Synopsis - This book brings a unique, innovative and refreshing perspective to one of the most protracted issues affecting young lives - disengagement from schooling. Rather than continuing to blame young people, as most educational policies do, this book examines disengagement from the vantage point of the lives, experiences, interests and aspirations of the communities from which young people come, and within which they are embedded. It uses a narrative and representational approach that gives detailed insights into the wider context of poverty, class, power, relationships and identity. A major and defining hallmark of the book is the emphasis it places upon a number of 'doings', - including community voice, identity formation, critical work education and education policy - all of which provide a very different set of scripts with which to reinvent the institution of high school.
This book - the finale in a trilogy by the authors - traces the way in which a number of disadvantaged schools and communities were able to move beyond deficit, victim-blaming and pathologizing approaches and access resources of trust, relationships, connectedness and hope. It describes how these Australian schools and communities were able to benefit from working with 'street-level' bureaucrats who had reinvented themselves around notions of socially just forms of capacity-building. The book provides a set of insights into what is possible from a critical engagement for school and community renewal perspective, by working with the resources that exist within disadvantaged contexts, even in damaging neoliberal policy times.