Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Donald McLellan


America is in the midst of a high school dropout crisis that will cost $3 trillion in lost wages over the lifetime of the 12 million students who are predicted to drop out. Each year, in an America's northern states, approximately 10,000 students drop out of high school; the majority of these students are Hispanic. Guided by Ogbu's cultural-ecological theory of academic disengagement, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the experiences of Hispanics who dropped out of high school and their rationales for dropping out.. Eight Hispanic dropouts in a local community were interviewed. The interviews were transcribed and interrogated via inductive analysis. Findings in this study show that the system and community forces that impeded academic achievement were in similar to those of Ogbu's findings. However, contrary to this theory, the participants in this study did not report any discrimination. The participants dropped out due to academic difficulties, early parenthood, and a lack of parental support. Hispanics' perspectives are needed if administrators and other stakeholders are to develop and apply ethnically skilled policies and performances that could be effective in accommodating Hispanics' educational needs. Reducing Hispanics' high school dropout rates will benefit taxpayers by providing substantial economic return. Guided by these findings, the school board will be equipped to support their educators, which in return could produce quality academic performance among Hispanic students.