School Kids/Street Kids: Identity Development in Latino Students

Only 62% of Latinos have completed high school, while 94% of Whites and 87% of African Americans have done so. School Kids/Street Kids examines who drops out and who graduates — and why — among Puerto Rican students in an urban high school. Using role-identity theory, Flores-Gonzalez explains how some students develop what she terms a “school-kid” identity that enables them to succeed in school, while others develop a “street-kid” identity and drop out. Based on a year-long study and in-depth interviews with Latino students, this book explores the implications of taking one of these identities — which determines whether a student becomes, in Flores-Gonzalez’s words, a “stayer, ” a “leaver, ” or a “returner” to high school. School Kids/Street Kids describes the sociopsychological dimensions of student identity development and the effect that school practices have on them. It also offers recommendations on how schools can facilitate the development of school-kid identities among Latinos and discusses how school reform can lead to their school success.

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