Reading, Writing, and Race: Lessons on Social Bonding in the School Environment

Christine A. Eith, University of Delaware
Erika A. Harrell, University of Delaware
Steven S. Martin, University of Delaware

Previous research has indicated that individual demographic information such as race and gender can influence one's social bond to school. The literature suggests that there is a qualitative difference in the school experience for AFrican American students as well as "empirical realities", such as a higher drop-out rate and higher levels of discipline, that indicate racial differences in the school experience. There is also evidence that the strongest predictors of achievement by whites, including family structure and parental involvement, are not as influential in predicting achievement in African Americans. While education may be valued by some, there are still cultural road blocks that stand in the way of African Americans' social bond to school. This paper explores the role of school context on an individual's social bond to school using data from over 4,000 eleventh grade students in 31 schools across a small Mid-Atlantic state. This study compares models predicting an individual's social bond to school for whites and African Americans at the high school level.

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Updated 05/20/2006