach beyond the institutional and social barriers they perceive as limiting, while using the mechanisms, i.e., social capital, and moves them far beyond conditional marginalization and disenfranchisement (Mehan, Villanueva, Hubbard, & Lintz, 1996; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). Understanding minority youth empowerment and institutional agency in the context of a critically oriented social capital framework requires analyzing the theoretical underpinnings of counter stratification efforts. On a visceral level, however, individual agents’ perceptions of race and culture, in relation to their own 14
  • 24. situational position or embedded networks, manifest in the proclivity towards variegated institutional agency transactions, as well as the efficacy of their efforts (Ladson-Billings, 1995). Therefore, individual belief systems, in the context of race and culture, influence positional relationships to the extent that they either empower or potentially impede social capital transactions, relative to minority and low-status youth (Delpit, 1988; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). Positional relationships, pertaining to institutional agency, are the domain where latent personal belief systems become factors into the analysis of social capital transactions in the context of institutional agency; ironically, the discussions regarding intervention efficacy frequently relegate this topic “non- discussable” category to avoid controversy or acrimonious debate (Singleton & Linton, 2005). Nevertheless, this topic is the philosophical lens, which obligates scholarly research. In the very near future, student-learning outcomes, scholarly research, and instructional pedagogy will reach a critical mass relative to the achievement gap that, indeed, will compel them to consider conducting an open debate on this subject, because successful programs frequently operate in isolation; and with variegated results (Mehan et al., 1996). Researchers, scholars, and educators must scrutinize this idea with great care and concern if paradigms and pedagogies are to attain equity, because the manifestations of inequity relative to student achievement unfolding in classrooms on a daily basis are, indeed, a microcosm of the social capital, social cultural, and institutional mechanisms by which racism and stereotypes operationalize in our 15
  • 25. society. In his conversation on the subject, Dr. John Hope Franklin (2006) reminded his audience that President Bill Clinton, in his 2003 commencement address at the University of California, San Diego suggested that, “the time has come for America to begin a dialogue about race” (p. 192); yet, in 2006 we still find ourselves marred in a shroud of non-discussion (Franklin, 2006). Whereas, it is within this particular dialogue, concerning race, culture, and equity that therein lays the greatest understanding of how social capital operationalizes in our institutional practices relative to instruction and student learning outcomes. Therefore, it is an imperative that scholarly research becomes a conduit to facilitate this dialogue. Moreover, it is the author’s hope that the study’s findings afford educational research an intellectual platform from which to catalyze this discussion; hence, a paradigm shift. Intervention and Explicit Theoretical Articulation Explicit scientific and theoretical language relative to community-based or academic intervention program not only affords those involved in the implementation process the ability to articulate program rationale in a conceptual framework, it also provides intervention designers and program implementers an essential foundation from which to commence critical inventory relative to program efficacy. Succinct theoretical language pertaining to program design brings clarity and consistency to the sociological, as well as the sociopolitical ideologies that inevitability underpins all community-based and academic intervention (LadsonBillings, 1995). 16
  • 26. Youth engaged in an intervention design either connect or disconnect in the context of a program implementation based on the social cultural relevance of program components, whether the program is culturally competent or compatible. However, youth also respond to program endeavors based on how they perceive the ideologies and perceptions of institutional agents involved in the implementation (Singleton & Linton, 2005); moreover, the ideological underpinnings relative to agency usually manifest in tacit or implicit terms. Terms and Definitions A definitive understanding of the following terms is critical to the study, because they are articulated and discussed extensively throughout its entirety: • Complex Role Sets: Institutional agents whose contextual roles interchange relative to situations and circumstances (Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). • Counter Stratification: Social scaffolding efforts, which counterbalance systemic or institutional biases that typically marginalize social cultural, socioeconomic groups (Stanton-Salazar, 2001). • Empowerment: A psychological state involving active participatory processes by which individuals gain essential resources or competencies to increase self-efficacy and accomplish set goals (Maton & Salem, 1995). 17
  • 27. • Institutional Agent (Agency): Persons who use their influence, capacity, and resources relative to their position to assist others in gaining access to networks, resources, information, and opportunities essential for social mobility (Stanton-Salazar, 1997). • Network Orientation: An array of individual propensities or proclivities pertaining to one’s beliefs and attitudes that informs or motivates personal initiatives towards engaging in various social relationships or group affiliations (Stanton-Salazar, 2001). • Positional Resources: Influence and salience of tangible or intangible assets possessed within the context of one’s individual embedded network relative to their status in a social hierarchical structure (Lin, 1999). • Reciprocity: Individuals engaged in social exchanges of resources, information, and opportunities that elicit mutual benefit (Granovetter, 1983; Lin, 1999). • Resiliency: Psychosocial mechanisms of individuals, representing traditionally marginalized social cultural groups; used to overcome institutional or systemic barriers and elicit the assistance necessary to sustain overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being (Spencer, 2001). • Social Capital: Acquirable tangible and intangible assets of social position or status converted into individual or communal benefit or profit (Bourdieu, 1988; Lin, 1999). 18
  • 28. Delimitations of the Study The author will apply critical case study approach to examine the functions of a high school site-based AVID program, and draw research findings from a critical ethnography. This process incorporates both inductive and deductive methodologies to elucidate generalizations regarding the efficacy of AVID, relative to the role of the institutional agents. Critical ethnographic case study is essential to draw inferences relative to a historical background of the site-based AVID program development as it pertains to the program coordinator and other institutional agents involved in the implementation cycles. Mixed methods are essential to formulate generalizations regarding the salience of institutional agency in the context of the AVID program, and formulate relevant connections to the literature; as well, as to triangulate findings in a manner that facilitates broader discussion about the efficacy of AVID relative to the roles of institutional agents as it pertains to implementation. Assumptions and Limitations of the Study The author assumes that all persons engaged in the implementation of AVID program components, i.e., senior leadership, regional and site-based program coordinators, teachers, have attended and/or participated in at least one Summer Institute, the primary training component of AVID core-principles and practices; meaning, all relevant personnel are adequately trained in AVID principles. Furthermore, the author assumes that all persons engaged in school site-based AVID program implementation participate in mandated ongoing professional development relative to AVID program principles, instructional designs, and curricular 19
  • 29. implementation, which is a stipulation relative to maintaining certification as an AVID school-site program. The nature of the study renders the findings subjective, and, therefore open to variegated interpretation, because the issues at hand are both salient and potentially volatile. Race and culture are visceral constructs underpinning the mechanisms and manifestations of our society; yet, those who enjoy privilege or power relative to the dominant culture are the least likely to acknowledge or validate their dominant positions (Delpit, 1988; Singleton & Linton, 2005). The results may also be a direct reflection of the experience, or lack thereof, pertaining to the particular AVID program coordinator or teacher involved in the implementation process. Thus, the study’s findings may not portray an entirely accurate depiction of present paradigms and practices from which to elucidate broader generalizations pertaining to the mechanisms of institutional agency operationalized in a social capital framework, given the realities of systemic biases that foster pervasive social cultural marginalization and social stratification. Nevertheless, the study intends to lend intellectual and theoretical insight into this complex dynamic in a manner that may catalyze further, broader, and deeper discussions concerning institutional agency, equity pedagogy, and other relevant constructs, as well as their salient affects pertaining to student achievement and/or learning outcomes. 20
  • 30. Conclusion In summation, the importance of this study lies in the fact that disparities in academic and social outcomes between minority or low-status youth and their middle class counterparts result from the fact that middle class or privileged youth are embedded in the social networks of their parents or community. In other words, their access to social capital, by means of institutional resources, are a function of their parent’s social capital, as well as the school’s; by means of the their networks or positional resources. In contrast, minority or low-status youth, by definition of what it means to be “working class” or “working poor,” do not have access to social capital under normal circumstances. Thus, when program leaders assume role-sets, typical of middle and upper class backgrounds, they can potentially serve as bridging agents who link minority and low-status youth access to social capital, and facilitating the process of counter stratification. Organization of the Dissertation The author has organized this study into five interrelated chapters. Chapter 1 introduces the purpose of the study, the rationale relative to its significance, research questions, terms and definitions, as well as the study’s assumptions and limitations. Chapter 2 depicts a topic organized critical synthesis of literature relevant to the study. Chapter 3 outlines the research methodology, rationale, sampling strategy, instrumentation and related studies, data collection, and, finally, data analysis and related rationale. Chapter 4 depicts the research findings relative to the collected data. Chapter 5 is a discussion of research implications. 21
  • 31. CHAPTER 2 CRITICAL SYNTHESIS OF LITERATURE Introduction The goal of this chapter is to capsulate a critical synthesis of literature that conceptualizes the content in a manner that is relevant to the overall study, while transforming systemic or normative intellectual frameworks entailing institutionalized biases into operational consciousness. Furthermore, my alternative insight through an intellectual articulation of “institutional agency,” as it counterbalances systemic and ideological biases that perpetuate the alienation and marginalization of minority youth is an essential component of moving the theoretical mechanisms of social capital the forefront of the discussion concerning the salient affects of agency relative to academic or social mobility. Therefore, this analysis of literature embeds opportunities for new paradigms, while providing a critique of several dominant or mainstream discourses that historically have accounted for the pervasive, disproportionate, and chronic underachievement that plagues minority and low-status student learning outcomes. In addition, this depiction of an alternative analytical framework draws primarily from theories of social capital. This framework also draws upon critical race, and empowerment theories, because it is important to highlight aspects of inequality and privilege as it pertains to differential access to essential institutional resources. This reality, coupled with the seminal impact of institutional support, e.g., connections to gatekeepers who guide youth and their families through channels and 22
  • 32. resources relative to college enrollment, are essential to understanding how their marshaled affects facilitate academic and social mobility. Thus, I intend to thematically articulate elements of paradigm shift into the intellectual and scholarly dynamic, as well as the resulting inferences entailed in the literature advanced throughout the critical synthesis of literature. Critical understanding or insight pertaining to particular components of paradigm shift underpins the imperative nature of the study, which examines the effectiveness of institutional agents relative to programs such as Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID). Theoretical Frameworks of Social Capital Theoretical camps of social capital are the integral lens of analysis relative to each dynamic intervention depicted throughout this synthesis of literature. Although the predominant theoretical camps of social capital offer distinct and, sometimes, contrasting rationales, they are the foundation that bind additional theoretical concepts into a coherent platform to analyze and articulate the salient constructs of agency, as well as empowerment. Despite many distinct contrasts, each camp has various strengths and weaknesses; yet, employing elements of both camps towards a rationale that articulates empowerment, various opposing principles become congruent and integral constructs through which to analyze the salience of institutional agency. Functionalism and Social Closure The primary supposition driving James Coleman’s (1988) conceptualization of social capital is defined and, therefore, analyzed as a matter of what it actually 23
  • 33. does, rather than what it is; hence, its function. Ideologically speaking, the primary social psychological processes revolve around collective social structure through the enforcement of norms and sanctions. Whereas, this normative or integrative mindset presupposes that individuals are bound to the collective via belief systems, commitment to common values, community engagement, which fosters attachment (Portes, 1998, 2000; Lin, 2004). Therefore, the perceived value of membership, hence, social capital, is relative to resources it enables participants to access pursuant to their personal interest. It consists not of a single entity or construct, but of a variety of entities bounded by two common denominators: (a) they all exist within the context of a social structure; and (b) they all facilitate certain actions between participants within the structure. The underpinning aspect of which is the fact that membership in the collective is productive and allows attainment of certain ends that, in its absence, would not be feasible (Coleman, 1988). Trustworthiness and obligation within the context of a social environment are the seminal underpinnings of social capital. In fact, without a high degree of trustworthiness among members of the group, the institution could not sustain itself; it is within this notion that Coleman (1998) rationalizes the plight of large urban areas as social capital deficit relative to the high degree of mobility within these environs. Members frequently exit the social structure, which leaves these communities blighted, considerably disorganized, and/or void of social capital. Coleman adds that he could never foresee credit associations flourishing in large urban areas, due to the lack of trust and social cohesion. Obligation, he states, must 24
  • 34. permeate the society and bind it together. When members come and go, however, vacuums exist that undermine their salience. Coleman (1998) submits that social relations are healthy and productive when people adhere to the norms and values the social structure prescribes. People adhere to those norms because they share a common interest, and this is what sustains the structural collective. These norms and values are the powerful, but precarious social capital, which binds the structure; deviance from these norms warrants sanction or alienation from the benefits entailed through participation in the collective or detrimental impact upon one’s reputation, hence, their trustworthiness. Therefore, it is sanctions, or the fear of such, that constrain members from engaging in behaviors or actions detrimental to the collective. Portes (1998) conceptualizes this aspect of norms and sanctions as, enforceable trust. Enforceable trust, as an extension of social capital manifests for recipients when it facilitates access to resources from the collective; for donors, the transaction guarantees against malfeasance relative to the threat of ostracism and sanctions from the collective (Portes & Landolt, 1996). Thus, Coleman suggests that (social) network closure is an essential component predicating the efficacy of norms and sanctions. Network closure as it pertains to family and community or intergenerational dynamics, is a necessary condition to elicit trustworthiness. He uses this rationale to advance his analysis of the conditions and outcomes of families and communities using a deficit model, which compares the dropout rates between Catholic school and Public school 25
  • 35. students. He asserts, that Catholic high school communities comprised of “nuclear,” i.e., two-parent, families are embedded in networks that also entail intergenerational closure, based upon the common practices entailed by membership, participation, and interaction within these complex and closed networks. Portes (2000) expands this proposition, when he asserts that social capital is an asset exclusively afforded to intact families and communities, attributable to embedded networks of traders of resources; and, thus, explains why entire cities are well governed and prosperous, while others are not. Stanton-Salazar (2004) cautions that Coleman’s normative framework exists in a sociopolitical vacuum (p. 24), and does not take into account institutionalized or hierarchical structures that deny access to opportunities based upon race, class, or gender (Stanton-Salazar, 1997, 2001). According to Morrow (1999) Coleman does not adequately contextualized his framework into a socio-economic and social cultural history, given the dissonance that comprises cross and inter-cultural relations in the United States. Lopez and Stack (2001) expand the argument as they assert that studies of urban change, as it relates to social capital, indicate that such works with and on behalf of states and markets rather than supplanting them. Enforcement procedures, i.e., social closure, also perpetuates cultural dissonance by positioning sources of social power in segregated (i.e., white middle-class) suburbs, severing all paths of positive interaction between whites and minorities. 26
  • 36. Lin (1999), however, suggests that social closure denies the significance of weaker network ties, bridges, or structural holes; meaning, that weak ties are the conduit that facilitates access to positional resources vertically higher in the social hierarchy. Furthermore, Granovetter (1983) emphasizes that network density or social closure, as it relates to low-income and/or a minority community alienates them from access to resources that facilitate mobility. Both authors do not consider social inequality as a critical component or factor in their assertions. Ironically, resource exchanges between neighbors in minority or low-status neighborhoods, indeed, comprise the alienated networks. Their networks primarily facilitate these reciprocal exchanges as a means for survival, which perpetuates or solidifies their embedded alienation. Noguera (1999), however, sees utility in social closure when contextually implemented as a pedagogical vehicle to mobilize traditionally marginalized communities into informative action and proactive oversight relative to parent-school relations and student learning outcomes. Maeroff (1998) alludes to social closure as inner-city school intervention programs endeavor to build sustainable learning communities, incorporating his four prescribed tenets as a means of promulgating social capital to minority youth. Meanwhile, Kahne and Bailey (1999) depict the manner in which social closure, adherence to norms, and effective sanctions serve as the underpinning foundation that catalyzes trusting relationships and the informational, i.e., social capital, interchanges entailed within the collective 27
  • 37. structure. Social capital relative functional utility is useful when it is effectively reconceptualized and, therefore, compatible in the context a social cultural milieu. Social Reproduction, Social Support, and Network Theory Social reproduction presupposes that privileged access to resources fosters differential utility relative to social capital; thus, domination and exploitation reproduces the power structure in perpetuity. Whereas, Bourdieu (1986) conceptualizes capital as into three fundamental components; hence, their efficacy is commensurate to the relative value of convertibility. First, economic capital, is convertible into money and institutionalized in the form of property rights; secondly, cultural capital, is convertible into economic capital and institutionalized in the form of education or credentials; and, finally social capital, which is comprised of obligations or connections and convertible into economic capital; thus, institutionalized in the form of nobility. Cultural capital is the primordial lynchpin that facilitates the relationships under girding social capital, because it is acquirable and projects the power and prestige commensurate with its value relative to economic capital. Embodied, it is an essential component of persona and cannot be transmitted or purchased because it requires specific competence closely linked to the individual, bound to a cultural or class community; objectified, it separates the dominant from those who are marginalized; institutionalized, it predisposes value and qualification for possession, hence exclusivity. 28
  • 38. Social capital relative to the exclusivity entailed by group membership is the actualized or aggregate potential for resources linked to possession or access to a durable network of institutionalized relationships; whereas, group membership predicates access to the resources. Membership in the group entitles them to the collectively owned, “capital” group. Meaning, the degree or amount of social capital possessed by any particular member of the group depends primarily on the vastness of the network connections that one can mobilize, as well as the volume of personal (economic or cultural) capital possessed by those within the network. Group members predicate their ability to extract benefits, i.e., profits, from ownership on the cohesion that originally formulates endeavors to sustain the group. Network connections, however, are not an aberrant occurrence; rather, they are the product of ongoing institutional efforts to produce and reproduce durable bonds to secure material or symbolic benefits or profits. Thus, the network of relationships is the product of strategies contrived to solidify and/or reproduce social relationships that have short or long-term utility. Stanton-Salazar (1997) underscores the importance of these networks and focuses much attention on embedded network alienation relative to marginalized social cultural groups. Low-status or minority networks organize for the purposes of conservation and survival based on scarcity, while cosmopolitan or middle-class groups orient their networks to maximize individual access to institutional resources, privileges, mobility, social advancement, and political empowerment. Formulating supportive relationships with institutional agents or gatekeepers is essential 29
  • 39. concerning minority or low-status youth, particularly those within a school setting, because, while pathways and conduits to privilege are ubiquitous for (white) middleclass youth, entrapments and barriers for minority youth are just as ubiquitous. Stanton-Salazar’s (1997) primary proposition focuses on the role and salience of the “institutional agent” relative to the resources within their own individual social networks, which they marshal while transmitting resources, information, and opportunity to minority and low-status youth. Although social capital lies within the context of the instrumental or supportive relationships as it pertains to the institutional agent (Stanton-Salazar, 1997), he cautions, however, that the possession of social capital is not necessary tantamount to the utilization of such; but, rather, the potential for utilization. Therefore, he posits that success in public education milieus is not simply a matter of cognitive learning and performing skill sets, but also the challenge of learning how to “decode the system.” This entails an explicit or implicit understanding of the rules governing social or, in this case scholastic advancement within the context of the dominant, i.e., white middle class, discourse; meaning it is incumbent upon the institutional agent to convey the codes of power (Delpit, 1988). Unfortunately, social cultural, economic, and institutionalized barriers inhibit consistency and opportunity for routine exchanges relative to agency. Stanton-Salazar (2004) expands upon his argument pertaining to institutional agents and instrumental relationships. He asserts that academic success, as it relates to minority or low status youth does not depend on their ability to internalize 30
  • 40. normative values and identities, but the salience of their connectedness pertaining to resources. Meaning, relationships are positional within the context of social structure; furthermore, social structure is the lynchpin that advances relationships, and their utility or ability to endure. He posits that cultural schemas and procedures delineate power dynamics, as well as domains of influence that dictate social structure, guide, and sustain social interaction. He also submits that resources or influence sustains social relations; thus, groups are either empowered or disempowered relative to the enduring social practices comprising school milieus, government, workplaces, as well as economic institutions. Society, he states, is a complex myriad of hierarchies; thus, social capital pertains to how agents link, within their own networks, to more extensive forms of resources and organizations in a society, whose schemas and structures implicitly delineate access to power, and privilege based on race, class, and gender. Society also establishes the mechanisms by which minority or low-status members cultivate connections and formulate relationships to position themselves toward upward mobility. However, attaining these positional relationships requires the ability to successfully negotiate the barriers or conditions, preclude equitable access to the resources essential to success within the institution. This underscores the need for strategically placed individuals capable poised to marshal systems of support, while drawing from their own social capital in the context of their own networks. 31
  • 41. Meanwhile, Lin (1999) posits that investments in social relations that produce expected returns, i.e., resources, are tantamount to social capital. To identify a construct as social capital, it must contain three essential components: (a) resources embedded in a social structure; (b) individual accessibility to those embedded resources; and, (c) individual mobilization of resources for purposeful action. Embedded resources and network locations are an integral component of productive power; furthermore, they are only as salient as they are accessible through the strength of weak ties, bridges, and structural holes within one’s one embedded network (Granovetter, 1983). Social closure in Coleman terms, along with the network density that it entails, is not conducive to mobility because density may produce or reinforce embedded alienation. Social reproduction, however, as it pertains to the exclusivity and convertibility of cultural capital, in terms of Bourdieu, is insufficient rational because the general population may also reap benefits or profit from such returns on acquisition (Lin, 2001). Thus, while Stanton-Salazar’s social capital framework primarily focuses on relationships, in the context of agency, as conduits to resources, information, and opportunities that facilitate social and academic mobility, Lin (1999, 2001), is primarily interested in the contextualized productivity of network mobilization pertaining to benefit and profitability, in the context of the positional resource proximity relative to power and influence. The closer those embedded networks have access to power and influence, via weak ties (Granovetter, 1983), the greater the likelihood they will produce individual benefit. 32
  • 42. The Plight of Minority and Urban Youth Predominant paradigms concerning race and culture, as well as cultural nuances, which characterize minority and low-status youth developmental processes must be positioned and understood in a socio-historical context; hence, critical analysis is essential to situating these underpinning themes into an operational framework relative to social capital and empowerment. Their salience pertaining to agency is a powerful overriding supposition that predicates the efficacy of the institutional agency relative to an intervention program. Critical Race Theory and the Uniqueness of the Minority Cultural Experience In their article, Ladson-Billings and Tate (1995) suggest that race remains a salient factor influencing the interactions and determining the outcomes for participants in U.S. society. Several generations of scholars have developed historical accounts, and conceptual frameworks of race and racism in the United States. Yet, its salience relative to education remains underplayed and poorly articulated. Articulating race as an extensive theoretical concept is imperative to understanding how it perpetuates systemic inequities in education; meaning, it depicts the underpinning mechanisms, which result in academic disparities between minority and low-status youth, and their white middle-class counterparts. LadsonBillings and Tate (1995) submit three assumptions pertaining to critical race theory, social inequities, and schooling as a contextual milieu. First, race continues to be a significant factor in determining overall (social) inequity in the United States. Second, property rights are an underpinning philosophy driving U.S. society. Finally, 33
  • 43. the confluence of race and property creates an analytical lens that enables or enhances scholarly analysis of social, hence school, inequity. Predominant or popular notions of race as, an ideological construct, abjectly dilutes the reality of how living in a racialized society affects the everyday lives of “raced” people (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995, p. 48). However, if one thinks of race as an entirely objective condition, it impairs the perspective of race as a problematic construct that describes the variegated manners depicting human grouping. Race as a theoretical construct struggles for salient legitimacy in scholarly circles against a backdrop of predominately White, i.e., White Marxist, authors who oversimplify notions of race by convoluting their arguments into tautologies interlaced with issues of ethnicity, class, and gender. As Singleton (2005) also submits, race must be analyzed and discussed as an isolated concept if is to effectively examine its workings relative to social and economic hegemony; and, thus contextualizing its potency in the spectrum of social inequity (Noguera, 1999). The second proposition juxtaposes race with principles of democracy. Upon its founding, the United States re-contextualized democracy into a customized concept to include capitalism as an economic and philosophical ideal. In other words, from its onset, economic hegemony has been the underpinning force formulating governmental principle; hence, the advancement of the country depicts the pursuit, protection, and proliferation of property rights (Cochran et al., 1990; Harris, 1995; Noguera, 1999). Ladson-Billings and Tate (1995) submit that civil rights accrue largely in part through the evolution and modification of property 34
  • 44. rights; meaning, individual property rights are the historical nexus of tensions between ethnic minorities, and their Western European, i.e., white, counterparts upon whose principles that founded this country, e.g., slavery, Native American removal, Japanese Internment. As it relates to education, property is a determining factor pertaining to the quality and quantity of resources of public education. Moreover, its value begets affluence, power, and entitlement; hence, social benefit and better resources (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995). The cornerstone of critical race theory lies within the third proposition: the confluence between race and property rights. This paradigm is the critical lens, which will enhance scholarly analysis and understanding of social and/or school inequity. The authors suggest that the benefits, value, and entitlement relative to property exist in a continuum of, “whiteness” (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995). Property ownership and/or its entailed entitlement beget the rights of disposition measured (and rewarded) against a backdrop of white norms and sanctions. The rights of enjoyment are transferable in a context of white privilege, while the reputation and status entailed by ownership are contrasts with an image of “blackness,” which is referred to as a source of defamation. Finally, property ownership entails the absolute right to exclude, measurable relative to an absence of blackness. As a result, systemic inequities manifest in the quality of programming, as well as learning outcomes between minority groups and their white counterparts. 35
  • 45. Although the authors advance a philosophical argument that resonates through the reader’s consciousness, they wholeheartedly admit that their arguments contain empirical inconsistencies, which are limited to subjective interpretation; nevertheless, many aspects of their propositions are, indeed, measurable, as well as qualitatively plausible. It is important to understand the philosophical complexity relative to critical race, to understand how institutional agents, working on behalf of minority and low-status youth counterbalance the salient affects of systemic biases, which comprise public education milieus, as well as contextualized instructional pedagogy. Ladson-Billings (2000) isolates the African American experience as a unique phenomenon that warrants individual analysis from other experiences, which comprise typically marginalized social cultural groups in our society. The author suggests that teacher preparation literature and other scholarly writing inordinately portrays the African American dilemma within a deficit paradigm; this practice unfortunately typecasts unique constructs, deserving unique critical analysis, into a one universal perspective, regardless of the economic or social circumstance. As a result, its salience is lost in the discussion of issues relative to equity, and convoluted with discussions pertaining to language and culture; in short, the dominant culture dilutes and dismisses the African American experience as an aberrant corruption of the predominant paradigm as it pertains to social justice and school reform. 36
  • 46. The author posits that the experiences of other cultures who encounter racism and oppression are by no means any less significant and important to the overall discussion of equity, social justice, and/or teaching pedagogy. Ladson-Billings (2000), however, juxtaposes the experiences of other races and cultures against that of African Americans and suggesting that the experiences of the latter group are seminal. In other words, they are the only non-indigenous cultural group, relevant to the discussion, brought to the American continent under the auspices of racial slavery (Franklin & Moss, 1988). The prevailing issues comprising the African American experience from the onset of its Western European (i.e., white) history, are a complex and evolving multidimensional dynamic. African Americans and their cultural experiences typically find themselves polarized, from other cultures and ethnic groups who attempt to align themselves in relation to constructs of the dominant culture (King, 1994; Morrison, 1991). The inequities surrounding the plight of African American students and their culture are distinctive, and warrant focused discussion as it relates to rectifying educational disparities; meaning remedy is uniquely prescriptive (Boykin & Tom, 1985; Hollins & Spencer, 1990). The author submits that future scholarly literature must re-conceptualize research to address pedagogy, and considers the unique cultural experiences of individual racialized groups; otherwise, additional frameworks run risk of becoming generic or generalized tautologies of pedagogical perspective. Pedagogical research and/or teacher preparation courses must foster the thought process as it relates to the relationship between the educator and the distinct 37
  • 47. social cultural groups, which comprise the school community, rather than unsubstantiated perceptions of generalized, cultural, and cognitive, deficiency (Ladson-Billings, 2000). This argument resonates throughout various other dimensions of literature, which address this notion; its salience underscores the significance of explicit complex role sets of the institutional agent, as a purveyor of various aspects of social capital. Ream (2005) reminds us that individual cultural groups, as well as various sub-cultural groups within an ethnic group, elicit variegated or disparate value pertaining to the convertibility of social capital (Portes & Landolt, 1996). As Stanton-Salazar (1997) posits, mainstream institutional agents must possess or acquire adequate cultural knowledge to facilitate student engagement: The central problem at the core of analysis of relationships between minority children and adolescents and institutional agents is the construction of interpersonal trust, solidarity, and shared meaning in the context of the institutional relations, which are defined, on the one hand, by hieratical relations of power and institutional “barriers,” and, on the other, by institutionalized dependency. Given that working-class minority children and youths are structurally more dependent on non-familial institutional agents for various forms of institutional support, the problematics of interweaving extended trust and solidarity become ever so salient, especially because in the absence of such solidarity, institutional support rarely occurs (p. 17). Re-conceptualizing Models of Minority Child Development Providing an alternative conceptual framework pertaining to minority youth development patterns is essential to understanding how predominant theoretical paradigms concerning child development, coupled with societal tendencies can 38
  • 48. seemingly conspire to perpetuate the embedded alienation of minority and low-status youth. Thus, underscoring the importance of the institutional agency as a counterstratification mechanism, whereas individuals endeavor to convey essential resources, information, and opportunities that facilitate the academic and social mobility of minority and low-status youth; hence, fostering their empowerment. This understanding is essential byproduct of the intervention program’s effectiveness because the developmental process as it pertains to minority or low status youth is unique or different from their white, middle-class counterparts. Persons involved in minority or low-status youth intervention designs must, furthermore, mobilize their social capital with this awareness in mind in order to be effective. Spencer (1990) submits that trained researchers advance their studies depicting the interactive stages of child development based on obsolete models, because they fail to incorporate the affects of socioeconomic status and race into their analyses of children, relative to developmental milestones. In addition, the author juxtaposes the notion of “normative” development against her assertion that researchers measure such standards in a Eurocentric paradigm (Ogbu, 1985); and, thus, conceptually flawed because they do not account for the cultural nuances entailed that must be situated in a social historical context. Meaning, if there are widely-shared cultural practices relative to parenting among working class African Americans, those practices developed as an historical process, in the context of white domination and exploitation; hence, the adaptive modes, which comprise minority parenting. Spencer (1990) also posits the idea that analyzing learning styles without 39
  • 49. conceptualizing variegated cultural nuances conflicts assumes that all cultural experiences are neutral rather than unique. “Colorblindness” is not a viable lens with which to view individual developmental dynamics within a social-historically contextualized paradigm. To disavow the impact of minority experiences from the analysis of developmental dynamics is to dismiss the impact of popular images and negative stereotypes on the individual self-concept and responses of minority children. By adolescence, many minority children have acquired a complex array of coping or defense mechanisms to mitigate the complexities of societal inequities relative to their individual self-concept. Normative, stage-related developmental analyses shortchange the ability of the researcher to understand identity formation relative to minority youth, as well as the establishing accurate causal connections between identity formation and life outcomes. Child development, as well as education will suffer egregiously if fails to acknowledge or address constructs pertaining to racial prejudice and/or societal inequities. The author presupposes this rationale to advance the idea that society must begin to rethink dominant culture or majority-oriented teaching methods and cognitive interpretation paradigms, given that minority family dynamics are constantly evolving relative to ever-changing societal pressures and realities. On one hand, Spencer’s (1990) argument pertaining to the adaptive modes of minority parenting are philosophically plausible, but somewhat underdeveloped. Nevertheless, they are salient propositions that yield insight into existing 40
  • 50. deficiencies, which require considerable modification if contemporary research models are to retain their field relevance. The underdeveloped conceptualization relative to the adaptive modes of minority parenting, however, creates ambiguous connections between prevailing child development models and educational practices. This conceptual weakness lends itself to undermining scrutiny, because the primary premise demands additional empirical articulation. Van Ausdale and Feagin (2002) surmise that race and racial dynamics manifest in the interactions between children, as well as those between children and adults from the onset of school and schooling; contrary to predominant notions of early childhood development. As the authors point out, rather than waiting for a natural stage or cycle to activate that allows them to systematically process contextualized experiences, children observe, process, and experiment with their surrounding world based on their own interactions as well those by adults; hence, their social connections. Garcia-Coll et al. (1996) also assert that contemporary researchers and scholars have yet to propose or adopt an understanding that explains the variegated developmental patterns of minority children as they navigate through their unique experiences of social inequity (p.1892). In addition, the authors introduce the idea that minority family and kin networks help minority children mitigate the negative affects of socioeconomic hardship, and racial oppression. They also suggest that researchers need to incorporate a contextual understanding of minority family 41
  • 51. networks to gain greater insight as to how these relationships mitigate the ill affects of social positioning, relative to the developmental dynamic. Although the authors admit that there is no theoretical or empirical evidence to rationalize variations in developmental processes between minority children and their white counterparts, there are distinct differentiations unique to ecological circumstances that either promote or inhibit the cognitive development of minority children. The authors submit, as does Spencer (1990), that if traditional or normative methodologies are to be reliable, then they need to account for these variations and/or developmental adaptations, which do occur. The work of Stanton-Salazar and Spina (2000) is a critical bridge fortifying this argument, because they offer insight, in contrast to conventional paradigms relative to minority youth resiliency. Youth resiliency is a systematic process where agents facilitate acquisition of coping skills to counterbalance the affects of systemic and/or institutional bias. Meaning, they marshal support, and positional resources that enable minority youth to cope, overcome, and transcend barriers. The strength of Garcia-Coll et al.’s (1996) argument lie in the fact that they introduce a conceptual framework from which traditional models can broaden the theoretical foundation of knowledge. The authors posit their integrative model based upon two important suppositions. First, that the constructs salient to children of color explain unique variations in the developmental processes; secondly, although many of these constructs are also relevant to the developmental processes of other 42
  • 52. populations, i.e., white, variations occur because of differentiation concerning the affect of these constructs on a particular individual. Garcia-Coll et al. (1996) categorize their propositions into two distinct variable discussions: (a) social positioning; and, (b) social stratification mechanisms. Social positioning refers to the salient effects of race, in terms of skin color, i.e., skin tones or shades. Van Audsale and Feagin (2002) surmise that in terms of proximal development this aspect of identity, indeed, may be one of the first distinctions affecting racial consciousness; social class, in terms of economics and/or value considerations pertaining to affluence; ethnicity, as it relates to cultural distinctness; and gender, in terms of role appropriation. It is important to note, that the authors discuss race, as a separate or isolated entity, from that of class, ethnicity, and gender. Ladson-Billings and Tate (1995) suggest that such is essential to a fundamental understanding of its salience as a construct. Social stratification mechanisms include racism, whereas, the acquisition of wealth or higher social status may buffer its ill affects. Noguera (1999), however, cautions that acquisition of wealth, i.e., cultural capital, may mitigate some of the affects of racial bias and/or discrimination, it does not necessarily guarantee its alleviation. Prejudice, refers the manner of how children acquire self and group concepts based upon racial and ethnic constructs; thus, discrimination in treatment, manifests through prejudice. Oppression is the relevant in terms of how individual children and groups internalize the manifestations of prejudice (Garcia-Coll et al., 1996). Van Ausdale and Feagin 43
  • 53. (2002) also submit that children make these distinctions from the onset of their interactions with each other, from the colors they choose to associate their affinity towards, in the context of an activity, to those they impose on one another relative to their own preliminary perceptions of identity. Finally, Garcia-Coll et al. (1996) discuss how residential, economic, social, and psychological segregation are salient factors, which mediate between social positioning variables and developmental outcomes. On the one hand, they submit empirical evidence that these constructs indeed have inhibiting factors as they manifest in schools, neighborhoods, and health care relative to “normative” environments, ideologically speaking, as well as resource limitations. The authors highlight, however, that many of these segregated networks also have promoting or protecting aspects to them, which enable children to adapt internal mechanisms enabling them to mitigate the dissonance between home and school environments. Nevertheless, Garcia et al. (1996) conclude that a paradigm shift in research on how these factors manifest in the developmental patterns, variations, and/or adaptations of children of color is essential to a broader understanding of the cognitive developmental complexity, relative to cultural nuance. Community Based Intervention Programs and Institutional Agency Empowerment is the product, which fosters academic and social mobility, while institutional agency in a social capital framework is the vehicle that facilitates the empowerment process. Many successful community based intervention programs implicitly infer many theoretical constructs depicting the complex role 44
  • 54. dynamics pertaining to institutional agents, as purveyors of social capital; hence, empowering processes, facilitating the academic and social mobility relative of minority and low-status youth. Some intervention programs underestimate the critical role of the institutional agent, as a facilitator of empowerment. Understanding the role of the institutional agent, in terms of their ability to strategically mobilize resources and elicit assistance from other agents, on behalf of minority and low-status youth is a critical link that lends insight into the processes by which agents successfully fulfill the task of socializing youth in manners that are authentically empowering. For minority or low-status youth, who grow-up amidst racialized and class-stratified social structures, it would seem that extraordinary forms of empowerment would be necessary to foster academic and social mobility. Theoretical frameworks that articulate this process are only now beginning to emerge in scholarly literature. Thus, institutional agency as articulated in a critical social capital framework could be an important analytical vehicle for understanding the empowerment process. Empowerment Theory Empowerment applies much of the same rationale articulated by scholars who portray depictions of social closure in the context of an intervention program or relative to instructional pedagogy, implemented in a manner that instills a sense collective efficacy and elicits positive student learning outcomes. One drawback that undermines the salience of empowerment literature is the fact that much of it fails to corroborate theoretical conjecture with research-base outcomes. This leaves much of 45
  • 55. the interventions relative to empowerment without a framework conceptualization; juxtaposed to circumstances that find us without empirically grounded theoretical frameworks that articulate social stratification versus counter-stratification (Perkins, 1995). Zimmerman (1995) posits that empowerment embodies different forms relative to context, populations, and developmental stages; thus, mechanizing or measuring empowerment constructs in the scope of a single circumstance, albeit other situational conditions, is a tenuous exercise. He submits that universal constructs or measures of empowerment are unfeasible. Nevertheless, he endeavors to isolate values, processes, and outcomes into separate theoretical discussions in an effort to formulate measuring criteria. Although they are interdependent, separate analysis of each construct contextualized in the dynamic of an intervention lends credibility to supposition concerning generalizations of empowerment constructs. In their qualitative study of Community-Based intervention designs, Maton and Salem (1995) surmise that organizations and programs that instilling a sense of personal and collective efficacy relative to participants predicates group productivity and/or individual outcome-based success. Their analysis involves the dynamics of a religious fellowship, a mutual help program for the mentally disabled, and an educational program for urban African American youth. Similar to Coleman (1998), belief systems shape the group setting structures, as well as goals and norms that govern individual behavior, group conformity, and/or social closure. Meanwhile, opportunity role structure facilitates reciprocal exchanges that foster individual 46
  • 56. growth and self-esteem. Support systems afford individual members access to resources within their embedded networks; thus, fortifying their ability to be resilient when facing adversity. Finally, effective leadership provides the inspiration and the vision necessary to accomplish organizational goals; meaning, (institutional) agency is tantamount to efficacious leadership. Maton and Salem (1995) surmise that empowerment is the process of enabling individuals through participatory exchanges, while endeavoring to achieve common goals. These constructs are observable across their case studies, and allow them to deduce four key organizational characteristics relative to empowerment. Their argument is somewhat limited because they do not advance their propositions across other settings, such as an analysis of those constructs, which are conducive to disempowering results and outcomes; thus, they cannot generalize their findings into a conceptual framework. Rich, Edelstein, Hallman, and Wandersman (1995) employ a multidisciplinary analysis to various constructs of empowerment, by separating and conceptualizing each construct as an independent component; hence, constructing a model for analysis. Formal or structural empowerment refers to the political context, in which the decision-making process facilitates local control. Intrapersonal empowerment is a measurement of confidence and/or competence, contextualized according to dynamics of the specific situation in question, while instrumental empowerment refers to action facilitated through individual participation in the 47
  • 57. context of the collective or citizen body. Finally, organizational empowerment is a substantive measurement of effective action by the collective or citizen body. The authors use these constructs to examine both public and private policy implementations relative to the efficacy of a collective or community and their efforts to mobilize for the purposes of influencing policy outcomes. Thus, they measure the implications of partnership dynamics in the context of community building for the purposes of decision-making, which in this case involves environmental politics and policies. The authors’ premise, however, assumes that these constructs exist in a culturally neutral or static environment, which does not consider the salient affects of social cultural and socioeconomic marginalization. Therefore, eliciting generalizations applicable to alternative milieus becomes a tenuous exercise, because they do not account for the disempowering aspects of race, culture, and economics. Speer, Jackson, and Peterson’s (2001) mixed methods study relative to social cohesion strengthens the tenuous argument endeavoring to link theoretical constructs of empowerment to corroborated research. The authors expand upon Zimmerman’s (1995) work, by examining and measuring the psychological constructs of empowerment (i.e., interpersonal, interaction-related, and behavioral). Their study of empowerment, in the context of social cohesion, expands upon the hypothesis that pervasive inequality undermines the social fabric; and, disparity within specific populations, consequently, leads to negative outcomes relative to health and wellness. In the first phase of their study, they measure empowerment, in the context 48
  • 58. of connectedness and participation, while the second phase of their study examines the relationship between social cohesion and empowerment, in the context of unconnected non-participation. Although the first phase of their study replicated previous scholarly examinations of intrapersonal empowerment, it also enhanced its findings by extending the line of inquiry into an examination of empowerment in the context of interaction; hence, confirming the strong correlation between participation and interpersonal empowerment, as well as a strong correlation between participation, interaction, and empowerment. The second phase of their study, though, interestingly revealed that despite a low perception of community some subjects retained a high sense of empowerment relative to their level of participation; meaning, that the two empowerment constructs need further examination together, relative to social cohesion, rather than as separate isolated entities. The findings suggest that while participation may be more important than a sense of community for intrapersonal empowerment, a sense of community is more essential to interaction-related empowerment rather than participation. Again, however, the findings were not without limitations. The authors cautioned that data collection methods, as well as cultural overrepresentation relative to sample selection hamper the ability to generalize about large-scale group dynamics. Nevertheless, this work affords future researchers tangible design methods by which to measure empowerment in the context of social cohesion. 49
  • 59. Intervention and Agency McLaughlin, Irby, and Langman (1994) offer in-depth narratives of various individual leaders committed to improving the lives and conditions of inner-city youth, as they endeavor to implement intervention programs tailored to address the unique needs of the communities and youth they serve. The author’s surmise that in each particular depiction, what each individual leader or, “wizard” does, as opposed to how they do it, is an integral component relative to the overall efficacy of program implementation efforts. They infer elements functionalism, such as social closure, collective trust and cohesion, norms and sanctions, as the primary social capital mechanism, which underpin each intervention cycle; meaning, they, indeed, exemplify the role of the institutional agent as an essential element of program success, without necessarily discussing (institutional) agency as an isolated construct. Ironically, they also submit that these individual efforts do not lend themselves to program replication or universal treatments. Nevertheless, these individuals commit themselves, while channeling their knowledge and resources to tap into and redirect local networks so that program efficacy may extend beyond the boundaries of their communities; hence, inner city youth can gain access to resources, institutions, and opportunities in society’s mainstream. Interestingly, “social closure” in terms of Coleman (1988) is a typical aspect of each program; indeed, they underscore the importance of cultivating trusting relationships, establishing and/or advancing group (or community) norms and values, reciprocity in exchange, while maintaining cohesion through enforcement of 50
  • 60. sanctions (Coleman, 1988; Portes, 1998). Significantly, within the scope of each program, the leaders re-contextualize group norms and values in a manner that is relevant to the situational social cultural dynamics that characterize the specific communities they serve; hence, there are no underlying dissonance constructs undermining implementation efficacy (Kahne & Bailey, 1999; Maeroff, 1998; Noguera, 1999). Many of the individual programs also seek to bridge relationships and resources between the communities they serve and mainstream components that facilitate social mobility, while teaching youth the codes of power and/or “rules of the game” (Delpit, 1988; Granovetter, 1983; Lin, 1999). Many programs portrayed in this depiction tacitly infuse healthy balances of social closure, as well as resource and network orientation in a manner that fosters program efficacy and, thus, youth empowerment; yet, the depictions of program implementation, unfortunately, overlook the deeper dimensions of the leaders as it pertains to their roles as institutional agents. The narratives seemingly yearn for a broader, deeper intellectual and/or theoretical discussion to draw out the salient affects of these amazing individuals as they endeavor to improve the lives of inner-city youth. Williams and Kornblum (1985) portray the experiences of resilient children who, despite multiple risk factors such as abject poverty, and harsh or dangerous environmental surroundings seemingly overcome adversity and advance themselves toward social mobility. The authors use the term, “superkids” to illustrate the descriptions of these youth relative to the vicissitudes they must surmount. Yet, the 51
  • 61. authors also submit that the common denominator throughout their depictions of youth prevailing over tribulation is at least one significant adult in the child’s family or proximal networks, supporting them in a manner that facilitates their ability to navigate through social cultural and socioeconomic barriers and achieve academic success. Unfortunately, the authors’ characterization of the support mechanisms or people underpinning the success of these youth, despite overwhelmingly negative environs and circumstances, remains superficially descriptive and, mainly, underdeveloped. The actions of those individuals who position themselves to support these “superkids” exemplify the nomenclature of institutional agency; thus, their role beckons thorough and comprehensive analysis. The notion that these exceptional youth are, indeed, superkids is somewhat misleading; rather, characterizing them as youth possessing efficacious support systems in the context of positional resources is an accurate description of their relationship dynamics, considering the outcome of their learning and mobility endeavors. Meanwhile, Hernandez’s (1995) study cautions that well-intentioned interventions involving implicit socialization efforts, if implemented without proper network and/or comprehensive support mechanisms, also generate dissonance and discord, rather than positive results. His depiction of prospective socialization efforts relative to grouping Latina female youth in the Hispanic Mother-Daughter Program (HMDP) and successful Latina businesspersons portrays a single 52
  • 62. intervention entailing three separate interfaces, coupled with survey analysis of the participants’ individual locus of control and self-concept. Results following the intervention revealed that the students had high goals and aspirations; therefore, participants found the career information they received as particularly useful. The manner in which role models portrayed success, as an “all or nothing phenomenon” (p. 261), left youth participants with the perception that success entailed extraordinary or “superhuman” effort; therefore, highly unlikely. Meaning, role models seemingly inferred that determination and a hard-work ethic, coupled with familial re-socialization into an pro-academic value system predicated success; all while ignoring the fundamental processes of institutional support and social capital development as means of overcoming socioeconomic and social cultural constraints, which play an integral role relative to success. Importantly, the role models did not employ their embedded networks to avail positional resources and information to the youth participants on a consistent basis resulted in disconnect, rather than discourse. Additionally, Hernandez (1995) submits that interventions such as HMDP, undertaken in a social cultural or genderbased context, must be comprehensive and ongoing to elicit positive outcomes relative to inspiration, self-efficacy, and self-confidence. Hernandez (1995) implies that programs, such as HMDP require theories of change, which explicitly articulate the empowering results relative to instituting mechanisms targeted to enhancing social capital of youth participants, as well as program leaders, hence, fostering the empowerment of both. Meaning, that program leaders may effectively assume the 53
  • 63. complex role set of an institutional agent, bridging institutional funds of knowledge, thus, facilitating academic and social mobility (Stanton-Salazar, 1997). Ladson Billings’ (1995) observational analysis of successful teacher pedagogy relative to African American students offers insight into how recontextualized mechanisms of social closure in terms of Coleman (1988), implemented in a culturally competent manner, result in positive student learning outcomes. Her primary supposition lies in that socialization can be empowering if the process seeks to compliment and expand upon the positive contextual aspects of the cultural community it seeks to treat, and instill it with a collective sense of ownership and esteem, rather than supplant it with dominant cultural norms; thus, socialization facilitates efficacious results. Although, Ladson-Billings (1995) explicitly underscores the role of the teacher as an integral component in facilitating an environment, through pedagogy and ethos, conducive to positive student learning outcomes, her work still beckons for a formal scholarly discussion concerning the operational mechanisms occurring in the classroom relative to teachers (i.e., institutional agency). Ironically, she briefly introduces (institutional) agency without formally conceptualizing it in her recommendations for pedagogical reform; nevertheless, she infers its importance in terms of Bourdieu, as a salient counter stratification construct relative to the status quo (Stanton-Salazar, 1997). 54
  • 64. Social Capital Theory in the Context of Intervention and Institutional Agency Many interventions explicitly articulate the relevant theoretical mechanisms of social capital underpinning a specific programmatic processes within the context of an intervention, lends scholarly insight into the components of empowerment; when isolated, provide a coherent rationale depicting the congruence of social capital and empowerment theories operationalized relative to the role of the institutional agent. Academically Oriented Programs and Theoretical Utility Maeroff (1998) explicitly articulates the theoretical mechanisms of social closure as it pertains to the various intervention programs depicted in this particular work (pp. 4-18). He submits that a primary cause of dysfunctional communities, which typically characterizes the situation of many blighted urban communities, is the lack of social cohesion; consequently, community dysfunction becomes a common denominator pertaining to the spillover affect relative to school dysfunction (Coleman, 1988; Ogbu, 1985). Thus, he asserts that functional school communities are essential to functional schools; meaning, those key ingredients comprising community must be artificially infused where and when they do not previously exist. In other words, community and cohesion are paramount to successful reform efforts. The primary suppositions advanced in suppositions regarding school reform revolve around four themes or, “senses:” (a) sense of connectedness; (b) a sense of well-being; (c) a sense of academic initiative; and (d) a sense of knowing. Whereas, connectedness entails forging relationships linking students and families with school 55
  • 65. as it pertains to social identity, as well as communication and dialogue (Noguera, 1999). Well-being involves schools linking students and families in need with critical health and social services to help them combat the affects of abject poverty (e.g., instability in the home, gangs and violence). Academic initiative entails raising expectations and improving the quality of classroom instruction in a manner that facilitates academic achievement; hence, overall improvement in student learning outcomes. Finally, knowing implies the critical role of the institutional agent who is poised and prepared to equip students with the knowledge base; empowering them with the resources and opportunities essential to their mobility. Thus, he invokes the importance of Stanton-Salazar’s (1997) work pertaining to relational resources and embedded networks as critical to advancing social competency. Kahne and Bailey (1999) depict a comparative case study analysis of an intervention program, “I Have a Dream” (IHAD), which uses explicit components of social closure to convey social capital to minority youth (Coleman, 1988). Social trust is the primary element, hence the fulcrum, from which all other social capital components in the IHAD support strategy originate. Relationships foster access to information and resources. Norms and sanctions facilitate an atmosphere of high academic expectations and standards of character. This condition is the result of a functional community, where reciprocal exchanges occur on a routine basis within the confines of a safe and healthy social environment. 56
  • 66. Effective IHAD programs, however, elicited a positive impact on student learning outcomes because the Program Coordinators (PC), indeed, cultivated the relationships, while maintaining the essential consistency of the program essential facilitating a climate and ethos predicated upon social trust, i.e. normative constructs. Importantly, social trust (or lack thereof), indeed, in normative terms is the critical lynchpin that determines outcomes entailing productive mobility, or those that foster dissonance within the context of an intervention. The program coordinator’s efficacy is clearly the result of successfully navigating the precarious social cultural nuances relative to the community dynamics. In many cases, the program coordinators use their resources and information, or, a differential resources model to bridge relationships between students, i.e., clients, and teacher; hence, fostering the engagement necessary to forge reciprocal exchanges. The authors infer that their efficacy is related to the salience of the complex dynamics within their roles as institutional agents. Additionally, the authors submit that effective PCs invoke resources and information within their own embedded networks, to facilitate students’ ability to draw upon strong ties within their own extensive networks, i.e., PCs and staff, to gain access to resources and information via weak ties outside their networks (Granovetter, 1983; Lin, 1999). Students learn to adopt dominant group practices for instrumental purposes, in essence, to make a “system” not necessarily designed to operate on their behalf, nonetheless, work for them, i.e., economic survival; therefore, predicating their strategic socialization into the dominant group’s cultural 57
  • 67. capital without forsaking their own expressive culture (Mehan, Hubbard, & Villanueva, 1994; Stanton-Salazar, 2004). The authors, however, also submit that inconsistencies in the effectiveness of the program coordinator relate to their ability to cultivate and maintain the relationships, which are necessary to facilitate social trust and prevent the rise of skepticism and discord. Programs hampered by skepticism or communal disconnect, ultimately resulted in failure. In addition, IHAD did not effectively integrate parents into the program. The authors suggest that effective parental involvement increased salient bridging between the IHAD program and families, which increased the program’s overall efficacy as it relates to community and social cohesion. Meanwhile, Mehan, Villanueva, Hubbard, and Lintz (1996) offer theoretical insight into the explicit dynamics of academic socialization entailed in AVID. Through comparative case study analysis, the authors depict the intricacies of social scaffolding through patterns of language and behavior encumbered in AVID’s untracking effort designed to assist students from typically marginalized social cultural groups gain access to higher-level academic courses in secondary education; thus, increasing the likelihood of participants gaining entry into colleges and universities. In other words, AVID PCs explicitly teach implicit classroom and school culture, relative to high standards and expectations of academic performance, and mediate the relationships between families, (High) schools, and colleges (Mehan, Hubbard, Lintz, & Villanueva, 1994; Stanton-Salazar, Vasquez, & Mehan, 2000). 58
  • 68. The AVID PC and teacher facilitators become the primary purveyors of social capital, through social scaffolding efforts, as they endeavor to infuse middle or upper class socialization patterns relative to networks and relationships into the academic cultural and behavioral discourse patterns of low-income and/or minority student participants. Mehan et al. (1996) surmise that the AVID program is design to infuse elements of social reproduction relative to social capital into the discourse patterns of student participants (Bourdieu, 1986; Stanton-Salazar, 2001). On the other hand, however, Mehan, Hubbard, and Villanueva (1994) assert that PCs do not undertake such efforts to assimilate students into mainstream cultural dynamics, because such practices create dissonance and tend to alienate student participants. AVID seeks to empower students with cultural capital via the language and resources conducive to mobility into their own cultural experiences (Stanton-Salazar, Vasquez, & Mehan, 2000). AVID attains efficacious counter stratification results by re-contextualizing core principles into a critical ideology that enables student participants to navigate successfully between their primary cultural discourse patterns and their academic cultures (Mehan, Hubbard, & Villanueva, 1994; Mehan et al., 1996). Mehan et al. (1996) also infer the critical role of the institutional agent relative to AVID, as they analyze variegated saliency in results between the programs depicted in their study. The effectiveness of the PC, pertaining to their ability to elicit buy-in from the entire school-wide learning community and advance program components throughout the instructional curriculum likely determines the 59
  • 69. overall efficacy of the site-based program. This also has an overall impact on student learning outcomes. Paradoxically speaking, the authors suggest that universal proliferations of AVID ideals are a tenuous aim at best, because the program’s collective socialization efforts conflict with the individualistic mindset that characterizes prevailing mainstream culture. Stanton-Salazar, Vasquez, and Mehan (2000) submit that AVID efficacy would increase exponentially if schools and districts, indeed, devoted more social resources towards its proliferation. Unfortunately, they also assert that unless schools and districts make significant changes in their organizational and school structure AVID will not be able to affect large-scale improvement in student learning outcomes. Nevertheless, Mehan et al. (1999) posit that the PC’s role is the critical lynchpin that predicates positive impact relative to program efficacy, as well as eliciting positive student learning outcomes, despite the fact that the authors briefly broach agency as an isolated construct. Thus, the role of the PC still yearns for a comprehensive discussion, in the context of institutional agency, in their analysis of AVID’s overall program successes and shortcomings. Stanton-Salazar (2004) also highlights the integral role of the AVID PC or teacher relative to institutional agency. He posits that AVID’s salience, therefore, its efficacy lie in the tacit or “hidden curriculum”(p. 32); whereas, the AVID PC and teachers, as institutional agents, reinforce social and academic norms in a manner that fosters reciprocal exchanges of support; thus, providing conduits or access to networks, resources, and opportunities that facilitate their social and academic 60
  • 70. mobility. He also submits that reciprocal exchanges between peers serve to promulgate social and academic norms, relative to AVID; thus, cultivating additional peer-group networks, in which peers, themselves, become mutual support systems bridging each other towards resources and information to advance their academic mobility. Conchas (2001) analyzes the underlying institutional and social cultural mechanisms relative to variegated Latino student learning outcomes, within the scope of small thematic academies comprising a medium-sized urban high school. Conchas’ two-year participatory observational study depicts various interrelated dissonance constructs portraying the interpersonal relationship dynamics within the general school population, the Advanced Placement (AP) program, and the Graphics Academy; in contrast, harmonious support networks facilitating access to resources, information, and opportunities characterizes the relationship and interpersonal dynamics of the Medical Academy. The general school program consisted of disengaged majority Latino students marred by low achievement and lacks the support networks facilitating access to resources and opportunities for academic mobility (Stanton-Salazar, 1997, 2001); leaving students marginalized and alienated within the context of the academic milieu, and pessimistic concerning their future prospects. On the other hand, the AP program reflected a social cultural makeup unrepresentative of the demographic composition of the school; while African Americans and Latino comprised 85% of the school’s population, they only comprised 18% of the enrollment in the AP 61
  • 71. program. Interestingly, Latino students in the AP program, as well as the Graphics program found themselves in a precarious paradox entailing fragmented bonds between Latino students in other academic communities as the result of ability grouping, while alienated from each other as the result of the aggressive and intense competition within the context of a program based on high-achievement. Consequently, the relationship dynamics and social exchanges between Latino students were, for the most part, unhealthy and/or dysfunctional, leaving them depressed, and anxiety ridden. The Medical Academy was an entirely different dichotomy, whose student population more accurately reflected the racial/ethnic composition of the school. Students also forged strong healthy bonds with each other in normative terms, facilitating beneficial peer exchanges and systems of support (Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2004). In addition, teacher-student relationships also fostered an atmosphere conducive to resource and network models of social capital; where healthy exchanges of resources, information, and opportunities facilitated positive student learning outcomes, as well as their mobility. The author explicitly submits that the mixture of appropriately contextualized pedagogy, coupled with networks of institutional support was essential to the academy’s success; instilling positive selfefficacy a sense of empowerment relative to students’ future prospects. Social Capital, Social Support, and Educational Outcomes Educational outcomes are, indeed, a critical component in the scope of analysis within the literature depicted in this synthesis; moreover, educational 62
  • 72. outcomes are a construct resulting from the confluence of social capital, empowerment, and agency. Examining its efficacy, as an isolated construct relative the role of the institutional agency in an empowerment paradigm is essential to understanding how variegated benefits pertaining to social capital product disparate outcomes concerning minority and low-status youth. Ream (2005) argues that mobility is a salient construct, which contributes to the variegated levels of social capital benefit between Mexican-American youth and their non-Latino White counterparts, with regards to academic achievement; meaning, he posits that different forms of peer social capital have differential exchange value. He introduces a longitudinal study designed to analyze the following hypothesis: (a) whether Mexican American adolescents learn less in school because they have less access to peer social capital, because of their mobility frequency throughout their school careers; and, (b) whether there is distinction between the availability of social capital and its convertibility. Through surveys and quantitative methods, he analyzes the frequency of student mobility between 8th and 12th grades, while using aggregate K-8 mobility counts as a control. Although the study revealed similar mobility rate frequencies between Mexican American youth and non-Latino Whites, the results revealed that despite similar mobility patterns there were, indeed, 12th test score performance disparities between the two groups. In addition, the data highlights the premium of peer connectedness as relates to Mexican American youth, as reflected in their 12th grade (reading) test scores, while highlighting the comparative disadvantaged position they 63
  • 73. find themselves as it relates to barriers or disruptions within those relationships, such as mobility (Conchas, 2001; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2004). The author submits that timing of disruption (i.e., relocation) affects the quality, depth, and breadth of peer group and network dynamic, e.g., interactions, trust, in a manner, and diminishes the value of the relationships, (Stanton-Salazar, 2001). The author’s generalizations pertaining to variegated exchanges of social capital between ethnic groups, however, need further examination and/or measurement regarding the specific values and benefit of each construct, a tedious task at best. The author calls for further investigation pertaining to specific construct measurement; thus, although his findings are, indeed, an important component advancing his argument, they are somewhat limited, if not spurious because they lack in-depth profundity. Perhaps, an expanded analysis of a discussion topic in previous scholarly writing would fortify the author’s premises and conclusions relative to social capital and variegated utility; the subject of this particular work. In his earlier publication, Ream (2003) introduces the term, “counterfeit social capital” to describe a condition depicting teacher-student relationships that seemingly sabotage social capital convertibility. Whereas, rather than maintaining an ethos based upon high academic expectations, given some lack of intrinsic motivation on the part of the student, the teacher assumes an accommodator role in the interest of preserving collective harmony at the expense of advancing academic content; thus, subverting the possibility of eliciting positive student learning outcomes. Unfortunately, the author 64
  • 74. only posits this argument in tertiary terms. In contrast, Ladson-Billings (1995) posits a similar supposition and commences with an in-depth discussion of the social cultural disparities, which manifest in the classroom, and their implications in the context of equity pedagogy and subsequent student learning outcomes. In short, she suggests that such is a merely a dichotomized microcosm of the systemic biases, which depict and plague our society. Theoretical Convergence and Opportunities for Expanded Articulation Theoretical convergence or congruence is the culminating supposition of this synthesis of literature, as it pertains to social capital in the context of institutional agency; whereas, the theoretical camps of social capital naturally merge with empowerment theory in a manner that underscores the critical role of institutional agents as facilitators of academic and social mobility. Noguera (2002) seemingly attains theoretical congruence as he chronicles the plight of an urban Oakland, California community disenfranchised pertaining to the quality of schools, education, and student learning outcomes. While depicting the cumbersome task cultivating social capital via bridging entails, as a means of connecting blighted communities to resources, networks, and structures to elicit assistance from persons or institutions that have access to money and power; hence, he posits that bolstering weak ties to outside networks is essential to social or community cohesion (Granovetter, 1983; Lin, 1999, 2000). He also asserts, however, that social closure is essential, because community cohesion is conducive to efficacious bonding to resources and benefits in a manner that can potentially 65
  • 75. galvanize collective entities into action. Noguera (1999) submits that this process is what facilitates the process of change or improvement. He concludes that continued efforts of community-based organizations to cultivate social capital by organizing and educating parent groups is integral to fostering both individual and collective efficacy. Therefore, he effectively merges different components of the two theoretical camps into a conceptual framework, which presupposes that community engagement begets social capital, which as a result promotes empowerment (Maton & Salem, 1995; Rich et al., 1995). Stanton-Salazar and Spina (2004) depict theoretical congruence as they discuss the importance of peer networks as systems of support for minority youth; and, that these support networks mitigate or buffer the negative affects of marginality entailed in normative social dynamics; thus, transforming cycles of embedded alienation into social capital conduits that facilitate access to middle-class institutional resources. In other words, relationship networks predicate the proliferation of weak ties (Granovetter, 1983; Lin, 1999, 2000). Therefore, StantonSalazar and Spina (2004) posit that embedded peer networks fortified by cultural principles of trust and social support are conducive to individual and collective efficacy, as well as academic achievement and developmental gains despite stressors and barriers associated with acculturation, social cultural and socioeconomic marginalization. 66
  • 76. Stanton-Salazar and Spina (2004) surmise that fostering supportive relationship dynamics entails creating the social and psychological conditions, within the context of an institution, which are conducive to cultivation; meaning, they consider, to some extent, that social closure as an integral component of this equation (Noguera, 1999, 2002). Ultimately, though, the authors presuppose that efforts relative to relationship dynamics endeavor to empower individuals, in the context of a collective entity, and maximize their ability to access the resources, information, and opportunities that will facilitate mobility (Maton & Salem, 1995; Zimmerman, 1995). In addition, empowerment also substantially reconciles the scholarship of Stanton-Salazar (1997, 2001, 2004) with that of Nan Lin (1999, 2000). In other words, the relationship networks that facilitate productive power are tantamount to social capital in the context of individual or collective action, relative to accessing resources and information that ultimately fosters mobility and/or benefit. Empowerment literature, as an isolated theoretical construct still beckons for succinct conceptualization fortified by research-based results, to articulate and rationalize its mechanisms and outcomes. Conger and Kanungo (1988) submit an analytical of business management and psychology dimensions from which to examine the relational dynamics of various constructs of empowerment, while also examining components that manifest into conditions of disempowerment. Vagueness and ambiguity relative to research and articulation, however, allow continued debate concerning how theoretical components of manifest into practice (Wilkinson, 1997). Meanwhile, empowerment encompasses Stanton-Salazar and 67
  • 77. Spina’s (2000) discussion, which re-conceptualizes minority youth resiliency into a developmental framework. This discussion also includes examining the salience of (institutional) agents as purveyors of positional resources, in an effort to convey the necessary mechanisms of support that foster coping skills, and facilitate healthy, functional socialization; hence resiliency. Nevertheless, Speer et al. (2001) converges empowerment language with social closure, in a broad attempt to reconcile theoretical language with measurable constructs and apply them to examine the natures and nuances of a social dynamic; thus, inferring, through social closure, social capital is the salient vehicle through which individuals and collective entities become empowered. Hence, the author of this study posits that the two prevailing theoretical camps of social capital are not necessarily contrasting conceptual notions; rather, they afford scholars with a theoretical language to articulate empowerment and the saliency of the institutional agent as a vehicle to conduce social capital, hence, empowerment. Conclusion The literatures discussed in this critical synthesis open the door to a unique opportunity for further research and articulation. Whereas, social capital theory offers empowerment literature succinct insight pertaining to how institutional contexts mechanize or deconstruct empowerment opportunities, i.e., social closure or positional relationships, while the role of the institutional agent affords social capital and empowerment literature the opportunity to analyze the salient affects of the purveyor of social capital and/or empowerment. Whether articulated in implicit or 68
  • 78. explicit terms, these theoretical frameworks afford concise opportunities to articulate the institutional mechanisms that either facilitate the mobility of typically marginalized social cultural groups, or perpetuate their embedded alienation. 69
  • 79. CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY Introduction This chapter depicts the research design and rationale, sample selection, as well as the process of data collection and analysis relative to this study. The purpose of this study to analyze the salience of institutional agency, as an isolated social capital and empowerment mechanism, which fosters the academic and social mobility of minority or low-status youth within the context of AVID, a specific K-12 intervention program. In addition, the study will examine the manner in which the people involved in the intervention program, in their potential role as institutional agents, convey essential skills relative to evolving dynamic contexts; thus, empowering minority youth to overcome both institutional and societal obstacles and attain academic success. Thus, the primary purpose of this design is gain insight into the following research questions: 1. To the degree those efforts to engage in social capital mobilization are made, how might the program coordinator’s accessible social capital play a prominent role? 2. To what extent are AVID program coordinators able to mobilize their social capital to convey information, resources, and opportunities to minority and low-status youth in the context of program implementation? 70
  • 80. 3. What factors facilitate or constrain the accumulation of accessible social capital and agency-oriented mobilization of social capital (on behalf of program participants and/or program implementation)? 4. To what extent does AVID training identify the underpinning theoretical concepts and processes of social capital theory; thus do AVID program coordinators understand their role relative to the help-seeking and network-seeking orientations of institutional agency? Rationale An inductive methodological approach, which incorporates an analysis of ethnographic interview protocols, affords the opportunity to gain in-depth perspective and insight pertaining to the cultural, ideological, and theoretical mechanisms relative to how program coordinators how they make cultural sense of what they are doing, is it pertains to agency. This, facilitates the process of academic and social mobility and/or empowerment as it pertains to minority and low-status youth. Stanton-Salazar & Spina (2003) employ critical ethnographic methods from a viewpoint that it “aims to understand, analyze, pose questions, and affect the sociopolitical and economic realities that shape our lives” (p. 237). According to Spradley (1979): The essential core of ethnography is this [a] concern with the meaning of actions and events to the people we seek to understand. Some of these meanings are directly expressed in language; [however] many are taken for granted and communicated only indirectly through word and action. But in every society people make constant use of these complex71
  • 81. meaning systems to organize their behavior, to understand themselves and others, and to make sense out of the world in which they live. These systems of meaning constitute their culture; ethnography always implies a theory of culture This study implemented qualitative, inductive approach, while simultaneously employing deductive analytic case study research methods. Spradley’s (1979) guidelines pertaining to thematic analysis will also guide this study and assist in the process of developing overarching classificatory themes. Preliminary stages of research were devoted to identifying a range of cultural themes and implicit, or tacit social structures, which emerge resulting from the analysis pertaining to the intervention program, AVID. According to Spradley’s (1979) design, a cultural theme refers to any tacit or explicit cognitive principle, which recurs within a range of domains, in the context of a particular intervention; and, underpins programmatic principles and practices. An deductive methodological approach allowed me as a researcher to interview subjects in the sample population and uncovers underlying social, institutional, and ideological structures; all, while using critical social capital theories to analyze the underpinning mechanisms which characterize the programmatic processes of the intervention (Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2003). This approach allowed me to draw upon the strength of my writing and analytical skills to depict and/or articulate a broad, in-depth portrayal of background knowledge, as well as the social-interactive, social cultural, and ideological dynamics of programmatic processes in the context of the site-based AVID program. This process also allowed me to examine the scope of how dynamic interactions relative to institutional agency 72
  • 82. have salient impact on the efficacy of the intervention, and, thus, facilitate academic and social mobility as it pertains to minority and low-status youth; hence, fostering their empowerment. The richness, depth, and quality that critical ethnographic approaches entail, coupled with the analytical skills depicted underscored the unique significance of this study. Quantz’s (1999) discussion concerning ritual, in the context of social processes, is also essential to the critical ethnography as it relates to contextualizing empowerment against a backdrop of what constitutes disempowerment; meaning, ritual is the structure that maintains the status quo (p.498). Whereas, he argues: Here [in education], the symbolic function of ritual is to relate the individual through ritualistic acts to a social order, to heighten respect for that order, to revivify that order within the individual and, in particular, to deepen acceptance of the procedures which are used to maintain continuity, order and boundary and that control ambivalence towards the social order. For in the process of creating feelings of bonding towards those who are “us,” ritual also helps create feelings of separateness from those who are not “us” (p.498). Quantz (1999) surmises that while ritual is essential to establishing and maintaining social solidarity. He also asserts that ritual is an important component relative to social conflict, which leads to disempowerment. Therefore, observing and recording ritual in a contextualized experience enables the researcher to understand how powerful people within a social structure maintain and continuously recreate the status quo. This also allows the researcher to understand how typically marginalized or disenfranchised groups constantly challenge the status quo (p.505). Moreover, Quantz allows the researcher to use critical ethnography to juxtapose constructs of 73
  • 83. power against a backdrop of what constitutes empowerment versus disempowerment. Deductively speaking, the study referred to the work of Cochran, Larner, Riley, Gunnarsson, & Henderson (1990) and their extensive analyses pertaining to the salience of social networks and support systems as an essential component of human development: It is important to recognize the difference between personal networks and social support. Both concepts are valuable. The distinction can be maintained, in part, by acknowledging that network relations are stressful as well as supportive and that network members can influence development in ways that extend well beyond those included in the support concept (p. 9) The foundation of their research focuses on the identification, classification, and documentation of systematic processes, network sources, and subsequent outcomes in the context of relational and developmental dynamics relative to manifestations of social and network support. According to Cochran et al. (1990): Personal social networks are the central phenomenon under investigation [in this book]…Several purposes were uppermost in the development of this interview. First, a great deal of complex information needed to be gathered relatively simply and quickly. Second it [is] was necessary to construct easily administered measures of, for example, how many people in each network provided a particular kind of support…Third, we want [ed] to be able to distinguish between social support and other characteristics of the personal social network (p. 47). Thus, their effective use of name generated survey and focus group interview data lend credence to the veracity of their findings, as well as the ability to formulate valid systemic generalizations. 74
  • 84. Livermore and Neustrom (2003) offered specific insight pertaining to the manner by which to conduct the interviews pertaining to determining the social capital of institutional agents, as well as their proclivity to access their individual networks to help minority and low-status gain access to essential information, resources, and opportunities. These necessary conditions facilitate academic and social mobility, hence, fostering their empowerment. In their study, the authors used an interview protocol and conducted guided conversations with social workers, program managers, and state-level administrators to determine whether they were inclined to access their individual networks and personal resources to help welfare clients attain job placement; and, if so, the extent and context in which they access those networks and resources. Upon completion of the interview process, Livermore & Neustrom (2003) were able to analyze their data and codify response patterns into thematic subcategories, and concluded that some workers, indeed, access their personal social networks to elicit important information to assist welfare clientele with job placement. On the other hand, however, many do so selectively, which lends credence to the negative dimensions of social capital pertaining to closed social systems and restricted access by means of reputation and/or elitism (Portes, 1998). Livermore and Neustrom (2003) caution that their study is not without some limitations; meaning, they understand and assume responsibility for the fact that their small, non-random sampling makes it somewhat difficult to draw inferential conclusions regarding social workers in general, nationally or even regionally. 75
  • 85. Nevertheless, their findings offer new insight and discourse relative to the role of social workers and the job placement process. Lin and Dumin’s (as cited in Flap, Snijders, Volker, & Van Der Gaag, 2003) study also offered insight into to network access-related social capital measurement. Their use of the position generator measures network members’ occupations in relation to a job prestige-based hierarchical status modeled by society and measured relative to the range of accessed prestige, as well as the variety of accessed positions. This methodology aligns with Lin’s (1999) theories of social and positional resources relative to social capital. The availability of the resources, compared by measuring the strength of the relationship or tie through which the resources are accessed, is indicative of the role of the relationship, e.g., friend, family members, or acquaintances. The administration of this survey-instrument was relatively easy; furthermore, the questionnaires were adaptable to meet the needs of the specific population pertaining to job prestige. Analysts can also arrange data into theoretically relevant social capital constructs and/or measures. On the other hand, however, because the underlying motive driving the construction of these measures is to facilitate large-scale survey research, constructs or measures only contain and reveal indirect information regarding the content or quality of resource relative to social capital. Interpretation pertaining to resource access is dependent upon the perceived theoretical importance of job prestige. Flap et al. (2003) surmise that social capital measures must be goal and context specific, which requires multiple 76
  • 86. measured and separate subcollections. Nevertheless, the position generator lends insight into understanding the depth and extent of individual networks concerning institutional agents. Therefore, Flap et al. (2003) introduce a resource generator as an alternative instrument, which explores the salience of an individual’s networks based upon a fixed array of resources representing various domains of life adaptable relative to the population. The nature of the relationships (e.g., family members, friends) or acquaintances, by which individuals access resources predicates the salience of the network as it pertains to the quality of the social capital. Although this instrument also required theoretical guidance, because social interaction and social network formulation are culturally dependent constructs, the instrument was also easy to administer. The results were easy to interpret and articulate into relevant and valid social capital indicators. The position and resource generators, together, adapted to reflect the relevant population afforded in-depth insight into the salience or quality of personal resources and networks as it pertains to institutional agents. Collection and Analysis of Cross-Site Qualitative Data Miles and Huberman (1994) address the strengths and feasibility of crosscase analysis as a measure that enables the researcher to generalize findings in the context of a qualitative study; furthermore, cross or multiple case analyses enhances both the reliability and validity of qualitative methodology. Whereas, cross-case analysis is essential to determining the salience as well as the conditions, by which institutional agents are inclined to access their individual networks to convey 77
  • 87. resources, information, and opportunities, in the context of an intervention program, in a manner that facilitates the academic and social mobility of minority and lowstatus youth, hence, fostering their empowerment. Traditional researchers would assert that such is not an appropriate measure in the context of quantitative analysis. These methods, however, afford the researcher the ability to draw conclusions that may have relevance to other similar settings. Therefore, the authors surmise that adequately sampled and carefully analyzed multiple case enable the researcher the ability to draw coherent conclusions beyond one specific case in question. In addition, Miles and Huberman (1994) advocate cross-case analysis for its value pertaining to, “deepening understanding and explanation” (p. 173); especially as it relates to identifying certain structural conditions are conducive to the occurrence or non-occurrence of a particular event. Multiple or cross-case analysis allows the research to strengthen theory when fortified by examination of similarities, differences, and situational nuances across cases. A researcher who engages in this method can isolate the specific conditions in which events occur and allow the researcher to codify conditions into general categories pertaining to how conditions may be related. Mehan et al. (1996) employ this method, to some extent, in their multiple case analyses of AVID program success where they isolate and analyze the schoolwide climate and cultural dynamics, which ultimately produced variegated student learning outcomes across multiple settings and AVID intervention programs. The limitations of this approach, however, centers around the fact that it requires lengthy 78
  • 88. fieldwork and the collection of large amounts of data, which are not easily translatable in the context of this project. Nevertheless, an appropriately constructed case study approach enables the researcher to devote time and attention to the contextual complexities, as well as the many other factors that may influence the social capital mobilization of particular program leaders. Merriam (1998) also surmises that the power of cross-case analysis lies in its ability to formulate general explanations applicable across the individual cases, despite the fact that each individual case may contain unique nuances. On one hand, she evokes Miles and Huberman (1994) while submitting that, in the context of the cross-case analysis, “the researcher attempts to see processes and outcomes that occur across many cases, to understand how they are qualified by local conditions, and thus develop more sophisticated descriptions and more powerful explanations (p. 195).” She also warns, and invokes Miles and Huberman (1994) while doing so, that this process is somewhat precarious. In other words, misguided or mishandled cross-case analyses become spurious efforts if they depict tertiary or superficial summaries, which only examine common themes or components across multiple settings. Merriam (1998) submits, these examinations entail, “looking carefully at the complex configuration of process within each case, [and] understand the local dynamics, before we can begin to see patterning of variable that transcends particular cases (Miles & Huberman, pp. 205-206).” 79
  • 89. Sample and Population Cross-Case Population Description The cross-case analysis population consists of 8 purposefully selected AVID program coordinators; and, was the result of extensive discussions and collaboration between the County Regional AVID Coordinator, as well as her support staff and affiliated colleagues. The primary goal of the cross-case analysis is to identify, categorize, and codify an individual program coordinator’s individual network of resources and sources of support. This process also entailed documenting helpseeking or network-oriented outcomes as it relates to their ability and proclivity, in their roles as program coordinators, to become institutional agents. This also entailed examining how program coordinators marshal resources, information, and opportunities to facilitate the academic and social mobility of minority and lowstatus youth, and foster their empowerment. Rich, in-depth analysis as it relates to the cross-case analysis allowed me to triangulate findings pertaining to the scope, quality, and range of individual networks, and, thus, validate the information gathered in the context of this methodology. The following sections depict background information relative to individual program coordinators, as well as the milieus that characterized their site-based intervention efforts. Southland High School: Diane Purcell and Elizabeth Castellan The situation at Southland High School is unique in its own rite. A single person typically holds the AVID program coordinator position. However, in the wake of the previous program coordinator’s retirement the principal embarked upon 80
  • 90. a bold but decisive course, in an effort to infuse new, intrepid and innovative energy and enthusiasm into the program. Therefore, two young but capable persons share the program coordinator responsibilities. Diane Purcell is Caucasian, 27 years old, recently married, and comes from what she describes as an upper-middle class family, She has resided in the local area most of her life, and has a relatively large extended family that lives in the local area as well. She frequently travels abroad. She and her husband love the outdoors and physical fitness; they train together and participate in many local marathons and triathlons. She characterizes herself as an overachiever, indicative of the fact that she received both a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mathematics and a Bachelor of Arts degree in History simultaneously from San Diego State University. She is a mathematics teacher who has taught high school for four years, and assumes her role having a total of six years experience with AVID, as both a tutor and teacher. She has considered the possibility of returning to school to pursue her Master’s degree; however, her recent marriage has her thinking about starting a family in the near future. Elizabeth (Liz) Castellan is Diane’s counterpart is Mexican-American; she is 26 years old, married, and has a 4-year-old son. She has also resided in the local area her entire life; however, she comes from what she describes as a lowermiddle/lower class family. Her family is also close by, and consists of siblings, aunts and uncles, and a host of nieces, nephews, and cousins. Liz and her husband are high school sweethearts who also followed one another to college, then married 81
  • 91. upon their graduation from the University of California San Diego. She, like her counterpart, earned multiple undergraduate degrees; attaining a Bachelor of Arts degrees in Spanish and History. Liz is an English Language Development teacher who has 4 years of high school teaching experience, and has been involved with AVID for six years; and, like her counterpart, as both tutor and teacher. Although many might also characterize her as an overachiever, as evidenced by her double degrees, Liz views herself somewhat reserved, if not pensive; nevertheless, she has her sights set on pursuing her Master’s degree once her son enters kindergarten. Overview of the School Site Southland High School is part of a union high school district, serving grades 9 through 12, with an enrollment of approximately 2,349 students. The school is located in a unique urban area of the county, and employs 4 full-time administrators and 103 teachers. The majority of the staff is Caucasian (i.e., over 80%), while the remaining are of Latino, Asian, and African American descent. Table 1 depicts the ethnic breakdown of the school’s student population. Table 1: Southland High School Enrollment by Ethnicity Ethnicity White Latino African American Asian Pacific Islander/Filipino Native American Multiracial or other Total Enrollment Numbers 1175 940 70 As % of Total Enrollment 50% 40% 3% 47 45 2% 2% 25 1% 47 2% 2349 100% 82
  • 92. Based upon the school’s 2005-2006 Academic Performance Index (API), the California Department of Education recognizes Southland High School as a California Distinguished School. Yet, despite the school’s reputation as a high performing high school, a significant shift in the demographics of the school and the surrounding area has created a state of uneasiness throughout the greater school-wide community. There is growing trepidation among staff members concerning the changing dynamic, because the academic growth rates of minority and low-status subgroup. In fact, API and California Standards Testing (CST) and accountability measures between 2003 and 2005 show that these growth have steadily decreased over the past few years to the point where they have actually hit a plateau. In addition, the composition of students classified as low socioeconomic status steadily rises at an increasing rate; and, currently stands at 42 percent of the total school population, as evidenced by the number of students who participate in the National Free and Reduced Lunch Program (NFRLP). Indeed, this high school finds itself at a precarious crossroads, and somewhat, struggling to modify or amend its vision and mission to meet the needs of the rapidly changing demographics of the student population. AVID Program Overview Southland High School’s AVID program consists of 250 students and 8 individual class sections devoted to the instructional curriculum. In the wake of recent school-wide and program enrollment decreases over the past few years, the site team combined many of the individual grade level sections into integrated or 83
  • 93. inter-grade level sections. Thus, many classes now consist of 9th and 10th graders, as well as 11th and 12th graders. However, despite the changes in class composition, among other various shifts in the climate and culture of the school, the AVID program remains an integral component of the overall mission of the school and continues to fulfill its unique role. Hence, the program serves as a vehicle, which enables typically marginalized social cultural and socioeconomic groups to gain access to courses and study skills that are essential to their efforts pertaining to attaining college admission. Table 2 depicts the ethnic breakdown of the students who participate in the program. Table 2: Southland High School AVID Enrollment by Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment Latino 173 69% White 53 21% Pacific Islander/Filipino African American 10 4% 8 3% Asian 5 2% Multiracial 1 1% Total 250 100% Pierce High School: Leslie Stephens The AVID program at Pierce High School is at a momentous crossroads. As, first senior class of program participants prepares to graduate, Leslie Stephens will take stock of the occasion and look towards the fortunes of future graduating classes, since she has been involved with the AVID program since its inception at Pierce 84
  • 94. High School. Ms. Stephens is Caucasian, 34 years old, married, and has two teenage children; replete with a middle-class upbringing, she has lived in the local area her entire life. Leslie is in her 10th year of teaching, and her seventh year teaching 9th grade English Language Arts, and is currently in her second year as the school site’s AVID program coordinator. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Development from California State University, Fullerton, and immediately went into (teaching) primary education for 2 years. However, after being married, she took a couple of years off after the birth of her first child; then, she returned to school and pursued a credential in secondary education, and, as a result, acquired the teaching position she currently holds. She also aspires to pursue her Master’s degree, but currently admits that she has too many other distractions going on to really give such an endeavor the attention it would demand right now. Nevertheless, she hopes that things in her personal and professional life will settle down soon, so she can devote her time and energy to that aim. Overview of the School Site Pierce High School is part of a unified school district, serving grades 9 through 12, and has an enrollment of 4,400 students; of which, 40% are low socioeconomic status based on NFRLP data. The school is located in a densely populated urban area in the southwestern part of the county. The school employs 2 full-time co-principals and nearly 150 teachers. The majority of the staff is Caucasian (over 85%), while the remaining are of Latino, Asian, and African 85
  • 95. American descent. Table 3 depicts the ethnic breakdown of the school’s student population. Table 3: Pierce High School Enrollment by Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment White 1716 39% Latino 1496 34% African 572 13% American Asian 396 9% Filipino 176 4% Pacific 44 1% Islander Totals 4400 100% AVID Program Overview Pierce High School’s AVID program consists of 115 students and 4 individual class sections devoted to the instructional curriculum. There is unconditional support for the AVID program, and many view the program as an important component in the overall school-wide effort to improve student-learning outcomes. In other words, staff members embrace the program’s mission and efforts to help unrepresented minority groups gain essential courses and information that will help them improve their learning outcomes and/or gain university or college admission. Indeed, AVID students are steadily improving their learning outcomes. Furthermore, the school’s API reflects the steady growth of target subgroups, such as minority and/or low status youth. In fact, Pierce High School boasts the highest API ranking of all high schools throughout the district, and many staff members attribute at least part of that result to AVID instructional strategies proliferating throughout the instructional ethos of the school (e.g., writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading 86
  • 96. WICR methods). Table 4 depicts the ethnic breakdown of the students who participate in the program. Table 4: Pierce High School AVID Enrollment By Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment Latino 40 35% African 29 25% American Asian 25 22% Caucasian or 21 18% “other” Total 115 100% Although the school-wide low socioeconomic status is below 50%, the rate of such as it pertains to AVID program participants is 75%. Again, this year marks the program’s first senior class; and, the program now functions as a stand-alone learning community. Interestingly, the AVID program has important forward momentum relative to the campus environment because the entire school via district is systematically evolving towards developing and sustaining small learning milieus within the greater school-wide community, pursuant to district-wide mandate. Pinnacles High School: Jonathan Stewart Jonathan Stewart is a 34-year-old Caucasian male, who has taught in K-12 education for 10 years. He is originally from the Midwest, and received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English, from St. Olaf’s College in Minnesota, before moving to Texas where here began his teaching career. After a short stint in Pharr, Texas, he moved to Salinas, California and taught K-3 English Language Arts and Drama to migrant youth. He eventually made his way to Southern California, and settled into 87
  • 97. his current position at Pinnacles High School, where he has spent the last eight years teaching English Language Arts. After receiving tenure, he pursued and ultimately completed his Master of Education degree in Secondary Education, from California State University at Fullerton. He has served as the AVID program coordinator for the past three years. Interestingly, and of peculiar noteworthiness, Jonathan is an openly gay male who is working and thriving in a paradoxically extreme dichotomy, as it relates to the predominant moral and value systems majority social cultural groups which comprise the school’s student population (i.e., Latino and Catholic). Furthermore, he has been in a domestic partner relationship for the past 6 years, and has a “step-son” with whom he has developed a close, loving and trusting relationship Overview of the School Site Pinnacles High School is part of a unified school district and serves grades 9 through 12, with an enrollment of nearly 2,150 students, of which approximately 85% are low socioeconomic status based on NFRLP data. The school is located in a densely populated urban area in the eastern section of the county. The school employs 4 full-time administrators and approximately 89 teachers; of which, nearly 68% are Caucasian. In recent years, however, the number of minority teaching staff members continues to increase rapidly. Table 5 depicts the ethic breakdown of the school’s population, as is pertains to total student enrollment. 88
  • 98. Table 5: Pinnacles High School Enrollment by Ethnicity Ethnicity Latino Asian White or Other African American Total Enrollment Numbers 1914 129 85 22 2150 As % of Total Enrollment 89% 6% 4% 1% 100% Prior to the 2005-2006 school year, Pinnacles high school was an underperforming school, as evidenced by results of overall student performance pertaining to the California Standards Test (CST), as well as the school’s API over the past two years. Consequently, the school became subject to state oversight, which required the school to formulate and implement an action plan to address improvement as it relates to student achievement. However, the school has made significant progress over the past 2 years, showing gains in CST scores, as well as steady growth in target subgroups that comprise the school’s API. As a result, the school is no longer underperforming; thus, the state subsequently released the school from mandatory oversight at the beginning of the 2006 school year. Ironically, despite the gains in student learning outcomes in recent years, a pervasive climate of indifference throughout the faculty, as relates to administrative leadership at the school site, is tenuous at best. Periodic changes in administrative leadership, and the ensuing uncertainty that such events entail, have created a vacuum in where the staff greets new leaders with skepticism. As a result, there a considerable atmosphere of dissonance and distrust persists between leadership and the teaching staff. The relationship between teaching staff and leadership has a “spillover effect” that permeates throughout the greater school-wide community. 89
  • 99. Consequently, many community-based stakeholders (e.g., parents) are somewhat disenfranchised and are reluctant to interact or dialogue with school staff. Hence, they are somewhat disempowered and/or marginalized as it relates to the schoolwide community. AVID Program Overview Pinnacles High School’s AVID program consists of 150 students, of which nearly 95% are low socioeconomic status, based on NFRLP data. There are five individual class sections devoted to the instructional curriculum. Table 6 depicts the ethic breakdown of students who participate in the program. Table 6: Pinnacles High School AVID Enrollment By Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment Latino 135 90 % Asian 9 6% White or other 5 4% African 1 1% American Total 150 100% On one hand, students who participate in the AVID program are achieving at higher rates in comparison to the rest of the student population, according to CST achievement data; indeed, the program’s greatest strength is consistency, amidst a greater school-wide climate and culture marred by uncertainty. On the other hand, however, the consequence of the program’s success is the fact that other staff members and programs throughout the school view the AVID program as elitist; many look upon the AVID program with some degree of distain and resentment. 90
  • 100. Moreover, the relationship between AVID program staff members and the new principal is somewhat tenuous. However, she views the program with an open mind and continues to ask questions while adapting to her new environment and advancing her instructional ethos. Canyon High School: Enrique Mendoza Enrique Mendoza is a product of the local area who returned “home” to give back to his community. He is a 29-year-old Latino male who is married, and has two young children. Interestingly, after obtaining his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Santa Clara he returned home to teach at his alma mater, Canyon High School, where he has taught for the last 8 years. He received his Master of Education degree from Azuza Pacific University. He currently teaches Advanced Placement (AP) Biology; and, affiliated with the school’s AVID program since its inception 7 years ago, he has served as the program coordinator for the past 5 years. He considers himself an “activist agitator” when it comes to raising the critical consciousness of the local community if he feels that bureaucracy and politics impede the programs and policies that address the needs of his students. Whereas, he will not hesitate to make a phone call to his contacts in local media to call attention to perceived inadequacies on the part of administrative and district leadership. 91
  • 101. Overview of the School Site Canyon High School is part of a unified school district, serving grades 9 through 12, with an enrollment of approximately 2,565 students, of which nearly 87% are low socioeconomic status according to NFRLP data. The school is located in a densely populated urban area in easternmost edge of the county; and, employs 125 teachers and 4 full-time administrators. The majority of the staff members (87%) are Caucasian and predominately female, while the remaining staff members are Latino and Asian. There are only 13 male teachers on the faculty. Table 7 depicts the ethnic breakdown of the school’s student population. Table 7: Canyon High School Enrollment by Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment Latino 1898 74% Filipino 308 12% African 154 6% American White 128 5 Asian or other 77 3 Total 2565 100% The school’s climate and ethos is a dichotomy where apathy, disengagement, and disenfranchisement relative to the great school-wide community permeate the school ethos. Nevertheless, the district endeavors to portray itself as a proactive organization focused on “cutting-edge” instructional resources and pedagogy; and, ultimately advance a district-wide ethos where high expectations for academic performance are the rule rather than the exception. According to Enrique the disconnection and apathy, which plagues the greater school-wide community, is a result of the social cultural divide that exists between the community and the school 92
  • 102. staff. In other words, the ethnic and socioeconomic makeup of the school staff does not adequately reflect the demographics of the student population or the surrounding community. Dissonance and discord are the predominant tone as it pertains to engagement between the school and parents and/or stakeholders in the local community. Consequently, the school culture is seemingly void of spirit and pride; there is no collective emphasis on character development as it pertains to the student body; and, as Enrique puts it, “the school functions on a daily basis without a heart or soul.” Some teachers see the need for change as it relates to the climate and culture of the school; and, are slowly but surely endeavoring to improve dialogue between the staff and surrounding community and/or stakeholders; and, facilitate reengagement throughout the greater school-wide community. Enrique partially attributes his incessant “activist agitator” efforts as playing an integral role pertaining to the shift in dynamics relative to school culture. AVID Program Overview Canyon High School’s AVID program consists of 173 students, of which 80% are low socioeconomic status; and, 5 individual sections devoted to instructional curriculum. Table 8 depicts the ethnic breakdown of the students who participate in the program. This particular school site program is a National Demonstration Site, and Canyon High School’s AVID program has maintained that distinction for the past five years. The resulting student learning outcomes, which typify this particular school site program, epitomizes the dichotomies that pit district93
  • 103. wide aspirations pursuant to high expectations for student academic outcomes against the contrasting reality that characterizes the Canyon High School ethos. Consequently, there is considerable tension, if not animosity, between the regular teaching staff and the AVID teachers, as well as the program coordinator primarily because the AVID program (i.e., the program coordinator and teachers) places a premium on academic rigor and cutting-edge pedagogy, pursuant to the district-wide effort concerning high expectations for student performance and academic achievement. Table 8: Canyon High School AVID Enrollment by Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment Latino 147 85 % Filipino 12 7% African 7 4% American Asian 5 3% White 2 1% Totals 173 100% Ironically, the school continues to meet its overall performance goal pertaining to student academic performance and API; yet, many individual target subgroup gains, such as those of Latinos and African Americans, have hit a plateau. Thus, these subgroups, specifically, continue to lag behind other subgroups and targeted goals. As a result, comparisons and contrasts between the student-learning outcomes of AVID students and those of the general student population, as it pertains to the measured growth of targeted subgroups relative to the school’s API, are the frequent topic of conversation in regular meetings and professional 94
  • 104. development sessions. Therefore, the attention relative to the school in general contributes to the dissonance between the general teaching and AVID program staff. However, strangely enough, despite the precarious nature of the relationship most teachers see the value and benefit of the AVID program, and, seemingly, support and/or buy into the mission of the program. Valley Vista High School: Delores Delgado Delores Delgado is a 35-year-old Latina, who has been married for 9 years; and, she is expecting her first child in a couple of months. Interestingly, she has lived in the local community that surrounds the high school her entire life. In fact, her family resides only a couple of houses away from the house where she grew up, and where her parents still reside; indeed, she attests that her life revolves around her family. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English, and her credential, from the University of La Verne. Afterwards, she obtained the job at Valley Vista High School, where she has remained for the past 10 years. She also earned her Master of Education degree from the University of La Verne. She has been involved with AVID for 15 years, both as a college tutor and in her own high school program, since its inception seven years ago; and, she has served as the program coordinator for the past two years. Overview of the School Site Valley Vista High School is part of a unified school district, serving grades 9 through 12; and, located in a densely populated urban area in the eastern part of the county. The school has an enrollment of approximately 1,950 students, of which 95
  • 105. nearly 79% are low socioeconomic status according to NFRLP data. Table 9 depicts the ethnic breakdown of the school’s student population. The school employs 97 teachers and 4 full-time administrators. The majority of the staff is Caucasian (75%) and male (65%); 15% are Latino; 10% are Asian; the remaining 5% are African American or “other.” Prior to the 2006-2007 school year, Valley Vista High School was in the second year of program improvement as an underperforming school relative to student achievement, based on student-learning outcomes as evidenced by scores on the California Standards Test (CST); and, measured outcomes reflected in the school’s API. However, improvements in student achievement and measured growth or API performance over the last two years finds the school no longer designated for program improvement, hence, also no longer designated as an underperforming school. Thus, much of the underlying staff tensions that ensue, as the result of the pressures and scrutiny that a school-wide community under program improvement encumbers, are no longer present. Hence, the staff currently enjoys an uneasy, which pervades over the climate and culture of the school. Table 9: Valley Vista High School Enrollment by Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment Latino 1502 77 % African 253 13 % American Caucasian 117 6% Asian or 78 4% “other” Totals 1950 100 % 96
  • 106. Many issues and circumstances relative to the school-wide learning community and overall ethos as an institution, however, still plague the school. This includes a pervasive disconnect between school staff and the home environment, which, consequently finds parents and other concerned stakeholders somewhat disenfranchised and/or disengaged as it relates to dialogue and/or interaction with the school and staff members. If this and other underlying problems and issues continue to persist or remain unabated without any efforts to attain sustainable engagement as it relates to the greater school-wide community and/or concerned stakeholders, they could impede academic progress relative to student-learning outcomes. Delores already sees the “warning signs” of prior ineptitudes, apathy, and indifference brewing underneath the surface; she fears that the school may, once again find itself designated as an underperforming school and/or designated for program improvement. AVID Program Overview Valley Vista High School’ AVID program consists of 185 students, of which 90% are low socioeconomic status; and, six individual sections devoted to instructional curriculum. Table 10 depicts the ethnic breakdown of program participants. 97
  • 107. Table 10: Valley Vista High School AVID Enrollment by Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment Latino 150 81 % African 19 10 % American Asian 11 6% White or 5 3% “other” Total 185 100 % At the outset of AVID implementation at Valley Vista High School, counselors targeted and tracked many low performing students into the program; consequently, many still perceive AVID as a remedial program. The long-term affect of that practice is the fact that it remains difficult to attract and retain an ideal student population, which will maximize the program’s efficacy as it pertains to curricular and extracurricular instructional designs. Consequently, the program coordinator constantly worries about program cohesion, coherence, as well as the overall academic improvement of student participants. Recent gains in learning outcomes as it pertains to student participants have shed light on AVID instructional practices, throughout the entire school-wide community, as an attribute leading to academic achievement. Delores is hopeful that the program’s upward momentum may ultimately “sell” the AVID program, thus, attract, and retain ideal students. On the other hand, though, she is somewhat worried that the overall complacency that may be returning to the school culture will negate the attention of those who are seemingly “buying-in” to the AVID pedagogy, as of late. Nevertheless, the school community as a whole is starting to understand 98
  • 108. that AVID is tantamount to more than remediation. Therefore, Delores remains optimistic about the future prospects of her site-based program. Shoreline Heights High School: Natalie Hyde Natalie Hyde is a single, 33-year-old Caucasian, who comes from a middleclass family based in the local area. She is a product of local public schools, and started her college education at Long Beach City College. From there, she went off to attend Saint Mary’s College of California, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Later, she pursued and obtained her Master of Education degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Natalie started her teaching career in private education, where she taught English for 5 years. She then movedon to public education, and has taught at Shoreline Heights for the past 5 years; starting out as an English teacher, and presently serves as a Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) in her current role as coordinator for the school’s AP and AVID programs. She has been involved with AVID since its inception at the school 4 years ago, and has served as the program coordinator for the past 2 years. Overview of the School Site Shoreline Heights High School is part of a unified school district, serving grades 9 through 12, with an enrollment of approximately 3,800 students of which nearly 95% are low socioeconomic status according to NFRLP data; Table 11 depicts the ethnic breakdown of the student population. The school is located in a densely populated and predominately poor urban area in the southwestern part of the county, and employs 150 teachers and 4 full-time administrators. The teaching staff 99
  • 109. is predominately Caucasian (70%) and female (65%); 15% of the staff is Latino and 15% is African American. Table 11: Shoreline Heights High School Enrollment by Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment Latino 2470 65 % African 836 22 % American Asian 380 10 % Caucasian or 114 3% “other” Total 3800 100 % The extensive poverty and increasing racial and/or gang violence, which characterizes the surrounding community negatively influences the climate and culture of the school. Consequently, high teacher turnover and an overall lack of engagement between the school staff and stakeholders typify the dynamic of the greater school-wide learning community. Recent and highly publicized incidents of racial violence on the campus over the last 2 years have catalyzed a vigorous effort to promote racial or ethnic dialogue throughout the school-wide community and concerned stakeholders, in an effort to improve the overall climate and culture of the school. In addition, the school is also in the process of an extensive paradigm shift as it pertains to its composition as a learning community. Shoreline Heights High School touts the lowest API of all high schools in the district. Thus, in an effort to improve overall student-learning outcomes, the school has adopted the small learning communities model. Unfortunately, though, because this model is the result of 100
  • 110. district mandate, tacit resistance, indifference, and general lack of “buy-in” impede progress. Nevertheless, there are staff members and stakeholders who see value and promise as it pertains to the model, and endeavor to promote and sustain the model; hence, generate some momentum by incorporating the model as a component of ongoing dialogue between stakeholders, that is already occurring throughout the greater school-wide learning community. AVID Program Overview Shoreline Heights High School’s AVID program consists of 263 students, of which nearly 97% are low socioeconomic status according to NFRLP data; Table 12 depicts the ethnic breakdown of students who participate in the program. The program has 8 individual class sections devoted to instructional curriculum. Table 12: Shoreline Heights High School AVID Enrollment By Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment Latino 197 75 % African 58 22 % American Asian or “other” 8 3% Total 263 100 % The AVID program at Shoreline Heights High School has undergone a transformation of sorts, facilitated in large part by the fact that, in her role as a TOSA, Natalie is coordinator for both AVID and the AP programs. Thus, she has been an instrumental force in recruiting students into AVID and AP enrollment simultaneously, hence, dramatically increasing AVID student retention and overall enrollment; and shifting the paradigm, as it pertains to perceptions of teachers and 101
  • 111. staff members as it relates to the program, from one of academic remediation to academic acceleration. Natalie admits that her efforts relative to changing the paradigm and focus, as it relates to AVID, are dramatically affecting student-learning outcomes as evidenced by their overall academic improvement; as well, as the fact that an increasing number of program participants are entering college—at an increasing rate. Her efforts at maintaining program cohesion and consistency are hampered, somewhat, by the high teacher turnover rate endemic to the entire school site. Nevertheless, she remains undaunted; her optimism due, in large part, to the fact that she, indeed, sees overall student improvement as it relates to enrollment, engagement, and learning outcomes. Moreover, she sees hopes that AVID gains can serve as a model for the rest of the school, as it embarks upon full implementation of the small learning community model. Parkview High School: Lynnette Davies Lynnette Davies is a 36-year-old Caucasian, who is married with two children. She is, also, a product of the local area, and attended school in the district in which she now teaches; interestingly, her parents and siblings live within a 15minute drive away from her. She is a devoted wife and parent; and, embraces her role as a “soccer mom.” She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies from California State University at Long Beach; and, she will be embarking upon the pursuit of a Master’s degree in Counseling, at the University of La Verne. 102
  • 112. She has taught for 12 years, starting her career in elementary education, teaching at a feeder school that cycles students into the high school where she presently works. She has spent the last 6 years in her current position, teaching Spanish in conjunction with her AVID duties. Her affiliation with the AVID program at Parkview High School dates back to its inception 5 years ago; and, she has served as the program coordinator for the last 2 years. Overview of the School Site Parkview High School is part of a unified school district, serving grades 9 through 12, with an enrollment of approximately 4,000 students, of which 77% are low socioeconomic status according to NFRLP data; Table 13 depicts the ethnic breakdown of the school’s student population. The school is located in a densely populated urban area in the southwestern part of the county, and employs approximately 165 teachers and 4 full-time administrators. The teaching staff is gender-balanced; 60% of the teaching staff is Caucasian, 30% are African American, and 10% are Latino or “other.” Interestingly, though, new hires are increasingly people of color. Table 13: Parkview High School Enrollment by Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment Latino 2400 60 % African 1200 30 % American Asian/Pacific 280 7% Islander White or “other” 120 3% Total 4,000 100 % 103
  • 113. The climate and culture, which currently typifies the greater school-wide learning community, is one of tempered optimism as it pertains to school-community engagement, as well as student-learning outcomes. Several tumultuous years rife with highly publicized racial tension and sporadic violence, which permeated the student body and the surrounding community, forced the greater school-wide to take a long, hard introspective self-examination. With the help of community leaders, the school community and stakeholders were able to forge an ongoing commitment to constructive dialogue to address to social cultural and socioeconomic issues that seemingly plagued the community and affected the culture and climate of the school. Interestingly, but not surprising, the tension and strife that detrimentally affected the community also spilled-over into the classroom and affected or hindered the relationship between students and teachers, and, consequently, created an atmosphere of disengagement and marginalization, the result of which manifested in negative student-learning outcomes. Thus, the school found itself designated as a low-performing school and targeted for program improvement three years ago, because of the acrimony that depicted the greater school-wide learning community. Again, interestingly but not surprising, the climate and atmosphere of communitybased dialogue facilitated dialogue amongst the school staff as it pertains to improving student-learning outcomes. Frank or earnest, and sometimes brutally honest discussions and action planning relative to improving student-learning outcomes progressed with greater ease. This climate also affected the speed at which the school-wide learning community implemented reform measures. 104
  • 114. Remarkably, the school emerged from program improvement in two years, as the result of comprehensive dialogue happening throughout the school-wide community, coupled with intensive implementation cycles relative to instructional reform; specifically relative to employing the small learning community model, which the efforts of other high schools in the area were meeting with considerable resistance. The apparent turnaround was a collective effort attributable to school staff members and stakeholders who were genuinely committed to improving the culture and outcomes of the school. AVID Program Overview Parkview High School’s AVID program consists of 205 students, of which nearly 90% are low socioeconomic status according to NFRLP data; there are 6 individual class sections devoted to instructional curriculum. Table 14 depicts the ethnic breakdown of students who participate in the program. Table 14: Parkview High School AVID Enrollment by Ethnicity Ethnicity Enrollment As % of Total Numbers Enrollment Latino 144 70 % African 41 20 % American Asian/Pacific 14 7% Islander White or 6 3% “other” Total 205 100 % The AVID program at Parkland High School is at a crossroads. Upon its inception, many of the students who comprised the AVID program were underperforming students in need of remediation, which is, typically, the case at 105
  • 115. other school sites. Consequently, the program lagged behind other site-based intervention efforts as it pertained to student-learning outcomes; and, coupled with high program teacher turnover rate the entire AVID program seemingly languished in a vacuum of sorts, prior to the climate of dialogue that swept through the school in the wake of racial tensions and program improvement. The atmosphere of dialogue, improvement, and reform afforded AVID program leaders the opportunity to reconstitute the student-participant composition, and strategically target students for placement and participation. As a result, the AVID program seemingly emerged from program improvement galvanized; and, coupled with efficacious staff-wide professional development relative to the program’s mission and principles, attained improved student-learning outcomes, and, furthermore, student-participant enrollment in AP courses continues to increase at an increasing rate. Hence, the program’s negative stereotype, regarding remediation, has steadily dissipated throughout the school; whereas, AVID students now find themselves among some of the school’s top-performing students as it pertains to academic achievement. Instrumentation Collection, Organization, and Analysis of Network Data Stanton-Salazar’s (2001) methodological approach to the organization and analysis of network data will drive the first stage of data analysis. Thus, the following processes comprise the primary sources of social capital data collection: (a) a name generator will serve as the principal source of network data; (b) position 106
  • 116. and resource generators will serve as secondary sources of social capital data. Three sources of prior research serve to guide construction of the adapted name generator for this study: (a) McCallister and Fisher’s original approach; (b) Stanton-Salazar’s (2001) study of minority adolescents; and (c) Cochran et al.’s (1990) network study pertaining to the child-rearing networks of parents. Collection, Organization, and Analysis of Ethnographic Interview Data Spradley’s (1979) methodological approach pertaining to the ethnographic interview is the second methodological approach; used to analyze data derived from the ethnographic interviews that subsequently follow network data collection. Moreover, the rich, in-depth nature of the critical ethnography relative to descriptive indicators depicted in the instruments, contextual observations, and interviews or guided discussions predicates its validity and reliability of this methodology as authentic research. An adapted name generator based on McCallister and Fisher’s (1978) original approach, coupled with adapted versions of Lin and Dumin’s (1986) position generator and Flap et al.’s (2003) resource generator, depicted in Appendices B, C, D, and G will analyze the range, as well as the quality or salience of an institutional agent’s individual network. These instruments represent the deductive component of the research process. In addition, an adapted version of Livermore and Neustrom’s (2003) guided discussion protocol, depicted in Appendix E, serves as a exploratory framework from which to elicit more in-depth information concerning the extent and quality of an institutional agent’s individual network, in the context of an interview. This protocol 107
  • 117. also serves an as exploratory framework from which to determine the institutional agent’s proclivity to access their individual network for the purposes of conveying essential resources, information, and opportunities to minority and low-status youth in the context of an intervention. Blau and Duncan’s original (1967) study concerning occupational prestige coding, coupled with adaptations submitted by Dirk de Graaf and Flap (1988), as well as Nakao and Treas (1992), provided the rationale pertaining to occupational status rankings. These guidelines helped determine the individual SEI scores and occupational status assigned to each occupation listed in the position generator and depicted in Appendix H. Indeed, many of the SEI scores related to the occupations in this study come directly from these various studies and designs related to occupational status. Spradley’s (1979) domain analysis, coupled with StantonSalazar’s (1997) discussion concerning domains of knowledge, explains the need for separating and categorizing resources and forms of support into specific contextual domains. Hence, they provide the rationales guiding the formulation of domains by which occupations were categorized and listed in the instruments. Stanton Salazar’s (1997) discussion also factored into the domains constructed for the instruments in this study, because his domain rationale related to constructs specifically associated with education, as well as intervention behaviors pertaining to institutional agency within educational settings. Stanton Salazar’s (1997) discussion is critical to the adaptation of the instruments, because Blau and Duncan (1967), Dirk de Graaf and 108
  • 118. Flap (1988), and Nakao and Treas (1992) designed their original instruments for use in business settings. Stanton Salazar’s (1997) argument is the critical rationale driving the conversion of these instruments from business use to utility for the purposes of intervention in the context of education. The instruments parallel Stanton-Salazar’s (1997) work pertaining to linking essential components for social integration and success within the scope of education, as well as other mainstream institutional milieus. In his argument, Stanton-Salazar (1997) introduces six key forms of institutional support as conceptual framework pertaining to his discussion of agency 1. Funds of knowledge associated with ascension within the educational system. 2. Bridging or providing access to social networks and opportunities pertaining to mainstream institutions. 3. Advocacy and other related forms of personalized intervention. 4. Role Models. 5. Providers of emotional and/or moral support. 6. Providers of evaluative feedback and guidance that incorporates institutional funds of knowledge. This approach also prevented overrepresentation of any particular job field or occupational domain as it pertains to the instruments. The occupations listed in the position generator, as well as the resources that comprise the resource generator represent one of the following specific resource domains listed below 109
  • 119. 1. Medical or Mental Health and Wellness 2. Social Service 3. Educational/College Gateway 4. Governmental Agency 5. Business, Financial, or Economic Thus, the name generator attributes individuals with specific resource or sources of support, the resource generator further synthesizes the occupations listed in the position generator into categories or domains of cultural capital. Each instrument subsequently offers a greater in-depth analysis of the quality and salience of an institutional agent’s individual network relative to their ability to access essential resources that, if conveyed, will facilitate the academic and social mobility of minority and low-status youth; and thus, foster their empowerment. The resource generator serves as the catalyst, and will eventually facilitate the exploratory interview process entailed in the context of the guided conversation protocol that will follow. Related Studies Cochran et al. (1990) used name-generated information to analyze the depth and quality, hence the salience, of individuals’ networks. Using a domain-specific array of resources and support, their longitudinal study revealed detailed information regarding the identification, classification, and documentation of the systematic processes, network sources, and subsequent outcomes pertaining to relational and developmental dynamics, as well as manifestations of social and network support. 110
  • 120. Meanwhile, Stanton-Salazar’s (2001) study used name-generated results to determine, analyze, and depict outcomes-based tendencies of Mexican American youth, as it relates to the depth and quality of their individual support network orientations. Ultimately, Stanton-Salazar (2001) aggregated a wide array of information and revealed a significant insight pertaining to how the salience of individual relationship dynamics, relative to systems of support and individual networks, affects student outcomes. In their original 1975 Albany study, Lin & Dumin (1986 as cited in Lin, 2001) used the position generator to measure and analyze the social capital of individuals via their positional relationships or ties to certain occupations (i.e., relatives, friends, or acquaintances) versus the perceived prestige or status the job entailed. Blau and Duncan’s (1967) research concerning occupational prestige coding provided them the rationale as it pertains to the status positions they assigned to each occupation relative to their findings. The resulting analysis of access variables concluded that friends and acquaintances provided the most-salient access to both the highest status positions, as well as the widest range of accessed prestige or status. In her 1991-1992 study of the private security industry in Toronto, Erickson (as cited in Lin, 2001) used a position generator-related analysis to examine the relationship between social capital and class dimensions, pertaining to control, and job autonomy or authority; as well, as the convertibility of these dynamics into better jobs. Her findings revealed that access to social capital, indeed, helped people to rise to higher positions; furthermore, social capital influenced the job acquisition 111
  • 121. process regardless of whether an individual used a contact to obtain the particular job in question. Flap et al. (2003) originally developed and used the resource generator in their 1999 study of society in the Netherlands, to examine and analyze the salience of how the range of individual resources, as well as that of an individual’s network affects the quality of one’s social capital; thus, the reproduction of social equality or inequality. In addition, Wellman, Kayahara, Boase, Hogan, and Kennedy (2005) used their modified version of the resource generator, as a component in their 2003 Toronto study, to analyze the affect of computers and the internet, as it pertains to the quality and depth of relationships, as well as the range of individual networks and access to resources. On the other hand, their findings revealed that the internet and computers increased the quantity and/or range of individual resources and network contacts; however, decreased the quality and depth of relationships relative individual contacts. Livermore and Neustrom (2003), again, used their guided conversation protocol to determine whether caseworkers, program managers, and state-level administrators used their individual networks, hence, their social capital, to help clients (i.e., welfare recipients) find jobs. Furthermore, they examined the conditions or factors influencing the caseworker’s proclivity to do so. On one hand, their findings revealed that some workers, managers, and administrators, indeed, exert influence through their personal networks and/or use them to assist clients with job placement. However, their findings were somewhat limited due to the small and 112
  • 122. purposeful sample size; thus, they may not be representative of workers or agencies locally or regionally. Nevertheless, the findings open the door to further discourse relative to how the salience of social capital, relative to individual networks and resources, influences the dynamic processes of job placement. Data Collection The data collection conducted between September 2006 and December 2006 consisted of four subsequent data collection phases; in the manner depicted in the previous section. Over the course of several weeks and months, I as the researcher interfaced with program coordinators on a consistent and regular basis to engage in interview dialogue, as well as to collect data essential to this study. I as the researcher, with the assistance of the Regional AVID Program Coordinator coordinated the logistics relative to the individual program coordinators participating in the cross-case analysis. Data Collection Process as it Relates to the Instrumentation In the course of preparing the methodology for this investigation, I conceptualized the rationales for, developed, and designed the aforementioned instruments specifically for this project. Phase I involved a broad, but in-depth analysis of the range and quality of resources which comprise program coordinators’ individual networks and sources of support (N=8). This process consisted of administering adapted versions of the position and resource generators, illustrated in Appendices C and D respectively in survey form. This activity was feasible to complete in one interface with relative 113
  • 123. ease. The surveys elicited and codified the range and quality of individual networks; hence, deducing the extent of their social (i.e., cultural) capital. Phase II of the research process consisted of name-generating interviews, to ascertain the quality and depth of relationships as it pertains to the essential resources listed in the instrument. This component involved a smaller portion of the original sample, and entailed interfacing with a selected number of AVID program coordinators (N=4), where I will conduct name generating interviews. Phase III involved collecting qualitative interview data, derived from the results of name-generated interview phase, illustrated in Appendices B and F, on the nature of the relationships characterized their individual network of resources and forms of support; these interfaces were digitally recorded as well (N=4). Phase IV, the final phase of data collection consisted of semi-structured interviews, in the form of guided conversations. Interviews followed a protocol, depicted in Appendix E, which is an exploratory framework from which to conduct in-depth discussions with program coordinators as a follow-up to the network information elicited from the position and resource generators (N=4). The purpose of this process was to determine the program coordinator’s proclivity towards accessing their personal networks, hence their social capital, to convey essential resources, information, and opportunities to minority and low-status youth, in the context of the intervention. The exploratory framework design, also, determined the extent to which AVID program coordinators clearly understand social capital, as well as the how their individual networks of resources and forms of support factor 114
  • 124. into their ability to be institutional agents, who convey essential resources, information, and opportunities to minority and low-status youth in the context of intervention. The resulting outcome, thus, facilitates their academic and social mobility; and, fosters their empowerment. Again, these interfaces will be video and digitally recorded. The ultimate goal of these data collection instruments, as well as all of the activities entailed in this research methodology was to triangulate and, thus, validate information elicited from the cross-case analysis by identifying trends, similarities, and variations across subsequent data collection phases, relative to the program coordinators, which comprise this cross-case analysis. Data Analysis The purpose of this study was to isolate the salience of institutional agency within the context of an academic intervention program, in this case AVID. Institutional Agency refers to persons using their influence capacity, and resources within their own embedded networks to assist others, in this case minority and lowstatus youth, in gaining access to resources, information, and opportunities essential for academic and social mobility; hence, fostering their empowerment. Thus, the study examined the manner in which the people involved in the intervention program can potentially convey essential skills, which empower minority and low-status youth to overcome both institutional and societal obstacles and attain academic success. This also affirms or disproves their transformation from simple program leaders, to institutional agents. 115
  • 125. Phase I of the analysis organized network, hence, social capital data into tables that depict the range, quality, and diversity of network resources in numerical form. This data highlighted variations in the size of individual program leaders’ networks. Although, this data although may not be “representative” of the general population of program leaders, the information revealed in this phase of analysis was essential to depict the complexities that underlie the individual portraits characterized in this study. Phase II consisted of analyzing ethnographic interview data to examine and interpret individual dynamics and nuances surrounding the nature of the complex relationships or network ties reported by individual program coordinators selected for this component of the research process. Moreover, the transcribed qualitative data revealed the extent by which individual program leaders mobilize their networks and sources of support, and thematically characterize the obstacles or constraints that preclude their ability to mobilize their individual networks and sources of support in the context of the intervention. Summary This chapter depicts the research methodology and rationale utilized in the context of this study; including the design, sample population and relevant description of the specific participants, data instrumentation, data collection and, finally, the data analysis process. Chapter 4will depict the research findings, as well as detailed analysis of their significance. 116
  • 126. CHAPTER 4 DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF FINDINGS Introduction This chapter is an analysis of the data collected in the current study. The purpose of this study was to analyze the salience of institutional agency as an isolated social capital and empowerment mechanism that, when employed, fosters the academic and social mobility of minority or low-status youth within the context of AVID, a specific K-12 intervention program. In addition, the study examines the manner in which the people involved in the intervention program, in their potential roles as institutional agents, convey essential skills, information, and opportunities to minority and low-status youth relative to evolving dynamic contexts; thus, empowering them to overcome both institutional and societal obstacles to attain academic success. Hence, the data collection process focuses primarily on the AVID program coordinators to determine the range, quality, depth, and breadth of their individual networks of resources, and sources of support and information; as well as the how contextual factors facilitate or hinder their proclivity to mobilize individual networks in the context of the intervention. The study employed the following instruments in the context of the data collection cycles: • An adapted Position Generator; • An adapted Resource Generator; 117
  • 127. • An adapted survey to examine personal and professional affiliations; • An adapted Name Generator; with accompanying follow-up questioning in the form of qualitative interview; • Semi-structured interviews in the form of guided conversations. Data obtained and analyzed from the AVID program coordinators who participated in the study provided answers to the following research questions relative to the study: 1. To the degree those efforts to engage in social capital mobilization are made, how might the program coordinator’s accessible social capital play a prominent role? 2. Furthermore, what are some of the principle ways that AVID program coordinators mobilize their social capital in the context of program implementation? 3. What factors facilitate or constrain the accumulation of accessible social capital and agency-oriented mobilization of social capital (on behalf of program participants and/or program implementation)? 4. To what extent does AVID training identify the underpinning theoretical concepts and processes of social capital theory; thus do AVID program coordinators understand their role relative to the help-seeking and network-seeking orientations of institutional agency? 118
  • 128. Program Coordinator Participant Descriptions Eight individual AVID program coordinators comprised the original sample population of this cross-case analysis: 6 female and 2 male. Five of the program coordinators were Caucasian, and three were persons of color. I sorted or categorized the research participants into smaller subgroups to gain deeper insight into the, seemingly, hidden underpinning theoretical concepts that manifest themselves in the context of practical application: • Male (M) • Female (FM) • Caucasian (C) • Persons of Color (POC) • Caucasian Male (CM) • Male, Person of Color (MPOC) • Caucasian Female (CFM) • Female, Persons of Color (FPOC) Analysis of the Findings in the Context of the Research Questions Research Question One: To the degree those efforts to engage in social capital mobilization are made, how might the program coordinator’s accessible social capital play a prominent role? Corresponding Data used in the Analysis The position and resource generator survey instruments relative to Phase I of the research process were the primary instruments and activities used to collect data 119
  • 129. relative to this question. Here, I administered the position and resource generators, which were broad but in-depth surveys to the entire research sample population. The purpose was to gain insight into the range and quality of the resources, which comprise program coordinators’ individual networks, and sources of support. Analysis The theoretical and, consequently, the practical concern surrounding program coordinators’ accessible social capital relates to their ability and/or accessibility relative to high status positions. Table 15 depicts the strength or effectiveness of program coordinators’ accessible social capital relative to the status of positional contacts, pursuant to Blau and Duncan’s (1970) socioeconomic index of occupations (SEI). Accordingly, SEI scores rank in one of following ranges: • High Status (75 or higher) • Middle Class Status (60-74) • Lower Middle Class Status (40-59) • Lower Class Status (39 and below) The results of the survey administered to program coordinators indicated that 83 percent of their networks consist of middle-class or lower middle-class status positional contacts. While the range of SEI scores indicates substantial variation or variety in their networks, there are significant weaknesses in their ability to facilitate academic and social mobility as reflected by the mean scores of the program coordinators accessed positions. The remaining 17% of program coordinators’ contacts are high status positional contacts, which is relatively small. 120
  • 130. Table 15: Program Coordinator Accessed Positions and Positional Status Program Coordinator (N=8) Highest SEI Score Relative to Accessed Positions 1 (FPOC) 97 2 (FPOC) 85 3 (WM) 97 4 (MPOC) 97 5 (WF) 97 6 (WF) 97 7 (WF) 97 8 (WF) 97 Range of SEI Scores for Positional Contacts 73 36 73 73 58 73 50 73 Mean SEI Score of Accessed Positions 45.5 42.1 32.0 37.7 42.1 43.5 38.1 52.5 Percentage of High Status Accessed Positions .23 .19 .16 .13 .17 .16 .18 .17 Percentage of Accessed Positions Listed As “Friend” or “Acquaintance” .63 .70 .59 .34 .57 .65 .54 .55 Total Number of Positional Contacts 40 37 37 32 35 43 39 42 *WM=White Male *WF=White Female *MPOC=Male Person of Color *FPOC=Female Person of Color 121
  • 131. Results concerning “friends” and “acquaintances” (i.e., “weak” versus “strong” ties) and/or network size are somewhat inconclusive, because these survey results only reflect the actual existence of an accessible position, rather than the actual size of the network. Gender and ethnicity subgroups revealed results that were somewhat surprising, relative to the status of positional contacts. Resource model and reproductive social capital theory surmise that the status of positional contacts in the networks of Caucasians should be higher in contrast to their minority counterparts, suggesting that race in a dominant culture paradigm is a commensurate with positional contact opportunity. The female person of color subgroup, however, possessed the greatest percentage of high-status positional contacts, i.e., 21%. Results from the resource generator, as depicted in Table 16, offer practical insight into a possible theoretical counterbalance, in terms of the extensity of program coordinators’ cultural or human capital, as well as its potential convertibility into social capital. For the purposes of consistency, Table 16 depicts results, pertaining to program coordinators, in the same respective order as that of Table 15. This survey focuses more on what Granovetter (1983) terms, “network” extensity. Extensity refers to the actual size of the individual network, and, this survey measures the size or extensity, again, within the context domains of essential resources, attributes, or sources of support typically associated with an intervention design. Extensity also implies that the individual network extends outward from oneself, or from “ego” (Lin, 1999, 2000). Granovetter (1983) surmises that the strength of “weak ties” or “friend or acquaintance” contacts predicates the saliency 122
  • 132. of one’s individual network; thus, in terms of results of the resource generator survey, as the number of friends or acquaintances increase so too does the potential efficacy of the individual network. Despite the fact that the range of contacts relative to each resource or support category, as well as the total number of resource contacts varied between the program coordinators, all reported at least one resource contact for all (30) categories or domains listed on the resource generator survey. To some extent all program coordinators possessed ample amounts of human and cultural capital in terms of Lin (1999), Bourdieu (1986), and Coleman (1988). In essence, measuring human and cultural capital, indeed, was the primary purpose of the resource generator. More importantly, the results as indicated in Table 16 imply that program coordinators have adequate extensity in their networks, because “friends or acquaintances,” i.e.,” weak ties,” comprise the majority percentage of their networks. Yet, there were significant variations in the total number of friend or acquaintance contacts, as well as the mean scores of such between program coordinators, implying that some program coordinators’ networks, indeed, possessed more potential saliency than others did. Nevertheless, all are adequately suited to facilitate the acquisition of social capital for minority or low-status youth in the context of an intervention. As Lin (1999, 2000) and Granovetter (1983) surmise, extensive networks via weak ties afford individuals greater opportunities to access and mobilize social resources and forms of support. 123
  • 133. Table 16: Program Coordinator Resource Contacts and Extensity of Weak Ties Program Coordinator (N=8) Total Number of Resource Contacts 1 (FPOC) 62 2 (FPOC) 60 3 (WM) 57 4 (MPOC) 83 5 (WF) 72 6 (WF) 54 7 (WF) 60 8 (WF) 70 Total Number of “Friends” or “Acquaintances” listed on survey (“N=?”)—i.e., weak ties 263 352 102 189 497 104 172 563 Mean Score of “Friends” or “Acquaintances” 10.5 14.0 4.8 7.05 19.8 4.16 6.8 22.5 Highest Number of Acquaintances listed per Resource Contact 100 30 10 25 50 20 25 100 Range of Contacts Listed as “Friends” or “Acquaintances” 99 29 6 25 48 18 25 99 Percentage of Total Contacts Listed as “Friends” or “Acquaintances”—i.e., “weak ties” .60 .57 .60 .52 .54 .52 .58 .67 .25 .28 .28 .28 .31 .25 .21 .25 Percentage of Total Contacts Listed as “Family”—i e., “strong ties” *WM=White Male *WF=White Female *MPOC=Male Person of Color *FPOC=Female Person of Color 124
  • 134. Interestingly, as Table 16 illustrates, resource generator data from the analytical subgroups somewhat refuted theoretical nuances relative to the extensity of weak ties (i.e., acquaintances) in program coordinator’s individual networks of resources and sources of support, as it pertains to race and gender. The white female subgroup possessed the smallest extensity of weak ties, and female persons of color subgroup possessed the greatest extensity of weak ties; yet, female persons of color typically are the most-marginalized social cultural group (Bourdieu, 1986; Granovetter, 1983; Lin, 199, 2000; Maume, 1999). Overall, the fact that program coordinators’ networks possessed considerable extensity gives plausibility to the notion that human and cultural capital may facilitate the acquisition of social capital. Research Question Two: To what extent are AVID program coordinators able to mobilize their social capital to convey information, resources, and opportunities to minority and low-status youth in the context of program implementation? Corresponding Data used in the Analysis The primary instruments and activities used to collect data relative to this question were the name generating interviews and follow-up discussions related to the nature, quality, and depth of the relationships pertaining to the persons listed on the instrument who serve as providers of essential resources and/or sources of support. This particular set of activities involved the participation of a smaller portion of the original research sample (n=4), the implications of these results, in some respects, are a microcosm of the entire research sample. 125
  • 135. Analysis Table 17 illustrates the network scope and salience of each individual program coordinator involved in this portion of the research (n=4). Stanton-Salazar (2001) refers to multiplex relations, as incidents where a single contact person is responsible for 3 or more resources or sources of support, which implies that one’s network is complex or dense if it is extensive, or extremely simple and compact if the overall network size is small. The ethnicity ratios as shown here are less significant, because they mirror the demographic compositions of school sites where the program coordinators serve. The gender ratios are significant because .71% (27 of 38) of all persons named in the survey, as support contacts were female. Ratios of support and support contacts relative to the domains of essential resources are a more important factor as it relates to program coordinators’ ability to access and mobilize high status positional contacts. They lend insight into network salience regarding the potential mobilization of resources and social capital typically associated with high status positions, which predicate academic and social mobility as it pertains to minority or low-status youth. Table 17 revealed deficiencies in program coordinators’ individual networks. The overall scope and salience of the program coordinators’ networks relative to the essential resource domains are considerably small, because many, if not all, of the program coordinators’ resource and support contacts relative to the essential resource domains are located at the school site or within immediate or close proximity to it, e.g., Educational Gateway or Social Services support. In fact, nearly 82% (23 of 28 126
  • 136. Table 17: Program Coordinator Network Range Program Coordinator (N=4) Enrique Mendoza (MPOC) Network Size (number of persons 12 listed as sources of support) Multiplex Relations (number of 3 persons listed as 3 or more sources of support) Male/Female Gender Ratio of 5:7 support contacts Ethnicity Ratios of support contacts .51 Caucasian .25 Latino .08African American .08Vietnamese .08 Arabic (EG) 4:4 Ratio of resource or support (SS) 3:3 contacts relative to the domains of (MW) 1:2 essential resources (14) (GA) 1:2 (BF) 2:3 Highest SEI score of support 90 contacts Mean SEI Score of support 61.6 contacts Percentage of SEI Scores listed as 8% (1) High Status positional contacts Range of SEI Scores of support 56 contacts EG= Educational Gateway SS= Social Services MW= Medical and Wellness GA=Governmental Agency BF=Business, Financial, and Economic Natalie Hyde (WF) 12 Lynette Davies (WF) 7 Jonathan Stewart (WM) 7 4 1 3 3:9 2:5 1:6 .42 Caucasian .25 African American .25 Latino .08 Caribbean .72 Caucasian .14 Latino .14 African American .72 Caucasian .28 Latino (EG) 3:4 (SS) 3:3 (MW) 2:2 (GA) 0:2 (BF) 3:3 (EG) 3:4 (SS) 2:3 (MW) 1:2 (GA) 0:2 (BF) 0:3 (EG) 2:4 (SS) 3:3 (MW) 1:2 (GA) 0:2 (BF) 1:3 70 70 65 58.6 61.4 62.4 0% 0% 0% 11 31 11 127
  • 137. possible contacts) of all the program coordinators’ support contacts were within these two domains. This, along with the fact that their multiplex relations ranged from 14% to 42% suggests that their networks were relatively small and program coordinators may lack the structural holes necessary to cultivate new or additional sources of support (Granovetter, 1983; Linn, 1999; 2000). The program coordinators’ deficiencies relative to high-status positional contacts, however, only seemingly have implications that reach beyond the immediate confines of the school site setting, because they do not posses the means, or as Lin (1999) puts it, the “structural holes” to mobilize support or access information necessary to facilitate mobility. Two program coordinators in the sample directly address this issue as it pertains to their network shortcomings. Enrique Mendoza speaks of this dilemma as it relates to his own ability to access key sources of support pertaining to prestigious colleges and universities: …Oh, I wish I did know a member of congress or two; I assure you I’ve had more than I few students I would have loved to get on track towards an appointment at one of the Military academies…Yeah, sometimes the more prestigious schools become difficult to get them to, because at that level [with those schools] it’s usually more about who you know rather than what you know…I do try to track my students towards the UC [University of California] while others are simply thinking about community college or the local state university. I figure, why sell them short on information or something to shoot for, so I give them what I have available if I have it… (Interview 12/13/06) 128
  • 138. Natalie Hyde also reflected on her abilities to marshal critical resources and sources of support on behalf of her AVID students who have college aspirations; and, like Enrique, she frequently finds herself lacking key contacts relative to colleges and universities outside of her immediate proximity: …Well, yes I do find it a bit frustrating when I try to get one of my students positioned to go to somewhere other than the local state university or the local UC [laughing]. You definitely are on to something there; but, it’s not as if I don’t try though…I don’t really know a whole lot of people who we would say are “powerful”…It’s like the ole’ saying “sometimes it’s not a matter of what you know, but who you know.” I’d like to make some connections, but I find myself not always knowing where to start… (Interview 12/11/06) Yet, despite her resignation to the fact she lacks some degree of efficacy, she seems satisfied that she, indeed, can marshal what is necessary to help her students when duty calls. Question Three: What are the individual and contextual factors that facilitate or constrain the accumulation of accessible social capital and agency-oriented mobilization of social capital, on behalf of program participants and/or program implementation? Corresponding Data used in the Analysis Information from data collection activities throughout all four phases of the data collection process contributed to the analysis and interpretation relative to this particular question. The position and resource generators administered to the entire research sample in Phase I provided key insight into the depth, range, quality, and salience of the program coordinators’ individual networks of resources and sources of support. The information extracted from this process allowed me to focus on particular elements, components, and proclivities relative to the networks of the 129
  • 139. individuals who comprised the smaller research sample, and thus were involved in Phases II through IV of the research activities. Analysis One of the most significant individual factors relative to facilitating or constraining the accumulation of accessible social capital and/or agency-oriented social capital mobilization, is their limited access as it pertains to (high) positional status; indicative of the analysis of SEI scores depicted in Table 15. The average SEI scores of all the program coordinators’ positional contacts is 41.9. In relative terms, program coordinators can only convey limited salient social capital is it pertains to their individual network of resources and potential sources of support, because the majority of their positional contacts lie within the range of lower middleclass status. The plethora of program coordinators’ cultural and human capital, however, as well as the array of extensity relative to the “weak ties” in their individual networks potentially serves as a counterbalance to the negative impact of their deficient access to high-status occupational positions. Cultural and human capital affects, as well as their convertibility into social capital are greatest where social capital and/or income is previously low (Granovetter, 1983; Lin, 1999, 2000). Yet, the lack of access to high status positions seemingly creates a glass ceiling that, on some level, creates an artificial barrier to social and/or academic advancement, which occurs as the result of the limitations of the program coordinator’s efficacy within the scope of their individual network (Maume, 1999; Mehan et al., 1996). Program coordinators in the sample recorded 130
  • 140. only 43% (12) active resource mobilization out of the total possible potential resource contacts (totaling 28 for the entire research sample) within the essential resources domains typically with high status positions, i.e., medical wellness, governmental agency, business and financial. These deficiencies seemingly create a microcosm of sorts. Theoretically speaking, the deficient access to high status perpetuates embedded alienation (Coleman, 1986; Granovetter, 1983; StantonSalazar, 1997, 2000). Then there is the issue of critical consciousness and active (institutional) agency or help-seeking orientation, and, sub sequentially, agency-oriented resource mobilization. As this excerpt from his interface revealed, Enrique Mendoza is keenly aware of his role as it pertains to counterstratification. Thus, agency is unquestionably at the forefront of his critical consciousness and predicates his helpseeking orientation. Hence, he also actively engages in agency-oriented mobilization: Yeah, [as it pertains to social justice and equity] I mean I’m hoping that our kids are out there and going to realize what’s going on, and want to change the way things are by getting the skills they need to be successful and make a difference; yeah, I definitely want them to learn “the rules of the game” those rules that I learned—yeah, I guess you could say that’s why I’m here and why I’m doing this… (Interview 12/13/06). He goes on to specifically identify his critical consciousness and refer to his actions, in the context of his intervention program, as a byproduct of such: …Yeah, I use my personal contacts [resources] and people all the time, without even thinking about it…Hey, if my student needs a specific class to fulfill a graduation requirement, then I’m going to do whatever it takes to get them [students] taken care of, because if I don’t I’m afraid nobody else will…If it’s not that, then it’s helping them with applications, or financial 131
  • 141. aid, and this or that, it all depends on the situation that comesup…The problem with how I go about it something, though, is the fact that I sometimes come across as demanding, yeah I demand that my people help me help my students [laughing]…You know, I do this without reservation, right? Well, you might say that’s kind of what I expect out of everyone else as too [laughing]… (Interview 12/13/06) Meanwhile, Natalie Hyde’s critical consciousness coupled with her actions, relative to agency are somewhat unclear, despite the fact that, as indicated in this brief excerpt, she is committed to help her students advance themselves academically and socially. However, as she freely admits, she does not actively ponder equity issues, hence counterstratification, unless she has no other choice but to consider them. Therefore, she may not be engaging in active agency and agency-oriented mobilization in the context of her intervention program: Well, with that [social justice and equity] I’m not sure…well, I think the most important thing I want my students to have is choices or options in life. I know that I’m trying to influence the socioeconomic dynamic because if students have choices they can advance themselves beyond the lives and situations their parents can provide for them… Social culturally speaking, I don’t now if I think about that as much as I should; I know I think about that when I’m forced to think about it. I’m always a big fan of the process and I try not to spend much time thinking about the outcome as much. But, I do think if we take care of those little things that we’ve talked about the outcomes basically take care of themselves... (Interview 12/11/06) She seemingly does understand that she has arrived at a crossroads in her conscious or active thinking as it pertains to how she goes about accessing her personal resources to help students with a specific situation. She goes on to 132
  • 142. articulate this in explicit terms, as she describes her efforts relative to the resistance she encounters when eliciting assistance for her students: …Well, I know you’re not supposed to do this, but I do hold a lot of favor cards and I pull them out on people when I have to [laughing] because my students sometimes have to deal with some serious stuff—oh my god! What pisses me off is when some people start to get judgmental about our students and they start talking about students in terms of the fact that they [students] come from such low socioeconomic upbringings, and that we shouldn’t really expect more, or why am I so shocked and upset about the situation …Sometimes I get a little frustrated with people and their B.S., you know, that’s when I start pulling cards, and I’m constantly working to replenish my supply of them, because I find myself having to use them a lot [laughing]… but heck, I do, and I will… (Interview 12/11/06) Additionally, Jonathon also struggles with his active stream of consciousness as it pertains to agency. He seems to acknowledge that (white) privilege or a dominant cultural paradigm exists, but fails to establish a connection between personally benefiting from privilege and the need for his efforts, within the context of his intervention program, to serve as counterstratification mechanism. His active agency or his ability to engage in agency-oriented mobilization is, similarly, unclear. One could also argue that his reasoning is tantamount to conveying counterfeit social capital. Meaning, his “caring spirit” does not necessarily equate to an active counterstratification effort. His response in the following excerpt leaves one to questions whether he places a high premium on achievement, high standards, and success as it pertains to his minority and low-status students (Ream, 2005): Well, I think that on some level my [mission] definitely deals with it [social justice and equity]. I know I came from a very middle class home, but I think helping [minority and low 133
  • 143. status] kids realize that they may be poor but they’re not really poor is a big thing to me…Money is a constant focal point in our society, but can money really bring happiness? Can a person be poor, but rich in spirit and still be happy…I don’t know, hey, my take might be pretty arrogant thing to think being that I am a white male coming from privilege…I never really have given it much thought; I don’t know, I think it really depends on where you come from. You know, I didn’t consider being a white male a privilege, considering the fact that I’m also gay, until I started teaching in a predominately poor, Latino community…I want my students to believe that they can still be poor, but they can still go to college…(Interview 12/23/06) Finally, it is clear that Lynette Davies’ rational, also, is not replete with the critical consciousness essential facilitate active agency or agency-oriented mobilization of resources on behalf of her students. In fact, her response hints of an aversion towards being engaged in active agency: Oh, [social justice and equity]. You know I like working with these kids; growing up where I did it was always middle class, everybody was sort of the same. Whereas, what I’m doing here, I now know so much more about the world by working with these kids because they’re different from me, ethnically, socioeconomics…I feel that I know so much more about their cultures now, and I can see through the stereotypes better; so when I go home and see those images on TV, I don’t buy into it all…So I guess you could say that I strive to understand these cultures more so, by working with them… (Interview 12/14/06) Her aversion is explicitly apparent as she goes on to address this as a matter whether or how she is inclined to access her personal resources and sources of support to assist her students with a specific situation or circumstance. In fact, her aversion also seems to signal that, on some levels, she may be engaged in counterfeit social capital as well (Ream, 2005): 134
  • 144. …[Sighing] you know, sometimes I feel like I’m caught in the middle of people’s feelings and perceptions of these kids, and I find myself not really wanting to rock the boat that much, because a lot of times the things that come up for my students are complicated problems that may involve stepping on a few toes…I know many of my colleagues care, but I know sometimes I have to be mindful of how much I can really push people…You know, I don’t want to make any excuses, but sometimes I can only do so much, and I have to go on what I can do, as opposed to what I cannot… (Interview 12/14/06) Question Four: To what extent does AVID training identify the underpinning theoretical concepts and processes addressed by the resource model of social capital theory; thus, do AVID program coordinators understand their role relative to the help-seeking and network-seeking orientations of institutional agency? Corresponding Data used in the Analysis The guided conversation protocol relative to Phase IV of the data collection process was the primary method of eliciting information from the smaller portion of the original participant sample (n=4). The purpose of the exploratory interview framework, administered in the form of guided conversations, was to determine the extent to which AVID program coordinators clearly understand social capital and how their individual networks of resources and forms of support factor into their ability to be institutional agents. It was also important to ascertain the individual program coordinator’s proclivity towards conveying essential resources, information, and opportunities to minority or low-status youth in the context of an intervention design; and, thus, facilitating the academic and social mobility that fosters their empowerment. 135
  • 145. The nature of this particular research question affords the greatest opportunity for speculation and inconclusive findings pursuant to the data collection. The findings revealed insight into specific training and/or program deficiencies that ultimately lead to variegated outcomes relative to site-based AVID programs. Other scholars such as Mehan et al. (1994, 1996) and to some extent Stanton-Salazar, Vasquez, and Mehan (2000) have previously documented these inconsistencies, as well as root causes in their scholarly works. The findings revealed in the context of this study validate and/or revisit realms of discovery and notion previously explored by credible and accomplished scholars. Analysis These results and their implications are entirely subjective, and open to further scrutiny depending upon the prevailing paradigm that proponents of AVID choose to espouse, relative to the mission of AVID, its goals, ideals, and/or purpose. The evidence in the form of responses provided by the program coordinators leads me, as an objective researcher, to deduce that there may be some critical deficiencies in the AVID training regiment. There is cause for speculation and concern as to whether or not AVID-core training components convey the essential explicit language and training. Both are required to ensure that program coordinators and other persons involved in the intervention design clearly understand what being an “institutional agent” and/or “institutional agency” entails. 136
  • 146. The following brief excerpt portions from guided conversations with 2 program coordinators of the smaller research sample suggest that AVID training may not use explicit terms, language, and pedagogical design (Appendix F depicts these excerpts in their entirety). Such are essential components to ensuring program coordinators and other persons engaged in the intervention designs understand the underlying philosophical principles and/or the implications of institutional agency. The evidence provided below lends credence and veracity to the prevailing supposition at hand, as it relates to training design; as well as to why many site-based AVID implementation designs yield variegated results—between school sites, districts, and regions. While these two program coordinators hail from entirely different districts and school-wide learning communities, their thoughts on the subject are very similar. The first question asks them to contrast their site-based program mission relative to the overall mission of AVID. Although they were reluctant, both program coordinators point out that their site-based philosophies do differ somewhat from that of AVID in general: • Question: So, how do you site-based mission and AVID’s mission differ? Enrique: I think they are a lot alike, just looking at the acronym, “AVID” it’s about advancement… [However] I don’t think that AVID, being what it is, because it’s now a nationally recognized program—with all its certifications and all—is focused primarily on helping kids. I mean, these are definitely important, but it’s getting to the point that all the paperwork involved becomes distracting; and, I think that AVID teachers should be focused on being able to do their job, which is working with kids to empower them and their families... (12/13/06) 137
  • 147. Natalie: I think the word, “modification” might be a better way of putting it because we’ve made several modifications here at our site—there needs to be some modifications… There’s also a point about the AVID model being too idealist…I’m not going to sacrifice the well-being and overall success of my students to become a demonstration school site—for people to walk through [from AVID] to see... (Interview 12/11/06) The second question is important to the context, because although they hail from different districts and demographics, they have similar priorities in the scope of what constitutes program effectiveness: • Question: How do you ensure that your site-based program actually helps students advance themselves academically and socially? Enrique: I think the most important part of that, in AVID, is communication with the students, checking-in with and knowing them. Because, a lot of kids will really lie to your face, they’ll lie to their parents, and anyone else around and say that “they’re doing just fine”… So, we have to always be looking for and understanding patterns [with students]…personal things that go on with the family and all can definitely affect their education, so we can let them sweat that stuff too long by themselves, otherwise we may lose them… (Interview 12/13/06) Natalie: I think the most important part of that is the communication…We really keep after our students about the things they need to do to get themselves ready for college and the future. We spend a lot of time trying to “widen the scope” [of future vision] for our students. Finally, we really rely on our data to keep us and our students aligned with what they need, in light of the situation in their personal lives and sometimes despite their situation… (Interview 12/11/06) 138
  • 148. The third question relates specifically to AVID training, and its ability to prepare program coordinators for the realities of implementing an effective sitebased intervention. Here, the Enrique and Natalie both submit that there are some deficiencies in the training model. Importantly, they also attribute their success more to their innate ability or the supportive people around them, rather than the training model: • Question: So, how does AVID training help prepare you to do this, as it pertains to ensuring that your students are successful in terms of communicating with your students and understanding them, and intervening to help them when you feel that you have to? Enrique: I think it’s more, “me” than the AVID training that facilitates this; the training is very limited in terms of really teaching someone how to help kids…We meet 3 times a year? That’s not going to help a coordinator who doesn’t “know the ropes”… They really don’t prepare you for the hard work this kind of stuff takes…I would say they do a better job of “opening people’s eyes” to the A-G requirements, or to the “structure”, but that’s about it; I think it’s more up to the individual to run with it or not run with it… (Interview 12/13/06) Natalie: Well, I think the training really helps prepare you to implement the AVID model—really well; but, I really think I wouldn’t be as far along as I am if it weren’t for my close relationship with Edna [a school counselor mentioned in the name generating interview as a primary source of multiple forms of support]. She has showed me more of the ropes and helped me farther…I don’t think the training even comes close to preparing us for the reality of actually having to deal with the everyday challenges and problems our students face, and how we might help them deal with problems or overcome them. … (Interview 12/11/06) Despite the fact that critical deficiencies may exist in terms of training, as it relates to what “agency” entails in the context of the resources model of social 139
  • 149. capital, social closure and other normative components of social capital seemingly thrived in each of the four individual programs. Each individual program had unique conditions, replete with pervasive norms and sanctions seemingly draw the program participants, i.e., students, into a collective “oneness.” These norms and a sense of community serve to ensure that all students abide by the rules or covenants which govern their continued participation in AVID. Interestingly, all of the program coordinators give much of the credit, pertaining to the salience or effectiveness of their norms and sanctions, to upper-division students. These students advance the norms and sanctions in a manner that ensures that they and their lower division as counterparts remain accountable to the standards and expectations that predicate their membership or participation in the site-based AVID intervention program community. Lynette Davies’ account best surmises how social closure resonates throughout the intervention design, as well as the premium of its affect in maintaining cohesion and conformity throughout the community: …Students really understand the value of AVID and they are consciously aware that they have to maintain their grades and the right thing…They know that it is a privilege to be in AVID, and it’s something that they all take very seriously by the time they are juniors or seniors…Yeah, the seniors really get after the underclassmen and get them back in line when they screwup…It’s kind of nice, because I don’t have to say anything, they handle it themselves…The time I spend touching on this, I remind them about AVID as a privilege…Now, they have somewhat of an elitist attitude about it…It’s a good thing…(Interview 12/14/06) 140
  • 150. Thus, community in terms of what Lynette alludes to here is an explicit exercise, which manifests in implicit or “unspoken” behaviors that are clearly understood and pervasive throughout the intervention design; and, are important to preserving and sustaining the ethos of the community that comprises the AVID design. Thematic Summary of Key Findings in the Analysis Theme Number One: Program Coordinators have Critical Deficiencies in their Personal Networks Relative to the Status of Their Positional Contacts One of the most important findings of the analysis process is the fact that all of the program coordinators who participated in the study lack access to high status positional contacts within their individual networks of resources and/or sources of support. In short, their networks consist of middle to lower-middle class positional contacts, with minimal access to high status positional contacts. This finding alone surmises that their ability to convey essential resources and sources of support that could potentially facilitate academic and social mobility is extremely limited, because their own access to essential positional contacts is limited. Program coordinators, however, do possess a plethora of cultural and human capital within their individual networks of resources and sources of support. This, along with the fact that their networks reflect considerable extensity suggests that they are capable of conveying essential resources and sources of support in an efficacious manner. These factors are salient when social capital and/or income is already low. Such is the case as it pertains to the minority or low-status youth they serve in the context of their intervention programs. Nevertheless, the program coordinators are marred in a microcosm of middle and/or lower-middle class 141
  • 151. resources and sources of support that will impede their efforts to facilitate academic and social mobility as their students endeavor to advanced themselves and/or transcend the bounds of their immediate or proximal environments. Theme Number Two: Program Coordinators are Not Engaged in Active Agency as it Relates to Counterstratification Only a single program coordinator out of four who participated in this component of the research are consciously aware and/or actively engaged in institutional agency as a means to convey resources, information, and opportunities to minority or low-status youth in a manner that seeks to actively facilitate academic and social mobility or empowerment. Either they are not consciously aware of how their efforts (or lack thereof) in terms of counterstratification conduces academic and social mobility, or they do not subscribe to the notion that they should actively engage in agency as a means of counterstratification. One program coordinator seemingly acknowledges that she is coming to a critical crossroads in her paradigm concerning the subject. She reluctantly understands that her active actions, intentions, or streams of consciousness, relative to agency, are a critical lynchpin that predicates mobility as it pertains specifically to minority and low-status youth. The other two program coordinators are either reluctant to acknowledge that their efforts constitute agency, or they are simply unaware that agency is an integral component of their efforts in the context of their intervention program. 142
  • 152. Theme Number Three: AVID Training does not Explicitly Address Agency as an Intervention Design Relative to the Resources Model of Social Capital As evidenced by the responses of two of the four program coordinators interviewed, there may be some deficiencies in the AVID training model concerning what agency entails in terms of actively engaging to convey essential resources and sources of support to the youth they serve in the context of the intervention program. These deficiencies, consequently, leave the program coordinators’ effectiveness to chance, as it pertains to their efficacious ability to help students with their needs. This also affects their ability to facilitate academic and social mobility. Despite the fact that these deficiencies exist relative to the resources model of social capital, important components of the normative model or social closure thrive within these intervention designs. Program coordinators actively and consciously engage in cultivating, and maintaining these “communities” through norms and sanctions. They do so to an extent by which the communities are self-sustaining, because the program participants now actively engage in enforcing and/or ensuring that all participants abide by the norms and or expectations of the community. These conditions afford participants the opportunity or privilege of membership in the community, from which they receive benefit. This chapter depicts the data and ensuing analyses and discussions, which corresponds to each research question in this study. Chapter 5 will summarize the study and bring its implications to the forefront, while also submitting recommendations relative to intervention design and/or suggestions for future study or investigation. 143
  • 153. CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION OF KEY FINDINGS, IMPLICATIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS Discussion of Key Findings in the Analysis Theme Number One: Program Coordinators have Critical Deficiencies in their Personal Networks Relative to the Status of Their Positional Contacts Discussion To reiterate, all of the program coordinators who participated in the study lack access to high status positional contacts within their individual networks of resources and/or sources of support. Their networks consist of middle to lowermiddle class positional contacts, with minimal access to high status positional contacts. This finding indicates that their ability to convey essential resources and sources of support that could potentially facilitate academic and social mobility is limited, because their own access to essential positional contacts is limited. Program coordinators, however, do possess a plethora of cultural and human capital within their individual networks of resources and sources of support. Their networks, however, also reflect a considerable extensity, which suggests that they are capable of conveying essential resources and sources of support in an effective manner. These factors are salient and relevant to the minority or low-status youth they serve in their intervention programs, because social capital and/or income are already low. The program coordinators, nevertheless, are active in a microcosm of middle and/or lower-middle class resources and sources of support. This microcosm is what impedes their ability to facilitate academic and social mobility, as their 144
  • 154. students endeavor to advanced themselves and/or transcend the bounds of their immediate or proximal environments. The primary concern as it relates to the effectiveness of program coordinators’ individual networks is their lack of accessible social capital relative to high-status positions, which negates the range and depth of their individual networks. Consequently, this limits their ability(s) to help minority and low-status youth advance themselves beyond the barriers, obstacles, and socioeconomic constraints that perpetuate their marginalization (Lin, 2001; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000; Stanton-Salazar, 2001). An interesting and noteworthy discovery within the findings related to program coordinators and the degree of high-status positional contacts that comprise their individual networks, however, was that of the women of color subgroup. Surprisingly, they possessed the highest percentage of high-status positional contacts of all the analytical subgroups in the study (i.e., 21%). This finding suggests that other factors related to their individual backgrounds, e.g., age, upbringing, colleges or universities attended, socioeconomic status of their extended families, etc., might have contributed to this result (Cochran et al., 1990). Perhaps, this result suggests that human and cultural capital are more salient counterbalances affecting the quality and range of social capital, as it pertains to typically marginalized social cultural groups and/or genders. Although the factors related to these results are uncertain and somewhat inconclusive, the implications of this discovery warrant further investigation and/or examination in the future. 145
  • 155. Lin (1999), Bourdieu (1986), and Coleman (1988) all submit that human and/or cultural capital has more salient affect as it relates to the acquisition of social capital when income and/or accumulated social capital is low, and less of an affect when income and/or accumulated social capital is high. Data obtained from the resource generator surveys indicate that program coordinators’ individual networks and accessible resources afford them a rich and extensive array of accessible resources that typify cultural or human capital. These resources are convertible into social capital for minority or low-status youth in the context of an intervention when employed. Interestingly, this rationale, however, warrants a deeper question relative to the discovery concerning the women of color subgroup: could the accumulation of cultural and human capital and/or the quality of quantity of such ultimately have a greater impact on the resulting acquisition of social capital of marginalized social cultural and/or gender groups? The name generator interviews and surveys afford us a snapshot examination of the program coordinator’s individual network of resources and sources of support across specific domains relative to an intervention design. The most glaring deficiency, however, concerning the scope and salience of the program coordinators individual networks is their lack of high status positional contacts within the individual domains of essential resources and relationships. This was also the case concerning the primary discussion regarding question number one, and was relevant to the entire research sample. In essence, with the exception of one individual positional contact, the remaining positional contacts are middle to lower middle class 146
  • 156. status. These findings in this narrower context corroborate the results of the position generator, which surveyed a broader array of positions relative to the essential resource domains. The student demographic backgrounds relative to the site-based programs, i.e., predominately minority and/or low-status youth, suggest that program coordinators’ rich arsenal of cultural and human capital may indeed be a salient factor as it pertains to their convertibility into social capital. It is only when student needs or aspirations seemingly require program coordinators to move beyond the immediate confines of available, local, or immediate resources that these ill affects become a significant factor, because, in many cases significant academic or social mobility needs require access to high status positions (Lin, 1999, 2000). Mehan et al. (1996) also address this deficiency in terms of the limitations on program efficacy from site to site, and the inconsistencies that ensue as well. He cites access to college opportunities as a primary example. In many cases, program coordinators had adequate access to local area community college and state university information. The problem centered around access or conduits towards prestigious institutions outside of the immediate range and scope of the program coordinators’ networks (i.e., top-tier universities and military academies). Thus, the middle to lower-middle class microcosms depicting program coordinators’ individual networks ultimately created a “glass ceiling” of sorts (Baker, 2000; Coleman, 1988; Granovetter, 1983; Linn, 2000, 2001; Maume, 1999). 147
  • 157. Structural holes are an essential component of cultivating strong or salient “weak tie” networks. Although many of the program coordinators’ networks reflect substantial extensity as indicated in Table 16, there are considerable gaps in their networks across domains that may be critical to the success of their intervention designs. Importantly, structural holes are the connections or conduits through which a person connects their networks to that of others, and creates strength or saliency in the network via a “weak tie” (Granovetter, 1983; Linn, 1999, 2000). Table 17 indicates the greatest deficiencies in the program coordinators individual networks center around domains typically associated with high status positional contacts, e.g., medical, business, and financial, legal, political. Without these structural holes, program coordinators do not possess the ability to cultivate access to high status positional contacts; hence, the glass ceiling (Baker, 2000; Blau & Duncan, 1970; Maume, 1999). Theme Number Two: Program Coordinators are Not Engaged in Active Agency as it Relates to Counterstratification Discussion Only program coordinator out of four who participated in this component of the research was consciously aware and/or actively engaged in institutional agency. Thus, his efforts were specifically devoted to conveying resources, information, and opportunities to minority or low-status youth to facilitate their academic and social mobility, or empowerment. The remaining program coordinators were either not aware of how their efforts (or lack thereof) in terms of counterstratification conduces 148
  • 158. academic and social mobility, or they did not subscribe to the notion that they should actively engage in agency as a means of counterstratification. One program coordinator, however, acknowledged that she was coming to a critical crossroads in her paradigm concerning the subject. She reluctantly understands that her actions, intentions, or streams of consciousness relative to agency are a critical lynchpin that predicates mobility as it pertains specifically to minority and low-status youth. The other two program coordinators are either reluctant to acknowledge that their efforts constitute agency, or they are simply unaware that agency is an integral component of their efforts in the context of their intervention program. Agency and/or institutional agency are active conditions; involving active and contrived measures people engage in on the part of others in the context of facilitating resiliency or (academic or social) mobility. A person or persons make a conscious decision to engage in help-seeking or resource mobilization, on behalf of youth or others, who are traditionally marginalized by mainstream society relative to the dominant cultural (i.e., white, middle-class) paradigms woven into our prevailing social fabric (Singleton & Linton, 2005; Stanton-Salazar, 1997, 2000; StantonSalazar & Spina, 2000). If agency is an active condition, then the person or persons engaged in agency must have a critical consciousness of their engagement in such, as it pertains to counterstratification—its effects, as well as what it entails. Program coordinators must be engaged in agency actively and consciously to be effective in these milieus, 149
  • 159. and understand the importance of their role as it in the context of the student populations they serve, i.e., minority and low-status youth. The guided conversations shed some light on the subject concerning the program coordinators’ critical consciousness on the subject. Gauging program coordinator’s proclivity towards accessing their personal networks, resources, and sources of support in an effort to convey essential resources, information, and opportunities to minority and low-status youth in a manner that facilitates academic and social mobility, is subjective at best. Proclivity determines whether the program coordinators actively engage in agency-oriented mobilization. This behavioral inclination is somewhat connected to the program coordinators’ critical consciousness as it relates to institutional agency, agencyoriented mobilization, and/or counterstratification primarily because proclivity involves discretion, or, a conscious behavioral action (Livermore & Neustrom, 2003; Singleton & Linton, 2005). Unfortunately, for those whose critical consciousness as it relates to agency is uncertain we cannot conclude that they are actively engaged in agency-oriented mobilization of resources on behalf of minority and low status youth—or something else. Theme Number Three: AVID Training does not Explicitly Address Agency as an Intervention Design Relative to the Resources Model of Social Capital Discussion As evidenced by the responses of two of the four program coordinators interviewed, there are some deficiencies in the AVID training model. Specifically, it does not address the implications or requirements of agency. Stanton-Salazar (1997) 150
  • 160. and Stanton-Salazar and Spina (2000) define agency in terms of a person who actively engages in the process of conveying essential resources and sources of support to the youth they serve in the context of the intervention program. Therefore, the program coordinators’ effectiveness is left to chance, because they are not properly equipped with the skills necessary to facilitate academic and social mobility of the students they serve. Despite the fact that these deficiencies exist relative to the resources model of social capital, important components of the normative model or social closure thrive within these intervention designs. Program coordinators actively and consciously engage in cultivating, and maintaining these “communities” through norms and sanctions. They do so to an extent by which the communities are self-sustaining, because the program participants now actively engage in enforcing and/or ensuring that all participants abide by the norms and or expectations of the community. These conditions afford participants the opportunity or privilege of membership in the community, from which they receive benefit. It is important to point out that Enrique, as evidenced by his responses relative to AVID’s overall mission and the site-based mission, is a proponent of the ideal, i.e., “Advancement via Individual Determination.” This reality negates the skeptic, who might view Enrique’s philosophy pertaining to AVID as somewhat petulant. Enrique continues to maintain the school site’s status as a National Demonstration site, which requires a certain measure of conformity and/or compliance with the norms that govern AVID program and instructional 151
  • 161. implementation designs. Enrique’s pedagogy as a program coordinator epitomizes the ideal activities, advocacy, and outcomes AVID endeavors to attain and sustain in the context of its site-based programs (Stanton-Salazar, Vasquez, & Mehan, 2000). Enrique’s help seeking and network-orientation are consciously activated efforts to convey resources and assistance, in a manner that might translate into empowerment and advancement opportunities for youth (Stanton-Salazar, 2001; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). Based on his responses, his efforts to teach his students the “rules of the game” are indicative of the fact that he understands the boundaries and codes of power; as well as his responsibilities to convey this information to youth in explicit terms (Delpit, 1988; Stanton-Salazar, 2004). Social culturally speaking, his odyssey is a carefully contrived active stream of consciousness that actively seeks to attain equity; and, thus, counter stratification (Singleton & Linton, 2005; Stanton-Salazar, 2001). Enrique, however, is quick to call attention to the fact that much of his success as it pertains to being an institutional agent in the context of AVID is somewhat innate, per se; and, attributable to his close personal connection to the community, hence, his “sociological intuitions” (Stanton-Salazar, 2004, p. 32). His interview responses indicate that he is intrinsically motivated to be an institutional agent because it is the community where he grew-up; as evidenced by his willingness to return to that community—to teach. Hence, he is engaged in an active effort to advance the lives and outcomes of the youth he serves in the context of the intervention program (Ladson-Billings, 1995; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2003). As 152
  • 162. indicated in his response, he is quick to point out that AVID training designs do not address these issues, concerning what being an institutional agent entails, in explicit terms. Therein lays the dilemma: the program coordinator’s ability to understand and convey the “hidden curriculum” or implicit socialization skills, in explicit terms, predicates the success or failure of the intervention (Mehan et al., 1994, 1996; Stanton-Salazar, 2004, p. 32). Natalie possesses a critical consciousness, in which she is inclined towards a help-seeking orientation, or active agency (Stanton-Salazar, 1997; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). Natalie’s sociological intuitions relative to the community make her intrinsically motivated to convey implicit socialization skills, or the “hidden curriculum,” in explicit terms (Mehan et al., 1994, 1996; Stanton-Salazar, 2004). Structurally speaking, similar to Enrique, Natalie is committed to the mission and ideals of AVID. She indicates that there is the distinct possibility that the school site might become a National Demonstration site in the near future, which refutes cursory speculation that Natalie’s mindset or endeavors might be capricious (StantonSalazar, Vasquez, & Mehan, 2000). Similar to Enrique, Natalie alludes to the fact that there are specific deficiencies in AVID training, as it pertains to the “hidden curriculum” as it relates to implicit socialization skills. In fact, she attributes much of her success as a program coordinator to consciousness awareness of her personal limitations concerning the hidden curriculum; and, her ability to rely on a person in her network of support and resources, to supplant her own critical deficiencies in this area. 153
  • 163. The only unresolved question as it pertains to Natalie’s personal philosophy and motivation, relative to her agency-oriented resource mobilization is whether she is consciously engaged in counter stratification, hence equity (Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). On one hand, she underscores how vitally important communication and engagement with stakeholders (i.e., parents and families) is to the success of the intervention program (Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2003). Hence, she is actively engaged in agency. The question lies in whether her agency translates into a critical social cultural consciousness. When translated, one might deduce that she endeavors to attain social justice or equity, indicative of her apprehension to directly address the issue in her response on the subject (Singleton & Linton, 2005; Stanton-Salazar, 2001, 2004). One might speculate whether her idea of “options” is synonymous with empowering minority and low-status youth with the ability to extricate themselves from their communities of origin, and the social cultural nuances entailed in those communities. Ironically, if this is indeed the case her efforts and her critical consciousness might be counterproductive because she may be engaged in deficit pedagogy. Deficit pedagogy implies that if she empowers minority or low-status youth with options, they will conclude that their communities are undesirable. Consequently, the youth will choose to leave their communities or origin, which, in turn, further depletes the communities in general (Hollins & Spencer, 1990; LadsonBillings, 1995, 2001). 154
  • 164. Finally, the each of the program coordinators indicated that program participants engage in some degree of peer “self-check” or self-regulation. This reality indicates that program coordinators maintain a cohesive community that, to some extent, sustains itself by the sheer measure of the standards and expectations all participants and/or members must abide by, as a condition of reaping the privileges that membership in AVID entails (Coleman, 1988; Noguera, 1999; Portes & Landolt, 1996). Whether AVID advances a specific training ethos pursuant to or in accordance with its reputation, or that program coordinators have an innate ability to cultivate and maintain community relative to their familial and/or cultural identity or experience, is unclear. What is certain, though, is that none of the program coordinators attributed this condition of social closure to any explicit language in the AVID training design. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that social closure and its theoretical implications are pervasive throughout the intervention designs, and they do play and integral role in creating the cohesion within these communities (Kahne & Bailey, 1999; Maeroff, 1998). These notions related to the training design are a critical lynchpin that explain Mehan et al.’s (1996) discussion, which highlights the fact that although AVID program coordinators receive uniform training, student outcomes vary from site-tosite. These results suggest that training may not take into account that personal philosophy may also be a contributing factor to program outcomes. Perhaps AVID has not considered the fact that individuals (i.e., potential program coordinators) come into their program design with variegated or conflicting paradigms. 155
  • 165. Furthermore, these paradigms may either enable or inhibit the program coordinator’s ability to be effective within the context of the intervention. Implications of the Study This study brings the effectiveness of intervention designs to the forefront of examination. The primary focus centers on their ability to convey social capital, and to facilitate academic and social mobility as it pertains to minority or low status youth. The results revealed in this study illustrate that, perhaps, we might consider the potential effectiveness of persons involved in implementing the intervention programs as a factor contributing to program success or failure. This study capsulated a small and select group of program coordinators; yet, it sought to examine components of an individual’s networks of resources and sources of support affect the overall empowering (or efficacy) potential of the intervention program, in theoretical and analytical terms (Stanton-Salazar, 2004). As other scholars have suggested, we must also consider how we go about the business of intervention design (Hernandez, 1995; McLaughlin et al., 1994). Specifically, in terms of explicit training, and how it affects one’s ability to cultivate resources that, when accessed or employed, can facilitate academic and social mobility or foster empowerment as it pertains to minority and low-status youth. This is particularly important as it relates to AVID, because, in some respects, it seeks effectiveness through universal treatments through strategic socialization (Mehan et al., 1994, 1996; Stanton-Salazar, 2001; Stanton Salazar et al., 2000). 156
  • 166. Kahne and Bailey (1999) point out that innovative intervention designs do not necessarily guarantee program success, in terms of the people involved in the intervention and their ability to convey social capital, when their own individual social capital base is either low or deficient (Lin, 1999, 2000). Specifically, social capital that is convertible to economic capital is the critical lynchpin in terms of productive power (Lin, 2000, 2001). The fact is that we live in a society where economic productivity predicates power structures, dominance, and the dynamics of how social cultural and socioeconomic groups behave and interact—with each other and amongst themselves (Coleman, 1998; Lin, 2000; 2001; Portes & Landolt, 1996). In theoretical terms, social capital is an integral component of social mobility and/or social reproduction, as it pertains to social dominance versus social oppression (Bourdieu, 1986; Stanton-Salazar, 2004). The people involved in implementing intervention designs, such as site-based AVID programs must be consciously aware of the social capital they can potentially convey to the program participants they serve, which in most cases are minority or low-status youth. Program coordinators must also receive adequate training as to how they might cultivate new resource contacts when their individual networks of resources and sources of support, relative to (high) positional status is deficient. The study also revealed the potential power and salience of both camps of social capital theory in the context of an intervention design. Noguera (2002) offers a potential framework in his work with an urban community in Oakland, California. He highlights the importance of bridging blighted communities to resources, as well 157
  • 167. bonding citizens together through information, training, and engagement as essential components to change or improvement, i.e., mobility and empowerment. Theoretically speaking, Noguera (2002) infers that explicit articulation and/or understanding of both camps can bolster the efficacy of a contemporary intervention design for a targeted population, such as minority or low-status youth. He also submits that culture and cultural understanding are just as important to facilitating and sustaining mobility and empowerment, as the resources and information. Critical consciousness as it pertains to agency, and/or what being an institutional agent of change entails is the lynchpin that predicates efficacy (Singleton & Linton, 2005; Stanton-Salazar, 1997; Stanton-Salazar & Spina, 2000). Looking at the various AVID programs and the program coordinators interviewed in the study, deeper questions emerged. First, are the intervention programs, such as AVID and the people involved implementing and sustaining an effective intervention design that is compatible with the needs of the youth they intend to serve? On the other hand, are these entities advancing an intervention framework for the sake of the framework rather than its resulting impact? These questions resonate, because the various AVID programs observed in the study illustrated the variegated results that Mehan et al. (1996) chronicle in their writings. The research and discoveries also validated Stanton-Salazar’s (2004) suggestion that the effectiveness of a site-based intervention program is more dependent on the efficacy of the individual who runs the program (i.e., the program coordinator), rather that the intervention design or template. 158
  • 168. Additional questions relative for future research also surfaced during interfaces with program coordinators. The answers of which further bring race and culture to the forefront of the discussion. Critical race was a primary component of the literature review; however, logistical and time constraints precluded extensive examination of how it manifests in the context of an intervention dynamic. Nevertheless, this exploration is essential to future discussions, now that we have established a scholarly platform from which to measure and analyze social capital in terms of what an individual brings into the implementation of the intervention design. Critical race theory has implications relative to the additional questions that emerged from the study; the answers of which are relevant to future intervention designs and instructional pedagogy. Limitations of the Study This study depicts how an individuals’ accumulation and mobilization of social capital may affect their ability to convey resources, information, and opportunities to minority or low-status youth in the context of an intervention in an effective. Although the findings and ensuing discussions may have significant implications that reach beyond one specific intervention design, it is also important to note that this there are limitations to this study. First, the study and analysis were limited to a small group of program coordinators selected from a list source provided by AVID officials. The program coordinators were selected based on the certification rating of their program, to ensure that no level of program quality rating was overrepresented in the sample. The coordinators were also selected in a manner 159
  • 169. that ensured they had adequate time and experience in their positions, which according to AVID equated to 2-3 years. In addition, the instruments related to the study were specifically modified from the Business industry, replete with a scholarly rationale that allows for utility in the context of educational intervention designs. The data analysis revealed that these instruments created some redundancy in the information obtained in the data collection process. In short, there were drawbacks, hence flaws, in the instrument design. Another factor related to the unique design of the instruments used in the study is the fact that the SEI scores depicted in Appendix H are the subjective result of comparative analysis of the occupational status rationales of at least 3 different studies. Recommendations It is imperative that intervention programs, such as AVID, that engage in assisting minority, or low-status youth consider commencing a critical inventory of their training designs. Explicit awareness of social capital, as well as the ability to cultivate networks of resources and sources of support is critical elements of program effectiveness. This also predicates the program’s ability to empower minority or low status youth, which is also a key component of its effectiveness. Many, implement their interventions without explicit training concerning the fact that individuals involved in the implementation convey some form of social capital either whether they are aware of it or not. There lies a difficult challenge for programs such as AVID, as it pertains to re-examining its training design relative to 160
  • 170. program coordinators: is AVID ready (or willing) to commence a critical analysis of its practices in a manner that may shed light on the fact that its current program design may not be effective in some cases? Interestingly, AVID officials played an integral role in helping secure opportunities to observe site-based programs, and officially, interface with program coordinators. These officials, however, expressed some concern that results that portray AVID in a “negative” light would produce a “snowball” effect, and jeopardize its reputation and/or its ability to expand and help more youth nationwide—and internationally. Maintaining the integrity of the research questions and this project after obtaining AVID’s consent was an ironic and precarious challenge. There was a considerable amount of intrepid energy spent protecting the project from any undue interference or influence from AVID that might somehow skew the findings. Perhaps, a nationally renowned program such as AVID would embrace research findings that reveal critical deficiencies, relative to its potential effectiveness, as an opportunity to learn, discover, grow, and improve, as would any other professional learning community. The findings of this research suggest that there are some deficiencies within the AVID implementation design that can be improved the overall efficacy site-level implementations, if they choose to examine and address these issues. Based on its reputation, one can conclude that AVID engages in helping students who would not have any other opportunities for advancement without its existence. One could also surmise that AVID most likely 161
  • 171. seeks opportunities to learn, grow, evolve, and improve. The evidence provided in this study offers AVID insight into a previously overlooked dimension of its implementation; the salience of which they may not be fully aware. AVID has a unique opportunity to examine its training methods and practices, and improve its overall implementation relative to its mission. Importantly, if AVID embarks upon this critical analysis of its practices and training, they will be better capable of meeting the needs of the minority or low-status youth who seek benefit from it. Suggestions for Further Study With a proper platform now in place from which to measure and analyze the social capital of individuals involved in the implementation of an intervention design, the secondary research questions come to the forefront of the discussion and analysis. The answers to the primary research questions are the crossroads from which to examine the behavioral dynamics relative to racial and cultural interaction in the context of intervention design. Race, cultural perceptions, and behavioral dynamics are all important components in intervention design because intervention programs such as AVID primarily interface with traditionally marginalized social cultural groups, i.e., minority and low-status youth. The volatile realities of these questions may lend further insight into why many interventions and other endeavors related to student-learning (or social) outcomes produce variegated results. 162
  • 172. Thus, although these questions for future research specifically relate to AVID, they are applicable to any intervention design; and, the answers of which may have wide-reaching implications for intervention programs and educational pedagogy in general: 1. How do individual perceptions and ideologies of race, ethnicity, and status attainment manifest in the AVID Program coordinator’s network orientation and/or their help-seeking orientation, as it pertains to working on behalf of program participants and program implementation? 2. How do individual teachers’ perception of race and color manifest in their implementation relative to institutional agency? 3. Which camp of social capital theory explains the intervention emphasis? 4. What dissonance may result from the predominant theoretical foundation driving the training? 5. Are there variations between cultural groups pertaining to how (well) they respond to AVID programs? 6. Which components of institutional agency are missing from the hidden curriculum? These questions and/or their implications emerged as the endeavor to elicit answers to the primary research questions unfolded. Adequate time and resources in the future will allow me to observe program coordinators and interface with them for 163
  • 173. an extended period, i.e., 6-12 months. This future research will also include observations, interactions, and interviews with students and parents. The answers and implications of this future research would have theoretical relevance and practical application towards future intervention designs and educational pedagogy. My hope is that such might serve to improve the cause of facilitating the academic and social mobility of not only minority and low-status youth, but of all children— for the betterment of all of our lives, our futures, the cultures that comprise our unique and diverse society, if not sustainability of our society and public education itself. 164
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  • 180. APPENDICES 171
  • 181. Appendix A: Resource Domains and Essential Resource and Relationship Groupings Medical or Mental Health and Wellness Physician Dentist Clinical psychologist Psychiatrist Social Service Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Social Worker Crisis counselor Youth shelter coordinator Mentorship coordinator Educational/College Gateway College Admissions director College entrance testing preparatory tutor Content-area tutor College counselor College Professor College recruiter College Dean, Provost, or President School counselor Scholarship coordinator or chairperson Financial aid advisor Assistant or Deputy Superintendent Superintendent of Schools Grant writer or coordinator Grant provider Department Chairperson/School Faculty Assistant Principal Principal Community College Counselor Vocational or Technical School recruiter College Athletic Director/coach Governmental Agency Military recruiter School Board Member Juvenile Court Judge Executive Law Enforcement personnel, e.g., Captain, Lieutenant, or Sergeant. Juvenile Probation Officer Job Corps recruiter 172
  • 182. Business, Financial, or Economic Banking or Investment advisor Credit counselor Trade Union representative 173
  • 183. Appendix B: Name Generator Preface interview session with the following introduction: Over the course of our conversation, I would like to get an idea of the people who are important to you in your efforts to help students, in various ways. I will preface each topic with a description of the ways that people assist you in helping you figure out how to get your students the help they need. After reading each description, I will be asking you to provide me with only the first names of these people who you would go to with confidence, if you needed this type of assistance on behalf of your students. These people could be your friends, family, colleagues, supervisors, mentors, or other people you might know. If you feel that there isn’t anyone you would go to with confidence, for a specific type of assistance described on behalf of your students then let’s talk about that as well. If there are any descriptions or questions that may be unclear, please don’t hesitate to ask me to clarify anything. Are you ready? 1. 1. Social Developmental Mentoring and Support: • When you have a student who has ongoing developmental issue and is in need of long-term guidance and/or close mentoring, who are the people you would most likely call to assist you in figuring-out how to get the students the support they needed, before you would ask anyone else to help you? • In the past year, which of these people have actually helped you this way? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 2. Medical Health and Wellness Support: • If one of your students has, a medical or dental need that you feel is not being adequately attended to by the school or his/her family, who can you call with confidence to assist you in getting the proper attention the student needs. • In the past year, which of these people have you actually called upon to assist you? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 3. Crisis Support: • If one of your students, is experiencing psychological or emotional crises, who are the people you would most likely call upon for assistance in dealing with the crisis. 174
  • 184. • In the past year, which of these people have you actually called upon or referred someone to for assistance? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 4. Educational and/or Gateway Support: • When you need specific information or assistance, with an educational concern one of your students or program participants, who are the people you would most likely call upon to assist you in figuring out how to get the help your student needs, before you would ask anyone else for help? • In the past three months, which of these people have you actually called upon or referred to for assistance? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 5. Legal Assistance: • If one of your students has legal issues or questions, who are the people, you would most likely call upon to assist you in figuring-out how to get the help your student needs, before you would ask anyone else for help? • In the past year, which of these people have you actually called upon or referred to for assistance? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 6. College Information and Support: • If one of your students needs to obtain college information essential to one of your students or program participants, who are the people you would most likely call upon for assistance in figuring out how to help your student, before you ask anyone else? • In the past year, which of these persons have you actually contacted and/or referred to receive assistance? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 175
  • 185. 7. Financial Information and Support: • When one of your students needs information or assistance regarding financial matters, who are the people you would most likely call upon for assistance in figuring out how to help your student, before you ask anyone else? • In the past years, which of these persons have you actually contacted and/or referred to receive assistance? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 8. Executive or Administrative Educational Support: • If one of your students needs assistance and/or information from a person in Administrative leadership and/or Executive leadership (e.g., Principal, Superintendent, Dean or Provost, etc.), who are the people you would most likely call upon for assistance in figuring out how to help your student, before you ask anyone else? • In the past year, which of these persons have you actually contacted and/or received assistance? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 9. Job or Career Placement Support • If one of your students needs assistance and/or information regarding employment options and/or prospects, who are the people you would most likely call upon for assistance in figuring out how to help your student, before you ask anyone else? • In the past years, which of these persons have you actually contacted and/or referred to receive assistance? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past years? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 10. Political Support: • If one of students needs some assistance with a political issue, who are the people you would most likely call upon for assistance, e.g., Board Member, state, local, or federal government, in figuring out how to help your student, before you ask anyone else? • In the past year, which of these persons have you actually contacted and/or referred to receive assistance? 176
  • 186. • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 11. Mentoring Assistance and Support: • When one of students needs specific mentoring assistance, who are the people you would most likely call upon for assistance in figuring out how to help your student, before you would ask anyone else for help? • In the past year, which of these people have you actually called upon or referred to for assistance? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 12. Mental Health and Wellness Support: • If when one of your students is in need of ongoing emotional and/or moral support, who are the people you would most likely call upon for assistance in figuring out how to help your student, before you ask anyone else. • In the past year, which of these people have you actually called upon or referred someone to for assistance? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 13. Law Enforcement Support: • If one of your students needs assistance with specific law enforcement concerns, who are the people you would most likely call upon for assistance in figuring out how to help your student, before you ask anyone else? • In the past year, which of these people have you actually called upon or referred someone to for assistance? • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? 14. Scholarship or Grant Funding Support: • If one of your students needs assistance with grant or scholarship funding, who are the people you would call upon to assist you in figuring out how to help your student, before you would ask anyone else for assistance? • In the past year, which of these people have you actually called upon or referred someone to for assistance? 177
  • 187. • Is there anyone who you would not normally rely upon for this type of assistance, but who actually did help you in this way during the past year? • Have you ever been in a position where you either directly provided this resource to one of your students or (possibly) your program colleagues? Classifications for Codifying Name-Generated Contacts • Nature of relationship (e.g., friend, family, colleague, etc.) o 1—Mother o 2—Father o 3—Son o 4—Daughter o 5—Niece o 6—Nephew o 7—Aunt o 8—Uncle o 9—Cousin o 10—Grandmother o 11—Grandfather o 12—Friend o 13—Acquaintance o 14—Organizational/Specific Affiliation o 15—Program Staff Member o 16—Parallel Colleague o 17—Subordinate Staff Member o 18—Supervisor o 19—Mentor o 20—Program Supporter o 21—Program Volunteer • Sex/Gender of contact 1—Male 2—Female • Contact’s Primary and Secondary Ethnicities 1. African (continental) 2. Black/African-American/non-Latino 3. Caribbean 4. Mexican-American 5. Puerto Rican 6. Caucasian/non-Latino 7. Filipino 8. Samoan 9. Guamanian 178
  • 188. 10. Hawaiian 11. Other Pacific Islander 12. Asian/Sub-Continental and India/Eurasia 13. Cambodian 14. Vietnamese 15. Korean 16. Japanese 17. Chinese 18. Laotian 19. Thai 20. Arabic • Duration of the Relationship o Years and Months—rounded off to nearest .5 • Relative Settings of the Relationship o Category A: Intervention Program ƒ 1—Program staff meetings ƒ 2—Meetings pertaining to outside evaluation o Category B: Collaboration with Outside Entities ƒ 1—Cross-program participation/planning and organizing activities ƒ 2—Stakeholder collaboration meetings o Category C: Community/Personal Network ƒ 1—Residential neighborhood ƒ 2—Church or other religious setting ƒ 3—Volunteer organization ƒ 4—Civic organization/Political Lobby ƒ 5—Social circle ƒ 6—Health or Fitness club ƒ 7—Child-oriented organizations or activities ƒ 8—Child’s school-oriented activities o Category D: Professional/External to intervention but related to role as institutional agent or youth mentor ƒ 1—Professional associations or committees ƒ 2—Departmental staff meetings ƒ 3—Staff-wide training or professional development ƒ 4—Union activities 179
  • 189. o Category F: Professional/External to intervention but NOT related to role as institutional agent ƒ 1—Professional associations or committees ƒ 2—Departmental staff meetings ƒ 3—Staff-wide training or professional development ƒ 4—Union activities o Category G: Family/Kinship ƒ 1—Special occasions or gatherings ƒ 2—Child-oriented activities or organizations ƒ 3—Child’s school-oriented activities ƒ 4—Adult kin-oriented activities • Frequency of Contact A—daily B—(at least) once weekly C—(at least) once bi-weekly D—(at least) once monthly E—once every 3 months F—once every six months G—once a year H—sporadically/on occasion • Contact’s occupation/SES o Per Duncan (1970) scale of occupational status Inquiries about People/Names Reported as Likely Providers of Support 1. Let’s talk about your relationship with________. When did you first meet, and how were you acquainted? a. Is this person an immigrant to the United States?_____ b. If so, how old where they when they immigrated to the United States?____ c. (If applicable) Do you know if one or both of their parents immigrated to the United States?_____; if so, from what country or countries?______ d. (If not an immigrant) Do you know what part of the country this person is originally from?_______ 2. How often do you get together or have personal conversations with_______? 180
  • 190. 3. (Remind respondent that they indicated this person as source of multiple supports—name the supports) Do you ever feel uncomfortable about asking_______ for help for any of the sources of support you indicated them as a resource with? (explain the circumstances) 4. Has any event occurred in the context of relationship that has either improved the relationship, or made it more conflictive? (If yes, explain the circumstances). 5. (Applicable for providers of three or more types of support) It appears that_____ is an important source of support for you a. How would you describe your relationship with________ b. Tell me about the last time______ helped you. Describe the situation that you needed help with? c. How did you feel about the support he/she gave you? d. Did the support or assistance actually fulfill your needs? Why or why not? e. Would you turn to them again for the same type of help in a similar situation? Why or why not? f. Has ______ ever asked you for assistance with an issue or problem? i. ii. If so, what kind of help? If not, why do you suppose? g. Have you ever been upset at, or had disagreements with _______? i. ii. iii. If yes, explain. How did you resolve your differences? If no argument, why do suppose that has not happened? 181
  • 191. Appendix E: Guided Conversation Protocol AVID Program Coordinator Exploratory Interview Framework a. Describe the differences between the visions of the AVID Program in general and that of your site-based program (e.g., mission, processes, structure). i. Do you agree or disagree with either vision? Why? ii. Do the students you serve influence your mission? Why? iii. How do you convey your site-based mission to your site team in the context of planning meetings or other faculty members? b. How are funds allocated to and distributed in the context of the AVID program? i. How do other faculty members respond? ii. What is your relationship with the person in charge of budget allocations? c. Describe the types of activities your AVID program entails for students. d. How do you define success in the context of the AVID program? e. Does the program have norms and sanctions? i. With students? ii. With AVID teachers? iii. If so, how are they enforced? f. Describe the duties and responsibilities of: i. The program coordinator ii. The AVID Teacher 1. What would be ideal? 2. How does the reality compare with ideal? g. Take us through a typical day in the life of an AVID program coordinator… Rank the order of importance of your duties relative to the typical day. h. What conditions warrant rewards or recognition for: i. Program coordinators ii. AVID teachers. i. What do program coordinators do to: i. Recruit students and get them to remain committed to the program ii. Help students overcome barriers or obstacles to success iii. Help students develop essential skills that will assist them in their efforts to advance themselves academically and socially 184
  • 192. j. k. l. m. n. iv. Assure that students acquire the essential skills that will facilitate their academic and social mobility. v. Encourage partnerships and collaboration between faculty members and/or community-based organizations. Does the site-based AVID program have any unique focus that separates it from other sites? How do you ensure that AVID program design matches the requirements students need to advance themselves academically and socially? How do you assess what works and what does not? Do you seek opportunities for students to advance themselves academically or socially? Describe how… Do you use anyone in your personal network of contacts to achieve this? Describe a condition or situation in which you do so… i. What type of information, resource, or opportunity where you attempting to convey? ii. Characterize your relationship with this contact? 1. How long have you known each other? 2. How often do you interact with him or her? 3. How many times has this person helped you in your efforts to convey essential information, resources, and opportunities to students? iii. Have you ever used anyone in your personal network to exert influence in an effort to provide resources, information, or opportunities for students, e.g., college admission or scholarships? 1. Characterize your relationship with this person. a. How long have you know each other? b. How often do you interact with this person? c. How many times has this person helped you? 2. Level of discretion in doing so 185
  • 193. Appendix F: Guided Conversation Excerpts Concerning AVID Training • Question: So, how do you site-based mission and AVID’s mission differ? Enrique: I think they are a lot alike, just looking at the acronym, “AVID” it’s about advancement; for these kids it’s about advancing them beyond their families that brought them into the world and raised them as best they could. Also, Part of AVID is to also make sure that they are responsible citizens and given back to their community as well...Frankly speaking, and this has gotten me into trouble—I don’t care—I don’t think that AVID, being what it is, because it’s now a nationally recognized program—with all its certifications and all—is focused primarily on helping kids. I mean, these are definitely important, but it’s getting to the point that all the paperwork involved becomes distracting; and, I think that AVID teachers should be focused on being able to do their job, which is working with kids to empower them and their families... (12/13/06) Natalie: I think the word, “modification” might be a better way of putting it because we’ve made several modifications here at our site—there needs to be some modifications…Sometimes I don’t think I do a great job as far as getting kids thinking realistically about college early on [in 9th grade]... There’s also a point about the AVID model being too idealist. I mean with the AVID tutorials…I think they’re wonderful, I really do; however, one thing that we’re finding, especially with our [site-based student] population is that the tutorial model works more during their senior year because that’s when everything comes together and they [students] “get it”…But, then as I say all this, we might be up for becoming a demonstration school next year, so we might have to pull back and become more conforming with the ideal model—I don’t know how that will fly with our students. But hey, if it becomes too much of a conflict, I will forgo the demonstration school bit—I really don’t care. I’m not going to sacrifice the well-being and overall success of my students to become a demonstration school site—for people to walk through [from AVID] to see... (Interview 12/11/06) 186
  • 194. • Question: How do you ensure that your site-based program actually helps students advance themselves academically and socially? Enrique: I think the most important part of that, in AVID, is communication with the students, checking-in with and knowing them. Because, a lot of kids will really lie to your face, they’ll lie to their parents, and anyone else around and say that “they’re doing just fine.” But, you’ve got to know who they are—just like any good teacher who knows their students, will know as soon as their students walk through the door whether they’re having a good day or a bad day. So, we have to always be looking for and understanding patterns [with students]…personal things that go on with the family and all can definitely affect their education, so we can let them sweat that stuff too long by themselves, otherwise we may lose them… (Interview 12/13/06) Natalie: I think the most important part of that is the communication—between teachers, from teacher to student, home; sometimes our setting is the most stable thing in their [students’] lives, and that where our sense of community as an AVID group comes into play. We really keep after our students about the things they need to do to get themselves ready for college and the future. We spend a lot of time trying to “widen the scope” [of future vision] for our students. Finally, we really rely on our data to keep us and our students aligned with what they need, in light of the situation in their personal lives and sometimes despite their situation… (Interview 12/11/06) • Question: So, how does AVID training help prepare you to do this, as it pertains to ensuring that your students are successful in terms of communicating with your students and understanding them, and intervening to help them when you feel that you have to? Enrique: I think it’s more, “me” than the AVID training that facilitates this; the training is very limited in terms of really teaching someone how to help kids—I think they talk a good game about what were supposed to do for kids, but they don’t “help” coordinators [to become advocates for kids]…What? We meet 3 times a year? That’s not going to help a coordinator who doesn’t “know the ropes”…Sure, they tell 187
  • 195. you what the A-G [course] requirements, but they show you what you need to do, how to counsel kids, how to talk to parents and explain to them what their kids need to get into college, and how to ensure that kids are enrolled in the most rigorous courses. They really don’t prepare you for the hard work this kind of stuff takes…I would say they do a better job of “opening people’s eyes” to the A-G requirements, or to the “structure,” but that’s about it; I think it’s more up to the individual to run with it or not run with it… (Interview 12/13/06) Natalie: Well, I think the training really helps prepare you to implement the AVID model—really well; but, I really think I wouldn’t be as far along as I am if it weren’t for my close relationship with Edna [a school counselor mentioned in the name generating interview as a primary source of multiple forms of support]. She has showed me more of the ropes and helped me farther along with what I need to do on behalf of my students than any training has—heck, I don’t think the training even comes close to preparing us for the reality of actually having to deal with the everyday challenges and problems our students face, and how we might help them deal with problems or overcome them. Edna has definitely been the key to my success in that respect…For that, I am grateful for our working relationship… (Interview 12/11/06) 188
  • 196. Appendix G: Name Generator Survey SOCIAL NETWORK SURVEY (“NAME GENERATOR”) Respondent: _______________ Date: ____________ Start Time: _________ End Time: __________ Interviewer:______________ N w k M bs 0. R sp 1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 0 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 R S e e l x A g e M E a t r h 1 E t h 2 D S u e r t 1 S e t 2 S e t 3 F r e q S E I 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1 0 1 1 1 2 1 3 1 4 1 5 1 6 1 7 1 8 1 9 2 0 189