Date of Graduation

2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Patricia A Mitchell

Second Advisor

Brian Gerrard

Third Advisor

Betty Taylor

Fourth Advisor

M. Sedique Popal

Abstract

In 2014, Miskitu participants in the communities of Raitipura and Kahkabila and several of their children had dropped out of school. Earlier quantitative research revealed a problem of low matriculation in elementary and high schools in all of Nicaragua. This inquiry differed from others in that it was a qualitative study focusing on one group of people: the Miskitu community members living on Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast. This investigation employed the participatory-action research methodology, allowing participants to tell their own stories about the events leading up to their dematriculation.

The six participants, male and female, are of Miskitu heritage, were at least 16 years of age, were born and continue to live in either Raitipura or Kahkabila, and all but one speaks Miskitu as their first language. Participants revealed reasons for dropping out of school by discussing their school experiences, the elementary school curriculum, and indications of the Miskitu language and culture in and out of school. A variety of themes emerged from these conversations: poverty, teen pregnancy, health services, relationships between parents and teachers, parental concerns regarding school curriculum, school attendance, and indications of early stages of language loss in the communities.

Many themes were commonly shared among the six participants. Additionally, participants often gave more than one reason for withdrawing from school. Therefore, it future work should reflect the understanding that dropping out of school is often not the result of a single factor and that any action attempting to resolve the problem of high drop-out rates must recognize and address the multiple and often interrelated factors that contribute to dematriculation among Miskitu children attending schools in these communities.

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