WWBSS - What Would Black Students Say?
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This is one story of a study of black high school students and their experiences with school. The study employed the narrative inquiry process and method to listen to student stories about their journeys through the educational terrain. These stories were valued for their insight on how students view race as significant in their school lives and to their academic achievement. The participants in this study share authentic understanding of their roles as black individuals and learners. They describe the meaning they place on their relationships at school, explicate issues of race within the context of being black, high-achieving students that attend majority white, suburban high schools, and provide their own perspective on the critical question, "Does race still matter?" The influences of race described by participants are categorized as being those that affirm them as individuals and black students, challenge deeply-held stereotypes about their race and their abilities, impede their efforts to share in perceived resources they believe are reserved for the privileged and powerful, and inspire them to persevere within a system that even at their young age they interpret as being tilted against them. These stories provide an understanding of how these students believe race operates in schools, its connection to their educational experiences and its impact on their academic achievement. This study demonstrates the value of utilizing the narrative inquiry process to garner authentic and relevant knowledge from an informed and reliable source. Information this valuable should be used by all stakeholders to influence school practices and policies that are targeted to support black high school students along their academic journeys in meaningful and effective ways.