A Qualitative Phenomenological Study of African American Males Who Drop Out of High School

A Qualitative Phenomenological Study of African American Males Who Drop Out of High School

Author: 
Paulette R. Mack
Program of study: 
Ed.D.
Abstract: 
The problem of African American males dropping out of high school prior to obtaining their high school diploma has been a major issue for schools, society, and families. The intent of this qualitative phenomenological research study was to explore the lived experiences of African American males to understand, from their perspective, their decision to leave high school before receiving a high school diploma. The research was guided by the questions “What are the lived experiences of African American males during high school that impacted their decision to drop out of high school before obtaining their high school diploma?” and “What lived experiences do African American males describe as potential personal motivators to continue high school until diploma completion?” The purpose of this study was to explore the lived experiences of 20 African American males over the age of 18 who dropped out of high school before obtaining their high school diploma. This qualitative study followed the modified van Kaam method, using data obtained from taped and transcribed interviews of African American male dropouts, using NVivo™ software to assist with data analysis. Findings included the discovery of five core themes: (a) school environment (b) societal conditions (c) family issues (d) instruction and (e) instructional support. The conclusions derived from this study suggest that efforts aimed at understanding the lived experiences of African American males who dropped out of high school may lead to greater comprehension of ways educators and administrators can use to help the graduation rate of African American males.
Dedication: 
Giving all thanks and praises to God who has given me strength beyond understanding to take on such an arduous journey. Thank you to my children, Ashley and Ashtyn, who has supported me beyond measures! Mommy loves you and I am proud of the young women you are becoming! I hope my journey is a testament to each of you of what persistence, prayers and God can do. Thank you to the newest member of our family, my first grandchild, Little Miss Raegan Sanai Mack. Noni loves you to the moon and back! Thank you to my Mom and Daddy who has stuck beside me through this journey; stepping in for me when I was not able. Thank you to my Auntie Patricia Mack, my second mom, you are definitely a Godsend and I will be eternal grateful for all that you have done for me. Thank you to my sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces and all of my extended family and friends who have encouraged me along the way. Finally, I would like to thank my best friends, Yolonda Zanders-Barr, the late Zenna Farley-Williams, Ann Sheppard, and Dana Zanders-Morgan! You women consistently have my back and I’m appreciative of our friendship and love for one another.
Acknowledgements: 
I would like to acknowledge and thank my dissertation chair, Dr. Karyn Scott; you were my guiding light and your patience with me has helped me continue to the end! I would like to acknowledge my committee members, Dr. Sherrilyn Scott and Dr. Shawn Boone; your feedback and support has been remarkable! I want to acknowledge and thank Mrs. Ellen Chepenik for the opportunity of sharing her passion for helping others with me. I want to acknowledge and thank the participants who shared their personal experiences to help better assist educators and administrators in the quest to have all African American males graduate from high school. I want to acknowledge the Trident Literacy team and all who assisted me in my journey; your assistance and support were instrumental. Sincere thanks and appreciation to Dr. Debra Lowe for allowing me permission to use her interview questions, for my questions, during my data collection. Finally, I would like to acknowledge and say thanks to all my facilitators at University of Phoenix along my journey for your support.