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The corner meets the school: the inner City’s drug culture and its effect on schooling

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Past literature.
  3. Original contribution.
  4. Methods.
  5. Findings.
  6. Discussion.
  7. Conclusion.

?The school system will have taken its shots, tallied its misses, and closed its files, relinquishing any further claim. The corner will have them all.? ? Ed Burns, The Corner

Many believe that as the margin of social stratification and inequality in our nation widens, the most effective way to battle our society's social illness is to better the education of our nation's youth. Although improved education has the potential to be a key contributor in the eradication of social inequality, the main flaw of this hypothesis in an empirical sense is that many of the social problems that are consistently associated with the lower class, namely drug use, drug dealing and the ubiquitous drug culture, have distorted and obstructed the ability of our school systems to effectively educate those of our nation's youth who most desperately need guidance. Essentially, in urban areas, ?the strains of low social status and reduces socioeconomic opportunities creates pressures that motivate criminal participation,? which most often entails involvement in the drug trade (Little and Steinberg 2006, 363).

[...] Instead of presenting my own findings after having conducted a sociological study, I seek to link social trends related to dropout rates and drug activity in schools to show how the powerful drug culture warps educational incentives for students, and finally to illustrate how and why these problems manifest themselves largely for the lower socioeconomic classes, thereby handicapping the educational experience of those who need it the most. To provide a more focused study of this subject, my original data synthesis will concern only data collected from school districts in Massachusetts. [...]


[...] Drug Sales and Use Among Students in High School and Colleges in the District of Columbia. District of Columbia House of Representatives. Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office Joseph, Janice, and Patricia G. Pearson. "Black Youths and Illegal Drugs." Journal of Black Studies 32 (2002). JSTOR. Little, Michelle, and Laurence Steinberg. "Psychosocial Correlates of Adolescent Drug Dealing in the Inner City: Potential Roles of Opportunity, Conventional Commitments, and Maturity." Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency (2006). . Mensch, Barbara S., and Denise B. Kandel. "Dropping [...]


[...] In this sense, the drug culture only truly interferes with the education of lower and working class students, whereas in middle and upper class areas, such problems are mostly nonexistent. In this section I have introduced the ways in which the drug trade interferes with the educational opportunities of inner-city youths. I have also shown that although drug use has declined among school-aged adolescents in recent years, involvement of city youths in drug-related activity and crime has simultaneously increased. Because inner-city adolescents often see no link between education and success, they are easily lured into participating in the drug trade, which offers immediate financial gains. [...]

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