Educational Policies and Youth in the 21st Century

Problems, Potential, and Progress

Edited by:
Sharon L. Nichols, University of Texas at San Antonio

Published 2016

As our student population diversifies rapidly, there is a critical need to better understand how national, regional, and/or local policies impact youth in school settings. In many cases, educational policies constructed with the goal of helping youth often have the unintended consequence of inhibiting youth’s potential. This is especially the case when it comes to youth from historically underrepresented groups. Over and over, educational legislation aimed at improving life for youth has had the negative effect of eroding opportunities for our most vulnerable and often times less visible youth.

The authors of this book examine the schooling experiences of Hispanic, African American, Indigenous, poor, and LGBT youth groups as a way to spotlight the marginalizing and shortsighted effects of national education language, immigration, and school reform policies. Leading authors from across the country highlight how educational policies impact youth’s development and socialization in school contexts. In most cases, policies are constructed by adults, implemented by adults, but are rarely informed by the needs and opinions of youth. Not only are youth not consulted but also policymakers often neglect what we know about the psychological, emotional, and educational health of youth. Therefore, both the short and long term impact of these policies have but limited effects on improving students’ school performance or personal health issues such as depression or suicide.

In highlighting the demographic and cultural shifts of the 21st century, this book provides a compelling case for policymakers and their constituents to become more sensitive to the diverse needs of our changing student population and to advocate for policies that better serve them.

Preface. Acknowledgments. PART I: CHARACTERISTICS AND EXPERIENCES OF 21ST CENTURY YOUTH. Educational Policy and Latin@ Youth in the 21st Century, P. Zitlali Morales, Tina M. Trujillo, and René Espinoza Kissell. The Languaging Practices and Counternarrative Production of Black Youth, Carlotta Penn, Valerie Kinloch, and Tanja Burkhard. Undocumented Youth, Agency, and Power: The Tension Between Policy and Praxis, Leticia Alvarez Gutiérrez and Patricia D. Quijada. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Education: Making Schools Safe for All Students, Charlotte J. Patterson, Bernadette V. Blanchfield, and Rachel G. Riskind. Youths of Poverty, Bruce J. Biddle. PART II: PROMINENT EDUCATIONAL POLICIES AFFECTING YOUTH. Language Education Policies and Latino Youth, Francesca López. The Impact of Immigration Policy on Education, Sandra A. Alvear and Ruth N. López Turley. Mismatched Assumptions: Motivation, Grit, and High‐Stakes Testing, Julian Vasquez Heilig, Roxana Marchi, and Diana E. Cruz. PART III: IMPLICATIONS FOR BETTER POLICY DEVELOPMENT FOR 21ST CENTURY YOUTH. Searching Beyond Success and Standards for What Will Matter in the 21st Century, Luke Reynolds. New Policies for the 21st Century, Sharon L. Nichols and Nicole Svenkerud‐Hale. Social Policies and the Motivational Struggles of Youth: Some Closing Comments, Mary McCaslin. About the Editor.