Relative Opportunities for Low-Income Black Students in Elite Private Secondary Schools
This chapter focuses on the college-related experiences and practices of low-income Black students in elite private secondary schools. Like other groups in such schools, low-income Black students and their parents explicitly intend to use elite private schools for social and economic advancement. However, unlike privileged parents in both affluent public and elite privates who have consciously engaged the preparation and packaging of their children with an eye towards competitive college admissions since they were very young, low-income Black parents operate from a different structural location and accompanying set of perspectives. As data make clear, both parents and children conceptualize attendance at elite, private, secondary institutions as constituting an escape from poverty and a virtually guaranteed opportunity to enter the four-year (in contrast to two-year) postsecondary sector, a sector to which they do not see themselves as having access had they remained in under-resourced, predominantly Black and Latino urban public schools. In this chapter, we also highlight the unintended consequences of facially neutral policies and practices embedded within elite private schools.
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