This ethnography explores teachers’ perspectives of the cultural issues affecting academic performance in twelve public high schools in rural Mississippi and Louisiana. Fr om a thematic analysis of the tape-recorded interviews of forty-one mathematics teachers, five categories emerged, each comprising a qualitative aspect of teaching high school in an economically depressed area of the deep South: society, race, students, families, and schools. Each of these categories is discussed and explicated using exemplars from the interviews to show how each category emerged from the data. In addition, the relationships among these categories, which form a destructive cycle of poverty, low expectations, poor academic achievement, and inadequate opportunity, are discussed. Implications of this research for teachers and policy makers are explored.


Poverty, Race, Expectations, Apathy, Achievement, and Public Schools

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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