Citation
Adolescent refugees in high school

Material Information

Title:
Adolescent refugees in high school a multiple case study of students from Burma, Bhutan, and Sudan
Alternate title:
Multiple case study of students from Burma, Bhutan, and Sudan
Creator:
Tandon, Madhavi ( author )
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 electronic file (221 pages) : ;

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Master's ( Doctor of Philosophy)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
School of Education and Human Development, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Educational Studies and Research
Committee Chair:
Leech, Nancy
Committee Co-Chair:
Viesca Kara Mitchell
Committee Members:
Galindo, Rene
Commins, Nancy
Roxas, Kevin

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Teenage immigrants -- Social conditions -- United States ( lcsh )
refugees - Education - US ( lcsh )
teenage immigrants - education - US ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Review:
This qualitative multiple case study examines the schooling experiences of high school refugee students after resettlement in Liberty Town, USA. The primary focus for this study was on the first person narratives of nine participants to gain information about their perceptions of schooling, education, careers, and success. Using critical race theory and postcolonial theory the data were analyzed to reveal that adolescent refugee students’ educational journeys were influenced largely by their birth order, parents’ education, and involvement in ethnic communities. These journeys were severely handicapped by a lack of navigational capital to access educational services and supports, intense shame of being English language learners, and the reality of working full time at low skilled jobs.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D) - University of Colorado Denver.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references
System Details:
System requirements: Adobe Reader.
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Madhavi Tandon.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
944457056 ( OCLC )
ocn944457056
Classification:
LD1193.E3 2015d T36 ( lcc )

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Full Text
ADOLESCENT REFUGEES IN HIGH SCHOOL: A MULTIPLE CASE STUDY OF
STUDENTS FROM BURMA, BHUTAN, AND SUDAN
by
MADHAVI TANDON
B.A., University of Pune, 1987
M.A., University of Pune, 1989
M. A., Kent State University, 2002
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
Educational Studies and Research Program
2015


2015
MADHAVI TANDON
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


11
This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by
Madhavi Tandon
has been approved for the
Educational Studies and Research Program
by
Nancy Leech, Chair
Kara Mitchell Viesca, Advisor
Rene Galindo
Nancy Commins
Kevin Roxas
July 31, 2015


Ill
Tandon, Madhavi (Ph.D., Educational Studies and Research)
Adolescent Refugees in High School: A Multiple Case Study of Students from Burma,
Bhutan, and Sudan
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor Kara Viesca.
ABSTRACT
This qualitative multiple case study examines the schooling experiences of high
school refugee students after resettlement in Liberty Town, USA. The primary focus for
this study was on the first person narratives of nine participants to gain information about
their perceptions of schooling, education, careers, and success. Using critical race theory
and postcolonial theory the data were analyzed to reveal that adolescent refugee students
educational journeys were influenced largely by their birth order, parents education, and
involvement in ethnic communities. These journeys were severely handicapped by a lack
of navigational capital to access educational services and supports, intense shame of
being English language learners, and the reality of working full time at low skilled jobs.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Kara Viesca


IV
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This thesis may have been penned by me but is the culmination of contributions
from an entire community. Without the moral, intellectual, and emotional support
extended by my family I would have been unable to inhabit the privileged doctoral spaces
that few immigrants can access. Continual encouragement from my mentors and circle of
friends gave me the courage to put one foot in front of the other until I reached the finish
line. Most importantly, the hope, trust, and respect that I received from the participants
and their families ensures that I will continue this work, which will someday foster more
equity and support for refugee students in our schools.


V
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION 1
II. LITERATURE REVIEW 33
III. METHODOLOGY 63
IV. FINDINGS 80
V. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION 160
REFERENCES 180
APPENDIX 204


vi
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE
1. Demographic Characteristics of Participants 70
2. Comparison Table of Salamat and Alafia High Schools 72
3. Education History of ParticipantsParents 121
4. Current and Past Employment History of Participants Parents and
Some Older Siblings 126
5. ParticipantsShort and Long Term Goals 136


LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE
1. Literature Review
2.
3.
Data Triangulation
Feelings Associated with Being a Multilingual Learner


1
CHAPTERI
INTRODUCTION
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this dissertation was to learn about the schooling experiences of
high school refugee students by centering their perspectives. The study also sought
information about how high school refugee students planned and envisaged career paths
that would lead them towards achievement of their personal goals. The exploration was
guided by students experiences of school, learning, education, and success prior to
resettlement in the U.S. as well as their ongoing experiences as high school students in
the U.S. The study examined to what extent these notions of success and education were
shaped by students race, ethnicity, culture, gender, country of origin, and tracking as
English language or multilingual learners (MLL) in schools. To understand the
motivation for this study focused on a small percentage of students in U.S. public schools
I must first explain my interest in the perspectives of a marginalized group.
Background of the Study
During a meeting with the school principal and the lead English Language
Development teacher of a local high school, the principal shared that he was shocked
when one high school refugee student from Burma told him that all he wanted to do was
go back to Burma, pick up a gun and join the freedom movement. The teacher and
principal both expressed their frustration about how little information they had about
what their refugee students really needed and were seeking from the school and its staff.
The principal went on to state that he had no idea that some of the refugees were so
deeply indoctrinated that they would want to return to the countries they fled. The teacher


2
added that while few of the refugee students were more motivated than average students
most were disengaged and seemed to have checked out. Both expressed their
frustration at the lack of background information about their refugee students and their
needs. Frustration was also expressed by a small group of refugee parents that I worked
with in the year 2011. The parents collectively stated that schools, teachers and
administrators did not have enough background information about their children and their
needs, which made the children feel like not going to school. One mother specifically
said that she wished she had asked the schools knowledgeable questions that would
have helped her pick the appropriate classes and course load for her son who was fifteen
years old at the time. She wondered aloud if he would have had a better future had she
enrolled him in eighth grade instead of ninth grade and insisted that he should not spend
three-fourths of his day in English Language classes.
The common impediment that emerged from the two conversations was that
schools and parents lacked important and relevant knowledge and information about each
other. Both, the staff at the above mentioned high school and the refugee parents group,
felt that they did not have enough information to help improve the learning and life
experiences of refugee students. Both groups felt that they needed to increase
communication with each other and take time to learn about what the students needed and
how schools and parents could work together to create educational plans that were both
meaningful and useful to the students.
Why Should We Care?
The current world population is approximately seven billion people (UNFPA,
2011) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report indicated that 35.8


3
million people worldwide were forcibly displaced and were under the protection of the
UNHCR as persons of concern (UNHCR, 2012). Although 35.8 million people in a
context of seven billion people may not seem to be a large number, the degree of
suffering experienced by them is unacceptable on humanitarian grounds. The short- and
long-term consequences for sending nations, receiving countries, and for refugees
themselves have necessitated the involvement of policymakers, service providers and
researchers from a wide range of disciplines as all collaborate to support this vulnerable
and displaced population (Elliott & Segal, 2012).
Within the national context, in 2012 the U.S. admitted 58,179 refugees of which
21,292 or 36.6% were children under 21 years of age (Martin & Yankay, 2013). The five
countries from which the largest number of refugees fled in 2012 were Bhutan, Burma,
Iraq, Somalia, and Cuba. The total number of persons granted asylum in the same year
was 29,484, and the top five countries were China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Venezuela, and
Nepal of which approximately 8,500 or 28.8% were children under 17 years of age. The
U.S. Department of Homeland Security defines a refugee as follows:
Any person who is outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or
unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear
of persecution. Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien's race,
religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.
People with no nationality must generally be outside their country of last habitual
residence to qualify as a refugee. Refugees are subject to ceilings by geographic
area set annually by the President in consultation with Congress and are eligible
to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence
in the United States. (Department of Homeland Security, 2013)
While an asylum seeker is defined as follows:
An alien in the United States or at a port of entry who is found to be unable or
unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality, or to seek the protection of
that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution.


4
Persecution or the fear thereof must be based on the alien's race, religion,
nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. For
persons with no nationality, the country of nationality is considered to be the
country in which the alien last habitually resided. Asylees are eligible to adjust to
lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the U.S.
These immigrants are limited to 10,000 adjustments per fiscal year. (Department
of Homeland Security, 2013)
Against a backdrop of trauma, flight and resettlement, as explained later in this
section, refugee children arrive into the U.S., a country that is often culturally distant
from their homelands. Every year a new wave of refugee students enters American public
schools and school administrators and teachers have to find ways to teach and enhance
learning for this specific group of students. Once refugee children enter U.S. public
schools they often become part of a student body that is highly diverse in terms of race,
language, ethnicity, and religion. U.S. public schools provide spaces for social encounters
and interactions between American and refugee students and more importantly, schooling
is the key to educational success, choices, careers, and settlement (Matthews, 2008).
The percentage of students of color in U.S. schools increased from 32% in 1989
to 46% in the 2010 census, which included Black, Hispanic, Asian, and mixed race
students (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010). Simultaneously, there has been an increase in the
number of students who speak a language other than English at home and practice a
religion other than Christianity (Banks, 2009). Refugee students resettled in the U.S. tend
to be non-White, non-Christian and non-native speakers of English (Martin & Yankay,
2013; Roxas, 2010) and they need to be engaged and invested enough in their schooling
to graduate high school and eventually become financially independent. However, recent
research showed that this population of students was at a high risk of dropping out of
school before graduation (Callahan, 2013) and hence forfeited a high school diploma, one


5
of the major tools required for success in a Western economy. Furthermore, there are
social, economic and health consequences of not completing high school, dropping out or
disengaging from education.
According to a report by the Center for Labor Market Studies (2009) students
who dropped out of high school before earning their diploma increased their chances of
being incarcerated, depending on welfare benefits, and lacking healthcare. The report
further stated that adults who left high school prior to earning a high school diploma were
employed less often and earned far less than their peers that graduated from high school.
Over their working lifetime from ages 18-64, high school dropouts earned $400,000 less
than those that graduated high school. Moreover, dropouts contributed far less in federal,
state, and local taxes than they received in benefits thus imposing a lifelong financial
burden on the rest of society. Dropping out of school not only has serious fiscal and
social consequences for students and their families but also political repercussions for the
nation as a whole. A critically important consequence of dropping out was reduction in
political participation (Callahan, 2013). While research linked educational attainment to
political participation, among immigrant students, social studies course taking in
particular influenced voting in young adulthood (Callahan, 2013). The future of a
democratic society depends on informed and educated voters who act in the best interest
of the greater community. Political awareness among refugees about their rights and
resources will also increase resistance to exploitation and discrimination regarding
employment. Structurally rich countries such as the U.S. depend on immigrants and low-
skilled workers for accepting the so-called 3-D jobs that are dirty, dangerous and
degrading, which ensure that other citizens enjoy better living and working conditions


6
(Elliot & Segal, 2012). Thus, graduating from high school is a critical step for avoiding
poverty and low-wage jobs and a college degree is a prerequisite for well paid
employment (Center for Labor Studies, 2009). Even though refugee students comprise a
small percentage of all students they are more likely to drop out or disengage from
school. Without a high school diploma they may gain work only in low-wage, 3-D jobs
and remain in poverty.
Every year new refugees and asylees arrive in the U.S. and enroll in public
schools and this population deserves the same concern and careful attention from
researchers that is accorded to other groups of students. This study was also guided by the
premise that education must not only be equitable but also socially just and society must
provide more opportunities for success to those groups who have most often been the
victims of inequity (Rawls, 1971).
Education research offers a plethora of literature on the experiences of immigrant
and multilingual students but very little on refugees. This could be attributed to the
perception that immigrant and refugee students are similar in characteristics and both can
be classified under the broad category of ELLs. Researchers contend that immigrants and
refugees both face discrimination because of their race, religion, language, and culture,
undergo crises of identity, and have to face several obstacles in trying to adapt to their
new country and home (Rumbaut & Portes, 2001; Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco,
2001). However, immigrants and refugees have different trajectories that lead them to the
U.S. They differ in their reasons for coming to the new country, the reception that they
receive, and the obstacles they encounter in the dominant society (Boyden, De Berry,
Feeny, & Hart, 2002; Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 2001; McBrien, 2005, 2011;


7
Rong & Preissle, 1998). Immigrants and refugees are associated with distinct and
separate sets of connotations that arise from historical, political and social conceptions
and largely immigrants are perceived as an economic form of migration while refugees
are political (Hein, 1993).
Refugee Students Versus Immigrant Students
Although the U.S. Department of Education does not distinguish between
immigrants, refugees and other MLL students in terms of its policies (Department of
Education, 2013b), there are important differences in the trajectories of immigrants and
refugees. Refugees are victims of forced migration and forced displacement and their
reasons for leaving their homelands are distinct from the experiences of other immigrants
who choose to leave their countries. According to Ogbu (1982), adaptation to a new
culture can be affected by whether one is a voluntary or an involuntary immigrant and
voluntary immigrants are more likely to adapt to the dominant culture while involuntary
immigrants tend to reject it. Voluntary immigrant minorities are those who have willingly
moved to the U.S. in search of better economic, political, and/or religious freedom.
However, refugees are forced to leave their homelands and do not freely choose to settle
in the U.S. or another foreign country, thus making them involuntary immigrants (Ogbu
& Simons, 1998). Furthermore, refugees are unable to return to their homelands unlike
immigrants. Forced to leave and forced to stay, such is the dilemma of the refugee
student and it would be naive to think that this does not impact their perspective on
education and schooling.
When refugees arrive in the U.S., it signals the last of three phases in their journey
as forced migrants. A common and popular framework used in research to analyze the


8
refugee experience identifies three phases within forced migration: pre-flight, flight, and
reception, which may include temporary settlement, resettlement, or repatriation
(Desjarlais, Eisenberg, Good, & Kleinman, 1995). The following sections will briefly
explore each phase and discuss their impact on education.
Pre-flight
The pre-flight phase refers to the time leading up to the decision to leave and seek
refuge (Desjarlais et al., 1995) and is characterized by severe economic hardships,
shortage of food, armed conflict, family separation, violence, political persecution, and
threats to mental and physical well-being (Ager, Ager, & Long, 1991; Rumbaut, 1991).
These factors are significant predictors of psychological distress and are related to
exposure to violent events (Agger & Mimica, 1996; Boothby, 1994). The pre-flight
experiences form the center of trauma narratives for refugees and are a powerful
influence in their future well-being (Mollica, 1989).
Flight
The period of flight is the experience of migration from one place to another
(Desjarlais et al., 1995). Anger regarding separation from ones homeland is found to be
one of the strongest and most widespread responses to flight (Eisenbruch, 1990). Those
who left family members behind, and even the ones that did not, commonly reported
feelings of unfinished business and a desire to return, a phenomenon that Eisenbruch
(1990, 1992) named as cultural bereavement. This period of flight is characterized by
extreme danger, especially for females, as they are vulnerable to sexual abuse during the
journey (Forbes Martin, 2004; Goldfield, Mollica, Pesavento, & Faraone, 1988).


9
Reception
The reception phase is the period before an individual returns to his or her home
country, or settles formally within a country of first asylum, or resettles in a third location
(Desjarlais et al., 1995). This period can extend to several years spent in refugee camps.
On arrival in another country, refugees have to undergo registration procedures to
establish their status and receive food, shelter, and other supports (Harrell-Bond, 1986).
Research demonstrates that the initial period of resettlement is the most difficult and
plagued with psychological distress (Berry, 1991; Garcia-Peltoniemi, 1987; Rumbaut,
1991). In the longer term, the resettlement period is also marked by stresses related to
employment difficulties, underemployment, withdrawal of financial sponsorships, and
increased intergenerational conflict (McSpadden, 1987; Westermeyer, 1991).
The phases of forced migration indicate that by the time refugee students enroll in
schools they may have already faced years of trauma marked by violence, exploitation,
fear, stress, and abuse. A refugee students past is decidedly marked by his or her journey
and years spent in flight and fear. Once resettled in the U.S. the stresses of forced
migration are not over but merely replaced by newer pressures and fears. Refugee
children often arrive at school traumatized, angry, depressed, and fearful of authority
(Roxas, 2010). Unable to speak fluent English, some of them may have never been inside
a school building in their lives and may not have learned how to behave and do school
(Roxas & Roy, 2012a). Testing, grades, GPA, ACT, SAT, credits, graduation, and other
educational terms may seem irrelevant and unimportant to refugee students when they
have encountered injuries, rape, starvation, and death in their young lives. How to do
school in the U.S. and further how to do school successfully may not be an easy skill for


10
refugee students to acquire and education may have to start, not with grades and
assessments, but with learning about their needs.
In contrast to immigrant students, refugee students are symbols of some of the
most violent consequences of war and natural disasters. Therefore, the host country has to
create pathways to integrate them into a national order of things (Sharma & Gupta, 2006).
Although, refugee students have a pathway to citizenship, financial support from
government agencies and charitable or volunteer organizations, and are often resettled
with their families (Hein, 1993), they have little control over the type and amount of
resources that are allocated to them. For example, to ensure acculturation, resettlement
agencies in the U.S. often settle newcomer refugees in close proximity to people from
their same culture if possible (McBrien, 2005, 2011) and they are encouraged to retain
and develop their social networks within their own ethnic communities as a way of
coping with new systems (Fong, 2004; Rutter, 1999; Watters, 2008); however, in a large
number of cases, refugees are resettled in inner-city neighborhoods with inadequate
resources and high poverty, and the children are enrolled in schools that are equally
underfunded (McBrien, 2005, 2011). Often perceived as recipients of aid and tolerated on
humanitarian grounds by the host country and its citizens (Harrell-Bond, 1999), refugee
students deserve to not only survive but also flourish and become productive citizens of
their new countries. However, when teenage refugees arrive in the U.S. they are too old
to quickly learn American ways, speech and mannerisms like their elementary school age
siblings and too young to enter the workforce full time as school attendance is mandatory
in most states until 17 years of age (NCES, 2013).


11
Although some researchers may argue that refugee students are no different from
immigrant or other MLLs, the trauma and lack of choice in migration sets them apart.
Additionally, refugee students may have spent several years in camps outside their
country without citizenship and any right to work or go to school. Unable to return to
their country of origin and unwanted by any other country, perceived as burdens and
recipients of valuable resources, refugees are immigrants who may not want to be in the
U.S. but are unable to return home.
Focus on Adolescent High School Refugee Students
Among this group of students, my study focused on adolescent refugee students
who are eligible to be enrolled in U.S. high schools. High school refugee students once
classified as MLLs by teachers are eligible to stay in school until they turn 21 years of
age (Ed.gov, 2013 a). Within these four to six years the students must not only learn
English but also learn how to do school successfully in the U.S. These six years refugee
students may have to complete high school is also the period for them to work through
emotional and physical trauma that they may have incurred in the years preceding
resettlement while simultaneously planning ahead for a career and the skills that they
need to acquire. If the education they are receiving does not align with their career goals
and objectives then it does not benefit the students nor provide opportunities for
redressing inequities.
On the cusp of adulthood, but still mandated to attend school, adolescent refugee
students face unique stresses as compared to younger students and this study explored
their experiences and perceptions about schooling and education as they navigated their


12
new home and its systems. In order to understand the situation of adolescent refugees it
will be helpful to briefly explore U.S. policy on refugees and its impact on them.
U.S. Policy on Refugees
The U.S. amended the Immigration and Nationality Act and created the U.S.
Refugee Act of 1980 to provide a legal protocol for resettlement of refugees. To assist
newly arrived refugees, the Department of State provides initial resettlement services and
referrals to other services. The Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Department of
Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families provides mainly
cash, medical, and employment-related assistance to help refugees achieve economic
self-sufficiency as soon as possible after their arrival in the U.S. (Bruno, 2011).
The Immigration and Nationality Act issues four main guidelines that govern all
resettlement assistance programs as follows:
1. Make available sufficient resources for employment training and placement in
order to achieve economic self-sufficiency as quickly as possible.
2. Provide refugees with the opportunity to acquire sufficient English-language
training to enable them to become effectively resettled as quickly as possible.
3. Insure that cash assistance is made available to refugees in such a manner as to
not discourage their economic self-sufficiency.
4. Insure that women have the same opportunities as men to participate in training
and instruction (INA §412(a)(l)(A) as cited in Bruno, 2012).
The Immigration and Nationality Act policy states that refugees who meet
requirements can receive food assistance for five years; Medicaid and supplemental
security income for the aged, blind, and disabled for seven years; and refugee cash and
medical assistance for eight months from entry (Bruno, 2012).
The limited cash assistance for eight months in combination with the push for
economic self-sufficiency is one of the most important factors that propels adolescent


13
refugee students to seek paid work as soon as they arrive in the U.S. and is also a major
source of stress and preoccupation for parents and older children who are eligible to work
(Martin & Yankay, 2013). Refugee students older than 14 years of age are eligible to
work and are often forced to do so. At the same time they are mandated by state laws to
attend school and work towards high school graduation. While employment is the biggest
hurdle for adult and adolescent refugees, education is seen as the key to economic and
social success. Therefore, adolescent refugee students are caught in a Catch-22 situation
where they must work at low-wage jobs to make ends meet but also need to graduate high
school in order to gain a well-paid job. However, work is in conflict with school as both
require motivation, energy, time, and engagement. Although the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee agrees that the current systems of refugee resettlement and assistance are
outdated and fail to address the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse populations
now being admitted to the U.S. (U.S. Senate, 2010), the large influx of funding and
resources that would be required is simply not available.
Refugees who have fled persecution struggle with mental health, poverty, and
language issues in the U.S., and eight months of cash assistance does not give them
enough time to adapt to a new way of life before seeking to enter the labor force
(Refugee Crisis in America, 2009). Obtaining employment in the current economic
climate is particularly difficult, and refugees from Burma, Bhutan, and Burundi who lack
work experience, education, and English proficiency have very few skills that translate to
the U.S. labor market (Bruno, 2011). How did these students then perceive schooling and
education and how do they describe their experiences in U.S. schools and systems.
Marginalized at the intersection of race, gender, language, class, religion and/or ethnicity,


14
very little is known about adolescent refugees and this dissertation set out to fill this gap
in knowledge. To do so it was vital to center the narratives of the students and understand
their perspectives.
Research Questions
Delgado (1999) remarked that academics tend to look for interesting problems to
solve and theories to critique instead of coming to grips with the real-world problems of
communities of color (p. 232). Few educational research studies describe how recently
arrived adolescent refugees adjust and settle in U.S. public schools. This study examined
the adaptation of adolescent refugee students from Burma, Bhutan and Sudan to
schooling and life in a Midwestern American city in the year 2014-2015. Three research
questions grounded in Critical Race and Postcolonial theories sought to understand the
experiences and perspectives of refugee adolescent students.
1. What are the educational experiences of adolescent refugee students after being
resettled in the United States?
2. How do adolescent refugee students conceptualize and perceive schooling,
education, and success and how do they plan to achieve their career goals?
3. In what ways do education practices, systems, structures, and institutions impact
the perceptions and experiences of adolescent refugee students?
Theoretical Framework
The etymology of the word margin is the Latin word margo, which means edge
and the area immediately adjacent to it; a border (Margin, n.d.) while marginalize means
to relegate or confine to a lower or outer limit or edge, as of social standing
(Marginalized, n.d.). To marginalize is an active verb where someone does something to


15
someone else and in the case of students, it is educators, teachers, researchers, and
policies that marginalize and socially exclude certain groups. Since it is done by
someone, there is agency and the ability to change it; marginalization therefore is not just
a label but a socially active process that involves groups of persons who marginalize and
are marginalized.
For refugee students, education is crucial in restoring a sense of hope and
possibilities for the future (Mosselson, 2007) and schooling can provide vital
opportunities to begin a new life. Paradoxically, schools are also places where refugees
become highly aware of being different than other students and experience a disjuncture
between their ideas, beliefs, values, cultures and those of the dominant group (Sinclair,
2001). It is important to understand how and why refugee students are marginalized so
that educational systems can be responsive and maximize learning and life outcomes for
them; furthermore, education should be viewed as an essential element of humanitarian
response to crisis and not as a luxury (Sinclair, 2001).
To research refugee students perspectives and experiences, a Critical Race
Theory (CRT) framework supported by Postcolonial Theory was used in the study. The
following sections will provide a historical background on each of these frameworks and
subsequently explore how the two strands will come together to be effectively utilized in
this research seeking to deepen our understanding of the experiences and perceptions of
refugee students.
Critical Race Theory
CRT is a theory that originated in legal studies (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995) in
the mid-1970s. Legal scholars at that time felt the need to create both a critical space in


16
which race was foregrounded and a race space where critical themes were central
(Crenshaw, 2002, p. 19). Progressive legal scholars sought to develop a jurisprudence
that took into account the role of race and racism in American law, which would also lead
towards eliminating racism and other forms of subordination (Matsuda, 1991). Lawyers,
activists and legal scholars realized that new theories and strategies were needed to
continue and further the fight for civil rights and find ways to combat the subtle and
invisible forms of racism that were gaining ground (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001).
Although CRT originated in law and legal studies it has now spread to several disciplines
such as sociology, history, ethnic studies, womens and queer studies, and education. The
role of CRT is to question the very foundations of liberal order, equality, capitalism and
eventually to transform society for the better (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001), thus creating
spaces for activism and advocacy.
Although CRT did not formalize until the mid-1970s in the U.S., its roots and
legacy can be traced back to the early battles against White supremacy in the colonies of
Asia, Africa and South America (Kumasi, 2011). European colonization began in 1492
when Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain to find new trade routes and discovered
the Americas until eventually White Europeans controlled and ruled the continents of
Asia, Africa, and North and South America. Activism against the hegemonic and
exploitative European occupation of people, land and wealth took the shape of anti-
colonial movements and activists in the colonies waged war against the ideologies of
White colonialists. These wars were waged using not only arms and weapons but also
words and speech. From Martinique, the written works of Cesaire (1950) described the
relationships between colonizers and colonized and Fanon (1952) wrote about the


17
psychological and physiological effects of colonization on the minds and bodies of the
colonized. In India, Mahatma Gandhis speeches and acts of defiance from the mid-
1930s until he was shot to death in 1948 formed the core of the independence
movement. In the U.S. antislavery activism was ongoing through the works of Sojourner
Truth, John Brown, Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois to name a few. Similarly,
Native American and Chicano/a activists fought for their indigenous rights. Battling
dominant ideologies and discrimination based on power and color is an ancient and
ongoing struggle for People of Color around the world and CRT seems like a logical
culmination of centuries-old activism.
CRT as formalized in 1993 by Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado, and Crenshaw sets
forth six tenets or core themes as follows:
1. Critical race theory recognizes that racism is endemic to American life and
interrogates how traditional interests and values perpetuate racial subordination.
2. Critical race theory expresses skepticism toward dominant legal claims of
neutrality, objectivity, colorblindness and meritocracy.
3. Critical race theory challenges ahistoricism and insists on a contextual/historical
analysis of the law. Critical race theorists adopt a stance that presumes that racism
has contributed to all contemporary manifestations of group advantage and
disadvantage along racial lines in income, imprisonment, health, housing,
education, political representation, and military service.
4. Critical race theory insists on recognition of the experiential knowledge of people
of color and their communities of origin in analyzing law and society. This
knowledge is gained from critical reflection on the lived experience of racism and
active political practice toward the elimination of racism.
5. Critical race theory is interdisciplinary. It borrows from several traditions such as
liberalism, law, feminism, etc. to advance the cause of racial justice.
6. Critical race theory works toward the end of eliminating racial oppression as part
of the broader goal of ending all forms of oppression. Critical race theory
measures progress by a yardstick that looks to fundamental social transformation.
(P- 6)


18
These six tenets have been modified and consolidated by other CRT scholars
since then and Solorzano (1997) outlined five tenets of CRT that are critical to education
research as follows:
1. The centrality of race and racism in analyses and intersectionality with other
forms of subordination such as gender and class discrimination (Crenshaw, 1989,
1993),
2. The challenge to dominant ideologies of meritocracy, colorblindness, race
neutrality, and equal opportunity. Critical race scholars state that these ideologies
support self-interest, power and privilege of dominant groups in American society
(Calmore, 1992).
3. The commitment to social justice and elimination of racism.
4. The centrality of experiential knowledge of women and People of Color. CRT
recognizes that this knowledge is legitimate, appropriate and critical to
understanding racial subordination (Calmore, 1992).
5. The interdisciplinary perspective that challenges ahistoricism and uni disciplinary
focus of most analyses. CRT insists on placing race and racism in a historical and
contemporary context using interdisciplinary methods (Delgado, 1984, 1992;
Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado, & Crenshaw, 1993). (pp. 6-7)
Thus CRT in education is a framework that offers perspectives and methods that
can identify and analyze structural and cultural aspects of education, which maintain
subordinate and dominant racial positions in and out of the classroom (Crenshaw,
Gotanda, Peller, & Thomas, 1995; Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado, & Crenshaw, 1993;
Solorzano & Yosso, 2002). For educational scholars, CRT is a powerful tool to research
and explain the large and persistent gaps in resources and achievement between White
students and Students of Color by demanding a deeper analysis of the historical and
contemporary conditions that have created socioeconomic disparities (Dixson &
Rousseau, 2006, p. 122).
Postcolonial Theory
Postcolonial theory is a critical tool in education research as it is concerned with
decolonizing knowledge and production of transformative knowledge (Pratt, 1992;


19
Viruru, 2005). It seeks to map how power and privilege is manifested in the West and by
the West in order to influence systems within and beyond its borders (John, 1996).
Furthermore, it has the ability to locate where and how the West establishes dichotomies
between Us and Them and imposes universal notions of histories and experiences (Chow,
1993; Mohanty, 2004). Most importantly, postcolonial theory foregrounds the notion of
U.S.-as-an-empire (Subedi & Daza, 2008, p. 2) and establishes the link between
imperialism, capitalism and knowledge production. Imperialism and colonialism led to
the birth of capitalism and the three are locked in a mutually supportive relationship
(Loomba, 2005). Imperialism is the lucrative operation that creates wealth and riches in
the West through slavery, colonization and low-wage labor without which capitalism
cannot thrive. Therefore, postcolonial theory provides a historical understanding of how
the lives of people are shaped within a power structure that is inherently unequal (Rizvi,
Lingard, & Lavia, 2006).
The development and popularity of postcolonial studies and theory in the West is
largely attributed to Edward Said, Homi Bhabha and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
(Young, 1994). Said laid the foundations of postcolonial theory in Orientalism (1978) by
explicating how the Occident or West creates the Other or Oriental. Said argued that
Western ontology and epistemology was based on representing the Other as exotic,
deviant, and different and this structuring was necessary for dominating and controlling
the Orient (p. 2). One of the modes of representing the Other is by creating what CRT
calls majoritarian stories. Love (2004) defines majoritarian stories as description of
events as told by members of dominant/majority groups, accompanied by the values and
beliefs that justify the actions taken by dominants to insure their dominant position.


20
Those with racial, social and economic privilege create beliefs about the Other by
drawing on a virtual stockroom of stereotypes developed thorough history and
distributed through individuals, groups, and institutions such as schools and media
(Yosso, 2006, p. 9).
The distinction between the Orient as darker skinned, bad, and evil and the
Occident as White, good and intelligent (Bell, 2003; Gutierrez-Jones, 2001) was not
benign by any means but designed to portray the Orient and its people as necessarily
inferior. This permitted the Occident to impose its own so-called superior cultures,
education, languages, literatures, institutions, etc. on the Orient and at the same time
devalue indigenous cultures and systems. In todays post-colonial world Orientalism may
be viewed as an institution that deals with the Orient or the Other by creating dominant
narratives about it, making statements, describing it, teaching it, resettling it, or in short
having authority and power over it (Rizvi et al., 2006). Orientalism thus is a fabricated
discourse created by the powerful through which the West seeks to understand and
explain their subjects as well as justify their domination.
Like counterstories in CRT, postcolonial theory strives to create spaces for
marginalized voices that Spivak (1991) states are the victims of centralization of
narratives (p. 176). Seeking input from marginalized groups is embodied in Guha (1982)
and Spivaks (1991) contribution to postcolonial theory in their work on subaltern voice.
The notion of subaltern was introduced by Gramsci in his article Notes on Italian History
and later published in Prison Notebooks (1971). In his work, subaltern classes refer to
low ranking groups of people in a particular society who suffer from hegemonic
domination of a ruling elite class that denies them the basic rights of participation in


21
society. In Notebook 3, §14 Gramsci wrote subaltern classes are subject to the initiatives
of the dominant class, even when they rebel; they are in a state of anxious defense,
(Gramsci as quoted in Green, 2002). Guha (1982) borrowed the term of subaltern from
Gramsci and used it to describe the general attribute of subordination in postcolonial
South Asian society expressed in terms of class, caste, age, gender, and office or in any
other way. Spivak (1991) extended the notion of subaltern from South Asia to the West
by stating that subalternity is brought on by capitalistic politics of undermining
revolutionary voices in a globalized world. She further rejected subalterns as a
homogenous and essentialist group of people and argued for the notion to be situational,
especially in the domain of feminism. Spivak further stated that the task of the
intellectual is to pave the way for subalterns groups and let them freely speak for
themselves (1988). However, once the subaltern narratives are heard then both, colonizer
and colonized, must acknowledge that they are susceptible to be changed and influenced
by each other, which Bhabha (1994; 1996) defined as the concept of hybridity.
Hybridity, loosely interpreted, refers to cultural mixing between the colonizer and
the colonized where both sides are changed and influenced by each other. On a deeper
level, hybridity describes the construction of culture and identity within conditions of
colonial antagonism and inequity (Bhabha, 1994). Bhabha contends that hybridity is the
process by which the colonial or governing authority attempts to translate the identity of
the Other using a singular or essentialist framework, but fails to do so and the result is the
production of something familiar and yet new (Papastergiadis, 1997). Bhabha argues that
the new hybrid identity challenges the validity and authenticity of any essentialist cultural
identity and is an antidote to essentialism. Similarly, CRT too battles against essentialism


22
or the notion that there is a single monolithic experience of race or gender (Harris, 1990;
Delgado & Stefancic, 2001). Hybridity does not dilute or weaken heritage or tradition as
is often claimed but reveals that all traditions and cultures have multiple lineages,
influences, inferences, interpretations, and revisions that enhance its potential (Bhabha,
2011). Furthermore, Bhabha (2011) states that hybridity emphasizes intersectionality of
cultures and claims that the resulting product would be free of cultural supremacy thus
making hybridity the opposite of unequal and unfair. The three concepts of Orientalism
or Othering, subalterns, and hybridity grounded in postcolonial theory and CRT will form
the backbone of this study.
Refugees as Colonized Subjects
If we imagine hybridity as the norm in education with regards to curriculum,
content, assessment, and achievement then marginalized groups as well as all groups of
students would have the agency and access to create their own product, which would suit
and meet their needs. Using postcolonial terms we could argue that the current structure
of education is created from an Orientalist perspective, where school districts,
administrators, federal and state policy makers have created a system of teaching and
assessment that does not take into account the hybridity of the student populations that
are no longer majority White and middle class. The education system has created a
product based on majoritarian stories that is informed by images, notions and ideas about
the Other students with little or no input from the marginalized groups. If the system
must be fair and equal then there needs to be an increased amount of interaction,
communication and hybridization among those with power and those without. Although


23
those without power and voice are no longer referred to as the colonized they are still
victims of oppression and subjugation.
Generational poverty and disadvantages are disproportionately the lot of Black
and Brown races in the U.S. (Anyon, 1997; Gorski, 2006) and continued inequity in
schooling and education (Bowles & Gintis, 2011) is an assured way of keeping the
colonized or the urban, poor, Colored, and powerless students in their place. Through the
perpetuation of colonizing practices public schools fail to provide Students of Color with
skills that will prepare them to compete in the modem economy and education continues
to be underfunded in poorer neighborhoods. Darling-Hammond (2010) states that urban
public schools are funded at lower rates than other schools and are housed in old,
crumbling, and dilapidated buildings. These schools have insufficient supplies and are
less likely to have math and science teachers with certification in their areas. Further,
there is a permanent shortage of teachers in urban areas as compared to the national
average. Instruction is based on unchallenging, low-level, rote material (Darling-
Hammond, 2010), Students of Color are tracked into lower ability classes (Oakes, 1990)
and MLLs face academic and social isolation in schools (Callahan, 2013).
Unsurprisingly, the academic achievements and outcomes of colonized students are some
of the lowest in the country and if they do graduate from high school there are years of
expensive remedial classes waiting before they can leave college with a degree
(Kurlaender & Howell, 2012). This willful, aggressive neglect (Ladson-Billings, 2006)
and segregation is reminiscent of colonial policies that were used to keep the natives
subjugated and voiceless. Postcolonialism does not introduce a new world free from ills
of colonialism but suggests continuity and change by creating spaces for the oppressed


24
people to gain independence (Rai, 2005).
Critical Race Theory and Postcolonial Theory
CRT is largely viewed as a theory specifically created for an American context
based on U.S. racial history (Thomas, 2000) while postcolonial theory has a larger reach
with contributions and theories from Asia, Africa, and South America. Postcolonial
theory in conjunction with CRT permits researchers to bring together social history and
racism to deepen our understanding of marginalization and oppression. While CRT
captures and denounces the inner workings of racism (Leonardo, 2013), postcolonialism
offers forms of resistance, negotiations, and assertions to the oppressed so they can create
their own ideology and history (Nayar, 2008). Postcolonial theory supports political and
cultural negotiations with the colonizer, or with those who dominate through
hybridization, as a process by which both sides are changed forever (Bhabha, 1994).
While CRT in education centers race in analysis, postcolonial theory helps place
race in its historical and social context and links the marginalization of Black and Brown
people to legacies of colonialism and imperialism. It is no coincidence then that the five
countries from which the largest number of refugees fled in 2012, Bhutan, Burma, Iraq,
Somalia, and Cuba were all colonized either by Britain, Italy or Spain in the last century.
Physically, the colonizers may have left their colonies but not without starting a long,
enduring and often tortured relationship with their ex-colonized. The legacy of
colonization means that no amount of efforts can completely separate the Occident from
the Orient and notwithstanding the boundaries of geography, geopolitics, and
immigration the presence of the Orient continues to dog the Occident. It is outside the
scope of this study to discuss and analyze the causes of forced migration and its link to


25
colonization but it should be said that while the colonizers spatially separated from their
colonies and subjects as part of the decolonizing process in the middle of the twentieth
century, the dichotomy between Us and Them, Superior and Inferior, and Civilized and
Savage remains and permeates the systems, policies and institutions including education.
Counternarratives and Subalterns
This study was guided largely by two main principles; firstly by the fourth tenet
of CRT as stated by Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado & Crenshaw (1993) and by Solorzano
(1997, 1998) that places experiential knowledge of People of Color, refugee students
herein, at the center of the study and secondly by understanding subaltern narratives in
their historical, political, and economic contexts. Marginalization of refugees often
occurs at the intersection of race, class, gender and/or language and thus their stories are
often suppressed, devalued, and abnormalized (Delgado, 1989). Although unheard and
muted from the dominant population, stories and narratives for subalterns offer a source
of shared understandings that create bonds and meanings that circulate within the group
as a counter-reality (Delgado, 1989). Stories or countemarratives are a way of
challenging the dominant ideologies and status quo (Bell, 1987; Bettelheim, 2010;
Delgado 1989) and they have the ability to show the way out of inequity and help
understand how to reallocate power (Delgado, 1989). CRT explicitly draws on the
experiential knowledge of marginalized groups that can be expressed through
storytelling, family histories, biographies, scenarios, parables, and narratives (Bell, 1987,
Delgado, 1989). These narratives provide critical race scholars with tools to challenge
and expose deficit-based research and methods that silence and misinterpret the
experiences of people of color (Solorzano & Yosso, 2002).


26
Until lions have their historians, tales of the hunt shall always glorify the
hunter. This old African proverb perfectly captures the hegemonic and ethnocentric
ways in which stories operate (Ladson-Billings, 2013). Stories reflect a certain
perspective and point of view that upholds what the storyteller believes is important and
significant and can be narrated in ways that privilege a certain worldview. For several
decades through slavery and colonization of the Americas, Asia, and Africa there has
been a Western story about the Other as explained earlier that upholds and justifies
domination and exploitation. The dominant narrative is about intellectually inferior,
savage, and primitive people who need to be segregated, ruled and controlled (Comaroff
& Comaroff, 2003; Mafeje, 1998; Nader, 2011). Just as majoritarian stories have been
tools of subjugation, countemarratives are a tool for exposing inequities (Bell, 1987). As
Europeans were colonizing other continents there existed within the colonized groups
innumerable counternarratives that were used to retain cultural pride and eventually to
slowly spread the message of anti-colonialism, freedom, and revolution (Wa Thiongo,
1987). These counterstories were the framework for understanding oppression and
exploitation and finding ways to resist it (Achebe, 1986). A methodology that is
grounded in countemarratives expressing the particulars of the social reality and
experience (Matsuda, 1985) of marginalized groups and expressed in ways they know
best will be the first step in creating a counternarrative to the majoritatrian stories.
Purpose of Counternarratives
From a broader perspective beyond race and color, counternarratives are first
person accounts that can be a type of protest literature (Hornstein, 2010) where those who
have been objects of other peoples theorizing stand up and say this is not your story, this


27
is my story and this is how I am going to tell it. Slaves, holocaust survivors, women,
mental illness patients, undocumented immigrants, refugees, gays and lesbians, and other
marginalized groups have often been the objects of research and theorizing by academics,
scientists and media. Theories are created and woven around their experiences, creating a
majoritarian and dominant story about the group that gets consumed by audiences and
societies all around the world. However, as counternarratives indicate, it is possible, nay
imperative even, to create an experience that counters the mainstream and offers another
account of the experience (Homstein, 2010). Thus, counternarratives are ways of
acknowledging and respecting the fact that all human beings have inherent expertise and
wisdom about their life and about what is helpful or detrimental to them or their situation
(Homstein, 2010; Kleinman, 1988).
This inherent expertise can be translated into agency for marginalized groups of
people who have experienced a common phenomenon. Agency can be expressed by
coming together to create an alternative and hybrid way of understanding that is based on
collective counternarratives and lived experiences. Democratically speaking,
counternarratives are more important than majoritarian stories as they offer an alternative
body of material for policy (Homstein, 2010). Often policy regarding marginalized
groups is created by those in power based on what they perceive to be the desired
outcome, which would also maintain the status quo of White supremacy. However,
having a broader and probably better set of ideas and expected outcomes based on
counternarratives would not only help create systems and structures that are welcomed by
the marginalized groups but would also create agency that is equated with the exercise of
will, decision, choice, and planning (Ram, 2013).


28
Types of Counternarratives
Yosso (2006) further outlines four main functions of counterstories that can
challenge and transform education inequities.
1. Counterstories can build community among those at the margins of society by
bringing a human face to empirical research.
2. Counterstories can challenge the perceived wisdom of those at societys center by
exposing White privilege upheld in majoritarian stories.
3. Counterstories can nurture community cultural wealth, memory, and resistance by
shattering oppressive silences created through the omission and distortion of
Outsider histories.
4. Counterstories can facilitate transformation in education by embedding critical
conceptual and theoretical content within an accessible story format (pp. 14-15).
While Postcolonial Theory creates social and temporal spaces for
counternarratives that voice discrimination as understood by the marginalized, CRT
analyzes countemarratives that have the power to bring to light petty and major abuses
and injustices that might otherwise remain invisible (Delgado, 1990) and turn our
attention to the differences. By its very name counternarrative offers a different
interpretation of the phenomenon and as such carries the potential of disrupting
majoritarian stories and exposing systemic discrimination. Solorzano and Yosso (2002)
have identified three types of countemarratives as follows:
1. Personal Stories or Narratives that recount an individuals experiences with
various forms of racism and sexism. These tend to be autobiographical reflections
of the author that are analyzed using CRT and located within a context of a larger
sociopolitical critique.
2. Other Peoples Stories or Narratives tell another persons story that can reveal
experiences and responses to racism and sexism as told in a third person voice.
This type tends to offer biographical analysis of the experiences of a person of
color in relation to U.S. institutions and in a sociohistorical context.
3. Composite Stories or Narratives draw on various forms of data to recount
racialized, sexualized, and classed experiences of people of color. These tend to
offer both biographical and autobiographical analyses as authors create composite
characters and place them in social, historical, and political situations to discuss
racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of subordination (pp. 32-33).


29
This study drew on the second typeother peoples stories and narratives to
identify locations and depths of inequities in order to rectify them. Data were used to tell
stories of adolescent refugee students educational histories, goals, and philosophies.
These stories and narratives were collected to document the experiences and perspectives
of adolescent refugee students which demonstrated the persistence of marginalization and
racism from the perspective of those injured and victimized by its legacy (Yosso, 2006).
However, the use of subjective and narrative storytelling methodology in CRT is not
without its share of criticism from legal and education scholars.
Critiques of Critical Race Theory and Postcolonial Theory
CRT is largely criticized by legal scholars on the grounds of its reliance on
narrative storytelling and lack of objectivity (Farber & Sherry, 1997; Kozinski, 1997;
Posner, 1997). Posner criticizes CRT by stating that it does not depend on empirical data
and Western rational inquiry and instead resorts to fictional stories that reinforce
stereotypes about the intellectual capacities of non-Whites (Posner, 1997). Farber and
Sherry argue that CRTs methodology of counterstorytelling not only recounts atypical
and unrepresentative experiences of People of Color and overemphasize the Voice of
Color therefore reducing its generalizability but also distorts the truth. In education
research, Darder and Torres (2004) interrogate CRTs use of race as an analytical concept
and assert that class inequality and capitalism merit analytical focus.
Postcolonial Theory is widely criticized by postcolonial scholars as well as other
academics. It has been called a signifier of danger (Hall, 1996), designed to avoid
making sense (Dirlik, 1994), and an accomplice to contemporary global capitalism


30
(Prakash, 1994) while Ferguson (2003) sees it as a commitment to rampant relativism
that has abandoned the Western project of reason, truth and progress.
The term postcolonial is contested within academia from its meaning to its
orthography. Some scholars state that adding a hyphen in post-colonial changes the
meaning of word post and its connection to colonial (Subedi & Daza, 2008) and other
scholars question if the term is too premature as neo-colonial conditions are ever present
(Williams & Chrisman, 1994). Some of the debates state that the post in postcolonial is
not to be understood as a temporal marker but as a marker of a spatial challenge of the
occupying powers of the West by the ethical, political, aesthetic forms of the
marginalized (Dimitriadis & McCarthy, 2007). According to Bhabha (1994), postcolonial
is a reminder of the persistent neo-colonial relations within the new world order and the
multinational division of labor. Gandhi (1998) states that the value of postcoloniality
must be judged in terms of its adequacy to conceptualize the complex condition which
attends the aftermath of colonial occupation (p. 4).
Similar to the criticism leveled against CRT and its methodologies, postcolonial
theory is also seen as an attempt to undermine Western culture and an enemy of social
development and progress. After the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,
postcolonialism was depicted as anti-American and postcolonial studies as hotbeds of
unpatriotic anti-Americanism (Kurtz, 2003). Critics, including Said, often acknowledge
the field for its dense and convoluted language (Subedi & Daza, 2008) and its
interdisciplinarity that brings together a range of wide and disparate data, theories,
histories and frameworks (Loomba, 1995). Postcolonial scholars argue that the range of
theories and disciplines that contribute to this domain provides a more complex and non-


31
essentialist analysis of issues including race and racism that have not been theorized
sufficiently in education (Subedi & Daza, 2008).
While acknowledging the concerns and criticisms of the frameworks, these
critiques actually reveal more about White privilege perpetuating perspectives of truth
and reason (Yosso, 2006) and its inability to hear and understand a new scholarly song
(Bell, 1992). The unwillingness and inability to acknowledge and accept hybridity is a
manifestation of White domination and supremacy. By rejecting Other ways and Others
ways of understanding and being, White supremacy seeks to maintain the status quo
where power is retained in their hands. This conflict between submission, negotiation,
and amalgamation (Cesaire, 1950; Fanon, 1952) marked by tortured relationships
between colonizer and colonized are central to the struggles for justice and equity.
Researcher Role
It would be remiss to ignore my role in the study. A researcher cannot be
separated from her epistemology or her ways of understanding the world and as such her
biases should be acknowledged. I observed, understood, interpreted, and analyzed data
based on knowledge that I have gained through my lived experiences. The motivation for
the study was my belief that in the quest for assimilation in a new country MLLs are
always under social, educational and economic pressures to increase their fluency in
English, which leads to internalized beliefs native speakers of English are inherently
superior to non-native speakers of English. This journey helped me realize my own
privileges and the knowledge that I have regarding availability of educational resources
and ways to access them. As an immigrant teacher working with refugee students there
were similarities and differences in our journeys that must be acknowledged. Ongoing


32
efforts were needed to reflect and discuss these similarities and differences with
colleagues and participants as was the need to be cognizant of the fact that I had far more
privilege and power than the participants and I was an useful ally in their educational
journey.
However, it was important to acknowledge that being fluent in Hindi was a
crucial factor in building relationships with some of the participants. The common
language was perceived by parents and participants as a unifying bond between us.
Parents and other family members, relieved to hear Hindi, enthusiastically joined the
conversation and volunteered information that may not have been otherwise offered.
Furthermore, phenotypically, I resembled some of the Bhutanese and Burmese
participants and their families and also dressed like them in traditional ethnic clothes such
as sahvars and kurtas. These similarities were an important factor in building trust and as
being perceived as an insider in direct opposition to all the White persons in authority
that they encountered.


33
CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW
Introduction
A literature review is carried out to learn what research already exists in the
proposed topic, contributions made to the knowledge by other researchers, methodologies
and data collection techniques used as well as learning about the history of the topic and
acquiring a subject specific vocabulary (Hart, 1998). In this section I have reviewed
empirical, conceptual and policy research to synthesize relevant studies. Refugees as a
group are largely under researched and the largest numbers of studies are published in the
domains of psychology, counseling, ethnography, sociology, geopolitics, and migration
studies. Fewer studies are published in public policy, womens studies, ecology, and
environment. Additionally, education research on refugee students in second or third
country resettlement is scant as compared with other research topics such as English
Language Learners or Black and Latino/a students. Some of the reasons for this under
researched topic are explored in the sections below.
Parameters
The search for literature was conducted using parameters set to peer-reviewed
published research and books on refugees and their schooling in the university library
databases and Google scholar. The search terms used were combinations of the words
refugee, school, education, Significantly Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE), and
Significantly Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) which yielded a total of
49,697 articles as of April 2015. The largest number of these studies was related to
mental health, psychological impact, and trauma among refugee communities and around


34
2000 studies were relevant to schooling and education; only those that specifically
discussed education of refugee students and related teaching practices from pre-school to
high school were included in this review. Furthermore, my search was limited to research
written and published in Western countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada,
and the United Kingdom as they share similar approaches to immigrant education (Sidhu
& Taylor, 2007, 2009) as compared to resettlement in Pakistan, Iran or Kenya. Although,
the heaviest burden of hosting refugees falls on countries of the global south (Elliott &
Segal, 2012), resettlement in North America, Europe, and Australia nevertheless accounts
for approximately 20% of the worlds refugees (Desjarlais, Eisenberg, Good, &
Kleinman, 1995). As there were fewer than 150 empirical and/or conceptual peer
reviewed and published research studies from the Western countries no further
parameters were set and all were read to check for relevance.
Scholarly research started to appear on forced migrations resulting from
decolonization and post-colonial conflicts in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (Skran &
Daughtry, 2007) in the 1960s and the starting point for this review was McBriens (2005)
review of literature on educational needs and barriers for refugee students in the U.S.
This extremely helpful and informative review synthesized literature published within a
twenty-five-year period prior to 2004 and contained some important findings and were
integrated in the sections below. Since 2005 to April 2015, 60 empirical and conceptual
studies were published on refugee students resettled in the West as represented in the
graphic below.


35
Source 1: McBriens (2005) Literature Review on educational
needs and barriers for refugee students in the United States.
Source 2: From 2005 to April 2015, 60 studies were published
in the West about education of resettled refugees divided as
follows:
57 qualitative, 2 quantitative and 1 mixed methods design.
14 were conceptual studies of which 11 were published in
Australia and were related to education policy.
16 were focused on a single ethnicity or race of students
(Somali, Sudanese, Burundian, Cambodian, Vietnamese,
Turkish, and Karen)
7 evaluations of refugee specific programs
9 studies published perspectives of teachers who worked
with refugees
6 studies, all from the U.S., published perspectives from
parents of refugee students
Figure 1: Table indicating number and types of studies reviewed.
It is important to note that in terms of demographic characteristics of refugees,
there are two distinct phasesafter the two World Wars and the Cold War most refugees
that arrived in the U.S. were of European or Russian descent and from Korea, Vietnam,
Cambodia and South America during periods of turmoil in those regions (Ager, 1999;
Woods, 2009) while in the two decades of this century 75% of refugees come from
Africa, Middle East, and Asia (UNHCR, 2013). As I read through the literature, six
salient themes emerged from all the sources and listed below and hence the review was
organized by major themes that directly affected the education of refugee students.
1. Macro and Micro Policy
2. Mental and Physical Health
3. Identity Issues


36
4. The Institution of School
5. Teacher Perspectives and Recommendations for Practitioners
6. Perspectives of Refugee Parents and Families
Macro and Micro Policy
In his theoretical analysis of modernity Bauman (2004) refers to refugees as
representations of outlaws, outcastes and human waste with no useful function to play in
the land of their arrival (pp. 76-78). He further states that once refugees are designated
as waste then policy measures effectively end their individualities and differences and
permanently assign them to exclusion. In their analyses of Western policies on refugees,
several authors concluded that refugees were marked as being stateless and statusless
(Bauman, 2004; Pinson & Amot, 2007; Rutter, 2006) and that these two positions were
commonly assigned to them in national and international policies. The consequences of
negative rhetoric about refugees directly affect the amount and type of support services
and funding that are made available to them. Pinson and Amot (2007) call for more
education and sociological research on refugees to leam how marginalization has affected
and continues to affect refugees in the Western host countries. In their conceptual essay
the authors state that refugees who are termed as global waste in policy continue to be
ignored by education researchers even in the midst of multiculturalism and diversity
initiatives and continue to be subordinated by the politics of belonging or nationalism (p.
400).
Similar to immigrants and immigration policies, all groups of refugees do not
receive the same level of acceptance from U.S. society and research cited below has
shown correlation between policy support, societal acceptance, and higher life successes.


37
Foreign policy and diplomatic, trade, and labor relations often dictate how certain groups
are welcomed and accepted to the U.S. Berrys (1980) model of acculturation into
Western society states that refugee and host-country attitudes toward each others
cultures determine whether certain groups of refugees will choose to integrate or
assimilate.
In the early 1960s Cuban refugees were not only welcomed but received
considerable financial support from the U.S. government, as it sympathized with their
anticommunist cause (Perez, 2001). Perez analyzed 1,242 respondents of Cuban origin
who were also the single largest ethnic group in a longitudinal study of children of
immigrants. Cuban refugees built a large enclave in Florida and founded bilingual
schools for their children staffed by qualified Cuban refugees (Baker, 2001). The future
waves of refugees from Cuba used the supports created by the earlier generations, and as
a result their children thrived in their own culture and were also protected from outside
discrimination (Perez, 2001). In contrast, Nicaraguan refugees fleeing a similar
communist regime during the Sandinista Revolution, although highly educated and
professionally trained, were not granted refugee status by the U.S. government and could
not create a support system. Most of them remained undocumented and worked at jobs
paying less than minimum wage (Fernandez-Kelly & Curran, 2001). Consequently, the
children of Nicaraguan refugees could not avail native cultural and linguistic resources,
resulting in cultural dissonance and inter-generational conflicts (Femandez-Kelly &
Curran, 2001).
Haitian refugees who arrived with low education and job-skill levels in the 1970s
and 1980s suffered the most discrimination from the U.S. government of any migrant


38
group in that period. In their ethnographic study of Haitian youth, Stepick, Stepick,
Eugene, Teed, and Labissiere, (2001) stated that Haitian students were teased and bullied
because of their accents, skin color, and poverty, and they felt alienated from their own
cultural identity and families, and that this could have been a factor contributing to their
grades being the lowest among groups of immigrant and refugee children. Against the
backdrop of the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, refugee admissions
to the U.S. dropped sharply and Muslim refugee students in schools reported being
victims of verbal and physical abuse, hate crimes, teasing, and being stereotyped as
terrorists (Kirova, 2001; McBrien, 2005). Thus research indicated that policies based on
international relations play an important role on how some groups of refugees are
welcomed and resettled in the U.S., which directly affected the learning and life
outcomes for their children.
On a micro level, policies at the school and district level also contributed to either
the exclusion or inclusion of refugee students within the school culture (Block 2014;
Dooley, 2009; Dooley & Thangaperumal, 2011; Gitlin, Buendia, Crosland, & Doumbia,
2003). In their qualitative study at a middle school, Gitlin et al., (2003) studied school
practices and policies for refugee children. They found that when welcoming discourse is
evident but is coupled with exclusionary practices the resulting student success or failure
is often viewed as individual rather than structural or systemic. For example,
administrators at the participating middle school in their study stated that the MLL
program was placed in a distant wing to prevent interaction of immigrant students with
U.S. students. Some other practices noted by Gitlin et al. were lack of late transportation
for after-school activities, school assemblies dominated by White students, and


39
segregated lunchroom practices facilitated by lunchroom monitors; some of the White
students interviewed indicated xenophobic beliefs that MLL students would initiate
violence (p. 116). Dooley and Thangaperumal (2011) noted similar practices that
reinforced positions of marginalization and Othering of African refugee students in their
study at four Australian high schools where they interviewed students and teachers. The
researchers noted that teachers coached the students to tolerate others making fun of their
accents and continually reminded them that they should feel gratitude for being in
Australia.
These studies indicated that attitudinal and structural racism placed MLL
students, including refugees, on the margins even though school administration professed
welcoming and inclusive policies. Exclusionary practices that were tolerated, ignored or
promoted by schools and administration had a detrimental effect on the socioemotional
and sociocultural development of refugee students.
Mental and Physical Health
When refugees arrive in the United States, unlike immigrants, they are more
likely to be suffering from chronic ailments such as tuberculosis, malaria, kidney, and
liver diseases contracted during their stay in refugee camps or during the journey to the
U.S. (Trueba, Jacobs, & Kirton, 1990); while experiencing or witnessing traumatic events
is another major risk factor that could lead to mental health problems (Hones & Cha,
1999; Tollefson, 1989). In their medical research on refugee mental health, Ringold,
Burke and Glass (2005) divided risk factors according to before flight and after:
Presence of these factors before flight may be associated with poorer mental
health outcomes: being unprepared for trauma and refugee status, older age, higher


40
socioeconomic status, higher level of education, female sex, living in rural area. Presence
of these factors after flight may be associated with poorer mental health outcomes:
unstable living arrangements, lack of economic opportunity in the new living situation,
return to the country from which the refugees fled, and lack of resolution of the conflict
from which they fled. (p. 646).
A recent literature review explored trauma and mental health issues in young
refugees from the Middle East. Montgomery (2011) reviewed four empirical qualitative
studies focused on asylum seeking children from torture surviving families in Denmark.
She found that posttraumatic stress disorder symptom complex was insufficient while
studying children as two of three children on arrival suffered from clinically important
anxiety and one of three from sleep disturbance (Montgomery, 2011). The researcher also
found that family oriented traumatic experiences (p. 31) such as parents exposure to
torture before the birth of the child were particularly important as the childrens reactions
seemed to be mediated through that of the parents. Montgomery (2011) found that
although the high prevalence of psychological problems was considerably reduced over
time, it was still higher nine years after arrival than what was found in populations of
youth without a refugee background. Furthermore, childrens traumatic background at
arrival was exacerbated by experiences of discrimination in host countries although these
children showed remarkable resilience (p. 34).
While trauma experienced by refugee children can affect their ability to learn
(Sinclair, 2001), that experienced by the parents left them unable to provide emotional
and academic support to the children, (Ascher, 1985; Timm, 1994). Infants suffered from
preverbal memories that led to nightmares, and toddlers were prone to language-related


41
learning problems and social confusion (Rong & Preissle, 1998; Sokol off, Carlin, &
Pham, 1984). Two studies discussed diagnosis, testing, and classification of refugee
students as needing special services within schools and the problems associated with
inadequate validated tests and cultural issues surrounding special needs (Hurley, Warren,
Habalow, Weber, & Tousignant, 2014; Lester & Anders, 2014). Trauma experienced
during flight, in refugee camps, and during resettlement caused refugee students to be
distrustful and fearful of people in authority, including teachers (Hynes, 2003; Igoa,
1995), and early educational response supported emotional and social healing by creating
a sense of normalcy, hope, and routine (Sinclair, 2001).
Essentializing refugees as victims of trauma and requiring mental health
(Matthews, 2008) rendered them as weak and vulnerable instead of violated by political
and personal oppressions (Rutter, 2006) and educational programs that respected the
native cultures of refugee students and allowed them plenty of time to adjust and learn
the language were the most effective (Eisenbruch, 1990; Nguyen, Messe, & Stollak,
1999) in terms of resettlement and acculturation.
Identity Issues
Some education research has explored teen identity issues among refugees and
how identity helped or hindered academic outcomes using identity formation, identity
negotiation, and acculturation as theoretical lenses to analyze data. Participants in various
studies reported that identity conflict was a major issue faced by them during the
resettlement period and was accompanied by feelings of invisibility, marginalization, and
alienation (Bal, 2014; Roxas & Roy, 2012b; Davila, 2014; Trickett & Birman, 2005;


42
Uptin, Wright, & Harwood, 2014; Wallitt, 2008), which related directly to their academic
outcomes.
For recent refugees from non-European countries, identity seemed to be largely
assigned by the host country based on majoritarian narratives, instead of being assumed
or created by the student. It was not always easy for African, Asian, and Middle Eastern
refugees to slip unnoticed into the dominant culture in the U.S. due to their phenotype
and/or religious symbols such as hijabs, conservative clothing, and fasting during
Ramadan (McBrien 2005). Many Africans were perceived to be African Americans,
Asians as model minorities (Thorstensson Davila, 2014; Wallitt, 2008) and those from
Islamic cultures tended to be associated with violence and terrorism (Asali, 2003; Carter,
1999; McMurtrie et al., 2001; Wingfield & Karaman, 2001). It seemed as if identities of
refugee students were foregone conclusions and they received an assigned identity based
on societies majoritarian stories regarding race, culture, language, and religion. Identity
issues have been linked to a high dropout rate among refugees, including poor self-
perceptions of academic abilities (House, 2001), antisocial behavior and rejection by
peers (French & Conrad, 2001), lack of academic preparation before entering U.S.
schools, lack of future goals, feeling unsafe at school, poverty, and hostile social
environments (Portes & Rumbaut, 2001) while some adolescent refugees viewed their
search for identity as an obstacle to academic success (Erikson, 1968; Tollefson, 1989).
Using Bronfenbrenners ecological model Kanu (2008) worked with 40 war-
affected African refugees in Canada and studied how their identities and learning
outcomes were affected by untreated migration related stresses, prejudice,
marginalization, racism, and inappropriate grade placements leading to feelings of


43
rejection, frustration, inadequacy and eventually dropping out even when they did not
intend to drop out. In the cases of refugees from Bosnia and Russia (Mosselson, 2007;
Trickett & Birman, 2005), students largely adopted American ways and mannerisms, and
both studies found positive correlations between assimilation and academic outcomes.
The researchers partially attributed the correlation to the fact that refugees from Bosnia
and Russia had the same phenotype as the majority of their American peers and blended
in easily with the rest of the White students in terms of how they looked and what they
wore. Using semi-structured interviews with 15 Bosnian female students and a feminist
framework, Mosselson (2007) found that overwhelmingly all her participants suffered
from depression in spite of being highly motivated to succeed in school. Her participants
stated that educational achievements and opportunities were central to their identities in
the U.S. and gave them some control over their futures. They also stated that one way to
transform their identities from foreigners was to become A-grade students.
In keeping with current migration trends, recent literature showed that African
refugee students whose education lay at the intersection of several marginalizing factors
such as race, color, language, religion, and class were the most researched group
(Chadderton & Edmonds, 2014; Dooley, 2009; Dooley & Thangaperumal, 2011; Hatoss,
ONeill & Eacersall, 2012; Kanu, 2008; Lester & Arnold, 2014; MacNevin, 2012; Roxas,
2010; Roy & Roxas, 2011).
Two qualitative studies that focused on Somali students (Oikonomidoy, 2010;
Roxas & Roy, 2012a) both reported that academic outcomes for refugee students were
negatively affected by racism, low expectations, segregation from mainstream students,
and lack of respect from teachers and peers. Somali female students in a qualitative study


44
met with constant and continued resistance from school staff when they wore Islamic
hijabs and long skirts (Roxas & Roy, 2012b). The students reported that school
administrators and teachers insisted that they remove their hijabs and wear school-
mandated trousers instead of long skirts. The participants viewed these polices as
discriminatory and in conflict with their religious identity and reported spending several
hours in the principals or counselors office for violating dress code rules resulting in
loss of precious learning time away from the classroom.
Hatoss, ONeill, and Eacersall, (2012) investigated career aspirations, motivations
and obstacles of 30 Sudanese refugee students using a mixed methods approach. Their
study used an acculturation model and revealed that racism, interrupted schooling, and
English language literacy were the most difficult barriers faced by the students but also
revealed the resiliency, determination, and humanitarian motivation in their choice of
careers that mostly involved helping other people in Australia or Sudan.
Harris (2011) study investigated the ways in which female Sudanese refugee
students were perceived by their high schools as transgressive and how transgression
became a liberatory invitation for students and teachers as means of negotiations and
reconstruction of identities as postulated by hooks (1994).Using the medium of
ethnocinema, the young Sudanese women in the study showed that they had an
understanding of transgression as political education and practice of freedom and how it
related to their Blackness. One of the major findings of this study was the participants
frustration at being excluded; the Sudanese women stated that teachers did not ask them
to share their knowledge of transgression and negotiation and the different positionalities
they learned to negotiate schools as very dark Africans especially as those experiences


45
would have been helpful for the future waves of similar students (Harris, 2011). In
another similar study with seven Somali female high school students in the U.S.,
Oikonomidoy (2010) found that they failed to identify with the material taught at their
school and its relevance to their lives. The participants described their most supportive
teachers as those who did not get impatient with them (p. 78).
Wallitts (2008) case study of 14 Cambodian high school students and dropouts
revealed negative outcomes similar to the Somali and Sudanese students but due to
different reasons. The nine female and five male Cambodian students reported that
schools and teachers assumed that since they were Asian there would be no academic
problems based on common model minority stereotypes (Wallitt, 2008). The students
also reported that they felt invisible and ignored academically, socially, emotionally, and
ethnically. The curriculum and school culture excluded them and this eventually led some
of the participants to drop out. There was one comparative research study conducted by
Guerrero and Tinkler (2010) in two countries, Colombia and the U.S. This study revealed
that refugee adolescents were not passive victims but were actively involved in
reconstructing their identities and meanings of experiences through social interaction.
This anthropological study was carried out in Bogota and California with comparable
refugee participants from middle and high schools. All participants were given digital
cameras and trained to use them in order to express themselves and document their lives.
The results were used in discussions and eventually were accompanied by written
narratives. Themes such as freedom, education, belief in opportunities, power, hegemony,
and safety recurred in both groups.


46
Identity formation and negotiation among refugee students is marked by
resistance and lack of mutual accommodation between two groupsrefugees who do not
assimilate with the dominant group and the dominant group that is unprepared to adapt its
systems and structures to better meet the needs of all groups living together in the plural
society (Berry, 1991). Furthermore, identities of refugee children were closely linked to
their families and social groups within their ethnic community and the demands made by
society seemed to indicate that students must choose between their home and dominant
cultures.
The Institution of School
Schools were centers for acculturation and helped in dealing with cultural
bereavement (Eisenbruch, 1990) as well as one of the most important stabilizing
features in the unsettled lives of refugee students (Matthews, 2008, p. 31). Furthermore,
schools also provided spaces for building relationships with a new culture and
community (Dagenais, Beyon, & Mathis, 2008), but this was a long and slow process that
should not be rushed. In their study with young Sudanese refugees in Australia, Cassity
and Gow (2005) found that schools were spaces where young refugees can come to terms
with their trauma of migration and resettlement and learn to transition into citizenship
and belonging in a multicultural society. However, schools as institutions also
represented a challenge to refugees in terms of language, content specific vocabulary, and
culture and were viewed as barriers to learning (Miller, 2007). Therefore when schools
were inadequately funded and unprepared to provide for the learning needs of refugees,
they were also perceived as a barrier to social and educational capital (Cassity & Gow,
2005). From the perspective of adolescent and almost-adult refugees, schools were


47
viewed as institutions that could provide crucial access to further and future opportunities
and alienation from schools impeded their life outcomes (Block, Cross, Riggs, & Gibbs,
2014).
Amid all the clamor of testing, accountability and competition in many Western
public systems, schools too have to constantly work within the constraints of balancing
economic development with social justice and equity as Woods (2009) and Fraser (1997)
stated in their conceptual research. This dissertation, guided by the premise that education
must not only be equitable but also socially just and society must provide more
opportunities for success to those groups who have most often been the victims of
inequity (Rawls, 1971) finds support in Frasers (1997) social justice framework in
education where she stated that education must be recognitive and redistributive to be
socially just. Recognitive justice implies recognition of various cultural backgrounds of
students and redistributive implied an equitable distribution of resources (Fraser, 1997;
Woods, 2009). For refugee students then the implications extended to realistic and
equitable distribution of funds and resources that would enable their full participation in
schooling and therefore future potentials (Luke, Woods, & Weir, 2008).
In his conceptual research on refugee education Woods (2009) imbued schools
with three main responsibilities towards this most underserved and ignored population of
students: 1) to educate 2) to provide a site for the development of civic responsibility and
3) to act as a site for welfare with responsibility (p. 81). Couch (2005) further proposed
that a socially just education for refugees must be framed with a human rights approach
that acknowledges past trauma and a right to a normal life instead of a service model
based on needs and categories as characterized by societys majoritarian stories.


48
Majoritarian stories about refugees also pervade schools where they are
consciously or unconsciously supported by policies and staff members, which have
implications not only for refugees but also for the other students. In their theoretical essay
on ethics and policy, Hattam and Every (2010) argued that the education of refugees
cannot be separated from the education offered to young people in school, about
refugees. They argue that experiences of refugee students in school were highly
determined by the way refugees were conceptualized and represented in public culture
and how these representations were accepted or contested by schools. The ethical
question raised by some researchers (Christie & Sidhu, 2002; Hattam & Every, 2010;
West-Newman, 2004) was that teachers working with refugees operated in a terrain of
negative emotions such as fear of the Other, anger, and White defensiveness (Aveling,
2002) but they were rarely provided with the appropriate or adequate resources to join
and support this humanitarian endeavor of teaching refugees (Bauman, 2004; Pinson &
Arnot, 2007).
Teacher Perspectives and Recommendations for Practitioners
Research literature with perspectives from teachers who teach refugee students is
growing as Western countries continue to witness an influx of refugees from Africa,
Asia, and the Middle East (McBrien, 2011; UNHCR, 2013; Woods, 2009). The overall
findings showed that teachers expressed a need for refugee related professional
development (Baldwin, 2015; Kanu, 2008; MacNevin, 2012) and also expressed their
inability to cope with the burden of being teachers, counselors, psychologists and life
coaches for their students whose needs surpassed their capabilities and skills (Kanu,
2008; Miller, Windle, & Yazdanpanah, 2014; Roxas, 2010; Thorstensson, 2013). Some


49
teachers expressed frustration at the lack of training, materials, and support from
administration as well as inadequate knowledge about the students backgrounds
(MacNevin, 2012; Roxas, 2010, 2011c; Roy & Roxas, 2011). This lack of information
was illustrated in Anders (2012) qualitative study in an Appalachian primary school that
had recently admitted refugee children from Burundi. Her main finding was that teachers
perceived their students actions, which were a consequence of posttraumatic stress
disorder, as inappropriate behavior that needed to be punished. The Burundian
elementary school children in her study who cried loudly during the school day were
often left alone by the teacher in a room by themselves to teach them a lesson instead of
seeking counseling or psychological support on their behalf. This harmful and
inappropriate response could have been avoided by increasing teacher awareness about
refugee trauma.
In their qualitative study using interviews, Trueba et al. (1990) found that teachers
and administrators perceived refugee students as having low intelligence, being the most
needy, and being learning-disabled, although no disabilities could be diagnosed by school
personnel. In general, teachers viewed Southeast Asian parents as uninvolved and
uninterested in their childrens education (Birman, Trickett, & Bacchus, 2001; Blakely,
1983; Smith-Hefner, 1990), which the authors explained was due to the fact that most
parents had never attended school and had no frame of reference for parental
involvement, or were preoccupied with survival in the U.S. Furthermore, cultural notions
about the role of teachers as unquestionable education experts prevented parents from
being actively involved in their childrens education (Blakely, 1983; Eisenbruch, 1988).


50
Research showed that teachers either made excessive generalizations about
immigrants and viewed all immigrants as a homogenous group (DeCapua & Marshall,
2010, 2011) plagued by linguistic and cultural issues, or that teachers were staunch
believers of the American cultural script of bootstrapping and meritocracy and thought
that if only the refugee students worked harder and their families cared more about
education they could achieve their goals (Roxas, 2010; Roxas, 2011a, 2011b; Roy &
Roxas, 2011). Teachers in the same studies shared that behavior management was the
most problematic aspect of teaching refugee students, especially the behaviors of Islamic
students who resisted school rules about dress codes and social interactions (Roxas, 2010;
Roxas, 2011b, 2011c; Roy & Roxas, 2011).
However, when Ferfolja (2009) conducted focus groups with approximately 30
pre-service teachers who worked with refugees in Australia, the findings were helpful
and overall positive. Ferfolja (2009) conducted her research within a teacher education
program that included academic service learning for pre-service teachers. Based on a
principle of reciprocal learning, young refugee students received academic and
sociocultural support in small groups from pre-service teachers and the pre-service
teachers in turn learned to work with low-literacy students. The pre-service teachers
reported gaining an appreciation of the complex dynamics related to teaching, students
and diversity (p. 395) and particular understandings about refugee students. The
participants noted the resiliency and hard work of their students and more significantly
that students rejected the concept of victim (p. 402) being associated with their
identities. From a pedagogical perspective the pre-service teachers stated that they built
their teacher capital by learning how to break down tasks, provide scaffolds, plan lessons


51
so that their refugee students had spaces for questions and comments and other nuances
of teaching that may be overlooked when practice teaching in a class of twenty five
students.
In their two theoretical papers on guidelines for best teaching practices for refugee
students, DeCapua & Marshall (2010, 2011) suggest different ways that teachers can
understand the background and cultures of students with interrupted formal education.
Their guidelines include information about learning differences between individualistic
and collectivist cultures, independent and group learning, competition and
interdependence, individual and group accountability, oral and written traditions of
learning, and culturally relevant content material, among other strategies. Many of these
guidelines reflected the tenets of culturally relevant pedagogy (Gay, 2002) and culturally
relevant teaching (Ladson-Billings, 1995), two frameworks that have been used
extensively by several researchers (DeCapua & Marshall, 2010, 2011; Oikonomidoy,
2010; Roxas, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c; Szente, Hoot & Taylor, 2006) to analyze teaching
practices or to frame guidelines for teachers. Taking culturally relevant pedagogy a little
further Roy and Roxas (2011) and Wallitt (2008) examined student, parent, and teacher
discourses using CRT (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995) to examine deficit perspectives
where race is centered in discussions and analyses. These two studies also used
counterstories from Cambodian students (Wallitt, 2008) and two refugee families (Roy &
Roxas, 2011) to examine school and teaching policies.
In their quantitative study of 61 teachers in Australia working with low-literacy
refugee students, Windle and Miller (2012) surveyed content area teachers about the
strategies they used in classrooms. Their findings showed that teachers preferred


52
discussion strategies over scaffolding and they were more likely to engage in strategies
that demanded an active role of themselves than of students. Less than half the teachers
surveyed expected students to develop and present oral texts or provided opportunities to
them to develop multimedia presentations (p. 325). The authors stated that teachers
lacked resources in the types of texts available to them as well as time to create their own
material as expressed by one Science teacher, I need more bloody time! And some PD
this is available but teachers in this school are way too busy to make use of it (p. 327).
Teachers also stated that they felt conflicted between balancing curriculum with language
needs (Miller, Windle, & Yazdanpanah, 2014).
Dooley and Thangaperumal (2011) conducted a qualitative study of teachers in
four schools that taught newly arrived adolescents. These schools used intensive English
language curricula and the researchers used Streets (1993) ideological model to analyze
literacy teaching practices for low-literate refugee students. The ideological model
considers that reading and writing are not only technical capabilities but also social and
cultural ways of knowing that are embedded in relations of power and privilege (Street,
1993). The researchers found that teachers increased and strengthened their control of
instruction to enable mastery of technical capabilities in basic literacy but these strategies
tended to marginalize and humiliate the participants in the study. The authors suggested
that a critical approach should be added to the technical one to transform relations of
linguistic and racial power. Students spoke of being laughed at for their accent or for
asking clarifying questions when teachers spoke too quickly and expressed anger and
frustration at their inability to formulate answers quickly to respond to teacher questions.
One teacher perceived her low literacy refugee students as being totally retrievable with


53
proper programming (p. 2) while another coached them to tolerate (p. 13) having
their speech laughed at to build student goals and self-esteem. Another teacher repeatedly
asked her students how grateful are you to be in Australia? (p. 13) and tried to summon
gratefulness as a motivator for success. This notion of appropriate gratitude was also
recorded by Harris (2011) in her study with Sudanese girls discussed earlier in this
section. However, from the students perspectives, attitudes and comments that
reinforced power structures tended to evoke emotions of quiet rage, moral failure,
marginalization, and cynicism. A similar study carried out in Canada with African
refugees about teaching literacy practices recommended a critical pedagogic approach
(Ibrahim, 1999, 2004) that capitalized on students cultures to interrogate race, gender
and other power relations in the West. Critical pedagogical approaches encouraged
students to develop consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies and
connect knowledge to power and the ability to take constructive action (Giroux, 2010)
and also serve to strengthen their identities.
Perspectives of Refugee Parents and Families
Parental involvement in school is a critical factor of student success in Western
systems (McBrien, 2011) and particularly problematic when parents were unable or
unaware of this pathway to advocacy for their children. Parental involvement in schools
varied among cultures and four qualitative studies that used interviews and focus groups
with South Asian parents revealed some useful perspectives. All groups of parents
honored and respected teachers (Blakely, 2003; Hwa-Froelich & Westby, 2003; Smith-
Hefner, 1993; Timm, 1994) but thought it was disrespectful to make suggestions to them
about their children. Parents also largely expressed their trust in teachers and schools and


54
expected them to do what was in the best interest of the children (Lee & Green, 2008;
McBrien, 2011; Walker-Dalhouse & Dalhouse, 2009). Some studies also found that one
of the main reasons of miscommunication between home and school and lack of
involvement was the parents difficulties with English language proficiency (Atwell,
Gifford, & MacDonald-Wilmsen, 2009; Hwa-Froelich & Westby, 2003; Tadesse, 2014).
Other reasons that kept parents away from school were cited as preoccupation with
finding employment, limited understanding of education systems, discrimination, and
feelings of isolation from dominant society (Atwell et al., 2009; Lewig, Amey, &
Salveron, 2010; Tadesse, 2014; Walker-Dalhouse & Dalhouse, 2009). Parents were
overall hopeful for their childrens future through education but also fearful of social
dangers such as drugs, gangs and violence (Dumbrill, 2008). Lee and Green (2008)
conducted a qualitative study of ten Hmong families where each family had a high school
senior on track to graduate in 2007. They divided 10 seniors into two groups, those who
were high and low achievers based on GPA. The study confirmed Hmong parents belief
and support for their childrens education irrespective of their socioeconomic status or
their childrens GPA. They also found that parents were involved in their childrens
education during elementary and middle school and wanted them to go to college but
depended on older siblings, friends and teachers for educational support in high school.
In separate studies, parents of refugee students in Australia and Canada expressed
the same concern regarding discipline issues. Both groups of African and Asian parents
encountered discipline problems with their children that they attributed to the inability to
use corporal punishment in the West (Dumbrill, 2008; Lewig et al., 2010). The parents in
Lewig et al.s study also perceived that schools and police encouraged children to


55
disobey and challenge parental authority and associated meetings at school as
disciplinary measures resulting from their childrens bad behavior. Insufficient discipline
in school was also associated with lack of academic rigor by some parents from Somalia
(Birman, Trickett, & Bacchus, 2001).
Two studies collected counterstories from refugee parents about schools and
provide useful insights into the educational needs of their children. The youngest group
of refugee children studied in the literature researched was from a Head Start program,
which accepted children from birth to five years of age. Four African refugee mothers
from different countries and two Head Start teachers were interviewed (Tadesse, 2014;
Tadesse, Hoot, & Watson-Thompson, 2009). The mothers felt that their children were
assessed, misinterpreted, and stereotyped because of their cultural styles of talking,
responding, and turn-taking. Teachers in that study however felt unequipped and unable
to differentiate assessments based on school policies. The mothers suggested hiring
African aides to liaise and bridge cultural gaps and to increase communication between
school and home. The importance of the cultural liaison was also reiterated by McBrien
(2011), whose study evaluated a program that supported refugee families from Somalia,
Iran, and Vietnam to increase their participation in their childrens education. The
liaisons in the program were an invaluable part of the refugee families and helped not
only with school matters but also with other resettlement processes. Unfortunately, this
type of service was not widely available in schools and was a strain on budgets.
Some of the findings in these studies from different Western countries indicated
patterns regarding parental involvement that should be taken into consideration to
increase their access to schools and teachers. The most important finding was that though


56
parents may not verbally indicate or physically be present in schools, they are genuinely
interested in their childrens education and trust teachers to do their best. They also felt
that they are not heard and were dismissed as being indifferent due to stereotypes and
prejudices (McBrien, 2011).
Most of these studies included voices from a small number of participants, two to
forty, from a single ethnic group (Roxas & Roy, 2012a, 2012b; Roy & Roxas, 2011b,
2011c; Tadesse, Hoot & Watson-Thompson, 2009; Walker-Dalhouse & Dalhouse, 2009)
and only two authors, Kanu (2008) and MacNevin (2012), addressed qualitative
methodology issues related to credibility, trustworthiness or generalizability. Two studies
used a quantitative design (Trickett & Birman, 2005; Windle & Miller, 2012); Trickett
and Birman (2005) quantified the levels of acculturation and assimilation of 110 Russian
refugee students and related these levels to academic outcomes while Windle and Miller
(2012) used descriptive statistics to study teaching strategies. Hatoss, ONeill and
Eacersall, (2012) used a mixed methods design to investigate linguistic and educational
socialization of Sudanese students. Focus groups, interviews, and observations were the
main tools used by researchers in most studies.
Implications for the Dissertation
The literature reviewed in the above sections uncovered two important findings
for my dissertation. A majoritarian story emerged about refugee students that helped
understand how this population was represented publicly and in schools. To counter
dominant narratives about marginalized populations it is important to first understand
what it is and how it has evolved. Furthermore, literature from the West has consistently


57
indicated that refugees are first and foremost classified as ELLs without taking into
consideration other aspects of their historical and social contexts.
Majoritarian Stories
Refugees are overwhelmingly portrayed as victims on the one hand (Elliott &
Segal, 2012; Ferfolja & Vickers, 2010; Harrell-Bond, 1999; McBrien, 2005) and as
deviant subjects at risk of terrorism, criminality or welfare dependency (Sidhu &
Christie, 2007, p. 12) on the other, which made their public locations and representations
complex and sometimes contradictory. Some of the majoritarian narrative about refugees
frequently used pejorative terms such as illegals (Clyne, 2003), terrorists (Pickering,
2001), queue jumpers (Gelber, 2003), recipients of aid (Harrell-Bond, 1999), and
burdensome and threatening (Gitlin et al., 2003; Klocker, 2004). However, largely
vilified as the Other in dominant narratives, this population was all but invisible when it
came to education policy and structures (Sidhu & Taylor, 2007). In the Australian
Department of Education policy, refugees were clustered or buried with English
Language Learners, newly arrived migrants, and students from non-English-speaking
backgrounds (Sidhu & Taylor, 2007) while on the website of the U.S. Department of
Education, a search for refugee related documents yielded only links to school districts
around the nation and the facts or information sheets they have created for their staff
(Ed.gov search results, 2014).
The majoritarian story about refugees in public representation is that of victims
and welfare, while from an education policy perspective the majoritarian story is marked
by absencethere is no majoritarian policy rhetoric about this population and therefore it
is rendered invisible. Furthermore, the Department of Education groups refugees with


58
English language learners, which implies that although their language needs are
recognized in policy, other aspects associated with significantly interrupted schooling,
low literacy, older and adult students, and mental trauma are not acknowledged. This
practice of ignoring and marginalizing refugees in policy frameworks places them at a
significant disadvantage in terms of federal responsibility towards equitable funding
(Christie & Sidhu, 1996; Sidhu & Taylor, 2007). If a group is ignored by policy makers
or mixed with other disadvantaged groups such as migrant students or language learners
then government agencies do not have to create specific or specialized systems and
funding to educate refugee students. In this context, refugees will compete with MLLs for
education funding and will also be essentialized as language learners similar to other
immigrant and multilingual students.
Several researchers (Christie & Sidhu, 2002; Ferfolja, 2009; Kanu, 2008;
McBrien, 2005; Sidhu & Taylor, 2007; Rutter, 2006) discussed the need to create a
portrait about refugee students that took into consideration their unique histories and
journeys and Christie and Sidhu (2004) argued that it was difficult for schools and
teachers to find countemarratives amid the negative or invisible portrayals of this
population. From a social justice perspective, countering the invisibility of refugees using
their narratives is important and research reinforces the need to position them not as
powerless victims but as human beings with agency who carry an innate knowledge
about what is best for them (Homstein, 2010).
Refugees as English Language Learners
Although most research grouped refugees together with immigrants and suggested
that they have similar motivations and characteristics (Cheng, 1998; Delgado-Gaitan,


59
1994; Portes & Rumbaut, 2001; Rong & Preissle, 1998), it is necessary to separate
refugees, as their needs and outcomes vary vastly from immigrants. Ferfolja (2009) stated
that Western school cultures and systems are created to address the child-student and this
placed limitations on how schools could address the growing diversity among MLLs and
called for new and more relevant policies that dealt with new student identities, new
economies and workplaces, new technologies, diverse communities and complex
cultures (Christie & Sidhu, 2002, p. 9).
There is a strong correlation between alienation and insufficient English-language
skills (Nicassio, 1983; Oikonomidoy, 2010), and although students viewed English
language acquisition to be the most important factor in their future success (Dooley &
Thangaperumal, 2011; Harris, 2011; Hatoss, ONeil, & Eacersall, 2012; Kanu, 2008;
Mosselson, 2007) more than half found it to be the hardest skill to acquire (Pryor, 2001).
Refugee students like other multilingual learners became competent in spoken English
but lagged considerably in academic English (Allen, 2002; Cheng, 1998) and as a result
get tracked into special education or low-level classes (Hurley et al., 2013; Lester &
Anders, 2014; Suarez-Orozco, 1989; Trueba et al., 1990). However, fluency in English,
viewed as a symbol of belonging to the new culture, was usually accompanied by a loss
of native language use, fluency, and development thus increasing cultural dissonance
(Olsen, 2000).
Often research literature on MLLs views all language learners as one group that
includes refugees but there is a need to separate forced migrants from others to explore
the differences in motivation and acculturation. Using Ogbus (1982) classification of
immigrants, refugees are considered to be involuntary immigrants (Ogbu & Simons,


60
1998) whose acculturation to the host country is more difficult and oppositional than that
of voluntary immigrants. By classifying refugees solely as MLLs, the education system
effectively ignores their other significant learning assets and needs; furthermore, the
majoritarian narrative in the U.S. conflates limited proficiency in English with limited
intelligence and MLLs are often academically and socially isolated from other students
until they learn enough English to be mainstreamed (Callahan, 2013). This practice of
segregating MLLs ignores socioemotional needs of refugees and leaves the English
language or homeroom teachers to deal with mental health, cultural, social, and
emotional issues in addition to low literacy. Improving access to learning by recognizing
and building on the lived experiences of refugee students will require reframing
education policies that support an additive approach that does not require initial academic
and social isolation of MLLs (Callahan, 2013).
Gaps and Future Directions
There were four distinct perspectives about refugees and education in the
literature reviewed. Firstly, researchers and academics used conceptual studies to
demonstrate various ways in which Western policy and public schools fail and hinder
refugees from reaching their potential. The second perspective was that of teachers who
overall felt unequipped and lacked support to work with this population of students. The
third perspective was that of refugee parents who overall viewed schools as being better
than what they ever had in their home countries and a place where their children could
learn to achieve the American dream. The fourth perspective was that of the students.
This fourth perspective is of particular interest because literature reveals that there is a
gap in the narrative from adolescent refugee students, especially from countries with the


61
largest number of refugees in this decade Burma, Bhutan, and Iraq. Researchers need to
ask this group of students how they adapt and how schools can help them achieve their
goals. The other gap is the absence of ongoing and focused discussions between all
stakeholdersadministrators, teachers, students, parents, and families about school
expectations and ways in which schools and families can work together to achieve
common goals.
Conclusion
Only one study by Roxas (2011c) discussed refugee teaching and learning from
an asset-based perspective, where the teacher and refugee students found culturally
responsive strategies and activities to build a classroom community that nurtured success
and care. There is a plethora of research and books that inform people about things that
are wrong with our schools, and what does not work, and the inability to make changes
due to systemic and political constraints. However, there is a need to focus research on
strategies and policies that will work and positively affect student outcomes and one of
the ways to do so is to understand the perspective of the students. Learning about their
goals, perceptions, and future plans would help schools and districts in creating policies
and refugee focused programs that respond to needs as expressed by refugees. At the
same time it is important to counter the dominant deficit narrative about refugees that
represents them as victims or charitable cases. Deviating from a traditional model where
education is imposed in one-size-fits all formula toward a backwards design model will
help refugee students to find hope and strength in their educational journeys and
eventually help them build successful and healthy lives in their adopted countries. Nieto


62
(1994) asserts that one way to change school policies and practices is to listen to
students views about them and this dissertation took her up on it.


63
CHAPTER III
METHODOLOGY
The goal of this qualitative study was to understand the educational experiences
and perceptions of adolescent refugee students. The research questions stated below were
grounded in critical race theory and postcolonial theory:
1. What are the educational experiences of adolescent refugee students after being
resettled in the United States?
2. How do adolescent refugee students conceptualize and perceive schooling,
education, and success and how do they plan to achieve their career goals?
3. In what ways do education practices, systems, structures, and institutions impact
the perceptions and experiences of adolescent refugee students?
Research Design
This qualitative research study was an exploratory multiple case study (Stake,
2006; Yin, 2003). Stake stated that the principle interest in a multiple case study was the
common phenomenon exhibited in the cases, which meant that all cases needed to have
experienced the same phenomenon, that of being a refugee student herein. He further
stated that each case as well as the collection of cases must be vigorously understood,
individually and collectively, before conclusions are drawn. Yin (2003) defined case
study as an empirical inquiry that investigated a contemporary phenomenon within its
real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context were
not clearly evident. According to Yin, case study methods are used when the researcher
wants to cover the contextual conditions as they are believed to be highly relevant to the
study.


64
This study gathered data from nine adolescent refugee students using classroom
observations, semi-structured interviews, and other artifacts such as essays, classroom,
and homework assignments. The goal of this case study, bounded by one academic year
and situated at two high schools, was to explore, understand, and add to the knowledge
base of a complex phenomenon (Newman, Ridenour, Newman,& DeMarco, 2003) of the
schooling, educational experiences, and perceptions of late-arrival refugee students, or as
those refugees who arrived during their high-school or late-adolescence years into the
United States, between the ages of 14 and 21. Case study as a research method guided the
research design, data collection techniques, and data analysis of this dissertation (Yin,
2003).
Research Objective
The objective for this study was to explore a contemporary phenomenon within a
real-life context (Yin, 2003) and while the presence of refugee students in U.S. public
schools was not a new phenomenon, the diversity in ethnic origin was recent as compared
to that of earlier waves of refugees from Europe and Russia (Mosselson, 2007; Trickett &
Birman, 2005). The earlier refugees tended to be White, mostly Christian, and from
developed countries while the more recent influx of refugees tended to be largely from
Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (Elliott & Sehgal, 2012). Unlike European and Russian
refugees, research suggested that newer refugees had difficulty in blending with the
general population due to their darker skin and visible religious symbols, such as the
hijab, long skirts, and fasting during Ramadan (McBrien, 2005; Roy & Roxas, 2011).
Linguistically, many refugee students spoke little or no English, and several had large


65
gaps in their formal education due to time spent in flight and in refugee camps (DeCapua
& Marshall, 2010, 2011).
Participants
Stake (2006) stated that to gain optimum benefits of a multiple case study the
number of cases selected should be between four and ten. If the number of cases are less
than four then data may not reveal enough information about the phenomenon or
situations while too many cases provided more uniqueness of interactivity than can be
understood. Stake (2006) provided three main criteria for selecting cases based on a)
relevance of case to phenomenon, b) diversity of cases across contexts, and c) the ability
of each case to provide good opportunities to learn about the complexity and contexts.
Recruitment of participants for this study was a gradual process that started with
getting to know potential participants. I started to volunteer in two high schools in
November 2013 in an attempt to understand the schools cultures and populations.
Gaining access to participants involved interactions with formal and informal gatekeepers
(Seidman, 2006) and the process was slow and bureaucratic. Permission to volunteer in
each high school was preceded by a background check carried out by the administration
of each high school. On passing the background check, connections were made with the
principal and teachers of each school. At Salamat High School1,1 volunteered in two
separate English Language Development classrooms with different groups of students
with varying levels of English language competencies and at Alafia High School
permission was granted to volunteer in one Social Studies classroom with freshmen and
Barnes of cities, refugee camps, schools, and persons have been changed to
protect the identities of the participants; only names of countries have been retained to
facilitate understanding of geographical migrations.


66
sophomores. Approval from three classroom teachers at the two schools for volunteering
was vital as the intrusion in their classrooms needed to not only be tolerated but also
welcomed. Furthermore, to make the relationship reciprocal, the teachers and students
needed to be able to benefit from my experiences and presence in their classes.
Since the research goal was to study the phenomenon in its real-life context it was
important to understand the population, demographics, philosophies, and cultures of the
two high schools. Volunteering in classrooms that had refugee students allowed the
students to become familiar with seeing and including me in their discussions. The
importance of getting to know the participants as individual human beings prior to
collecting data cannot be overemphasized. After several months of getting to know each
other, all eligible students were invited to participate in my study. Participants had to
meet two criteria to be eligible. Firstly, they should have arrived in the U.S. within five
years prior to data collection, in or after 2009, and secondly, they should have been
enrolled in high school grades 9, 10, 11 or 12. Since the largest number of incoming
refugees to the U.S. in 2012 was from Burma, Bhutan, Burundi, and Iraq (Martin &
Yankay, 2013), efforts were made to have these nations represented in the sample.
Sampling
A convenience purposive sample scheme was used, where convenience meant
choosing settings, groups and/or individuals that are conveniently available and willing
to participate in the study (Onwuegbuzie & Collins, 2007, p. 286), and purposive meant
that the research was focused specifically on late arrival adolescent refugee students from
Burma, Bhutan, Burundi, and Iraq as there was scant information available in education
research about refugee students from these countries. Each case met two conditions; the


67
participant had be a refugee and enrolled in high school at the time of data collection.
Efforts were made to select a minimum of four cases as recommended by Stake (2006)
and eventually five more cases were added until data saturation was reached. Saturation
in purposive sampling occurred when the addition of more cases did not result in new
information that could be used in theme development (Morse, 1995).
An important factor that was taken into consideration was the level of English
spoken and understood by the participants. Participants who were able to express
themselves in any languages spoken by me, English, French, Hindi, Marathi, or Gujarati
were selected to avoid the intermediary of interpreters. Having an interpreter present
during the interview process would have affected the quality and depth of conversation
and could possibly have inhibited the participants from expressing their opinions.
Another justification for a higher proficiency in English was that students who had had
the time to learn English well enough to participate in this research would also have been
here long enough to provide valuable information and insights on their schooling
experiences. While most participants in the study were able to communicate in English
during the interviews, three participants used a combination of Hindi and English and one
asked for a Burmese interpreter to be present.
The sample for the study consisted of nine refugee students and was divided into
three ethnic groups as follows.
Bhutanese: three participants were born in Nepali refugee camps; their parents
had fled from Bhutan.
Burmese: three participants were born in Burma and two were bom in Thailand;
all parents had fled from Burma.


68
Eritrean: one participant was born in Sudan of Eritrean parents and self identified
as Eritrean.
Although only recently arrived refugees, in 2009 or later, were to be included in the
sample, two participants who had arrived in 2007 were included in the study because of
their desire to participate as well as the fact that they were both Burmese, an ethnicity
about which very little is documented in education research.
Data Collection
Case studies are rich and thick in description and are grounded in deep and varied
sources of information (Hancock & Algozzine, 2006), including, but not limited to,
quotes from participants, anecdotes, excerpts from interviews, and other sources that can
create mental images of the phenomenon being studied. For multiple case study design,
Yin (2003) has suggested that researchers use the logic of replication, where the
procedure for data collection is repeated for each case.
The sources of data for this study were semi-structured interviews, classroom
observations, artifacts, researchers reflection journal, and field notes. On receiving
formal approval for the study from the universitys and the school districts institutional
review boards, a journal of reflection and field notes were maintained following each
classroom and home visit. This journal served the purpose of reflection, critique, self-
analysis, and other notes that were relevant to the study; field notes were used to record
classroom participation and observation data about the participants. Three of the
participants agreed to share their classroom and homework assignments but unfortunately
they were not relevant to the study and were excluded from the analysis. After all the
required permissions were received, semi-structured interviews and follow-up interviews


69
took place towards the end of the academic year from June 2014 through August 2014.
Each participant was interviewed at least once for at least one hour each and seven
participants were contacted for one or multiple follow-up interviews. The follow-up
interview was mainly to confirm facts and ask a few more questions that arose after the
initial interviews were transcribed. The interview protocol (Appendix A) was created
using the research questions and the theoretical framework of this study and was used to
document the unusual and ordinary experiences of the participants (Stake, 2006) using
case level matrices (Appendix B) and cross-case meta matrices (Appendix C). Each
participant was also asked to complete a demographic survey (Appendix A). Although
the demographic survey was created in English the participants answered the questions
orally and I created a table with the demographic information from all participants.
Information from the demographic survey offered an overview of the sample and a brief
history of their journeys from birth to resettlement in the United States as shown below in
Table 1. All names of persons, schools, and cities have been changed to protect the
identity of participants. Only the names of the countries have been retained to help
readers understand the geographical location and provenance of participants.
As seen in Table 1 below, all but two students (n=7) had some prior formal
schooling before coming to the U.S. either in a refugee camp school (n=6) or a local
religious school (n=l). Two Burmese female participants, Amina and Shwe, had no
access to any school due to financial and immigration constraints; however, both had
been home schooled by family members until their arrival in Liberty Town, USA at the
age of 20 and 8 respectively. The participants from Bhutan (n=3) had all studied in a
school located inside Dori refugee camp in Nepal, where the medium of instruction was


70
English and Nepali was taught as a second language while the participant from Sudan
(n=l) had studied in Arabic with English as a second language. The participants from
Burma (n=3) had studied in schools inside refugee camps in Thailand where the medium
of instruction was Burmese, Karen, Karenni, or English. One of the home schooled
participants was taught in Hindi, Burmese, and English by her mother and the other in
Burmese and Mon languages.
Table 1: Demographic Characteristics of Participants
Pseudonym, Gender and Ethnicity Languages Spoken Prior Education Grade/Age on arrival in Liberty Town Grade/Age at time of data collection (June-August 2014)
Anil, male, Bhutanese Nepali, English Some Dzhongkha, Hindi In Dori refugee camp, Nepal until 10th grade Arrived in 2012 at age 20. Graduated High School from Salamat High School 2014.
Jeevan, male, Bhutanese Nepali, English Some Dzhongkha, Hindi In Dori refugee camp, Nepal until 10th grade Arrived in 2011 at age 18. Graduated High School from Salamat High School 2014.
Mihir, male, Bhutanese Nepali, Hindi, English Some Sanskrit, Dzongkha In Dori refugee camp, Nepal until 7th grade Arrived in 2009 at age 14. Entered 9th grade in neighborhood Graduated High School from Salamat High School 2014.
high school;
transferred to
another
neighborhood
high school for
Grade 11.


71
Pseudonym, Gender and Ethnicity Languages Spoken Prior Education Grade/Age on arrival in Liberty Town Grade/Age at time of data collection (June-August 2014)
Khin, male, Burmese Burmese, Karen, English 0-5 years of age in Burma-no schooling. 5-16 years of age in Thailand and completed high school. Arrived in 2012 at age 17 and enrolled at Salamat High School. Senior at Salamat High School.
Myine, female, Burmese Burmese, Karenni, English In Thailand until Middle School Arrived in 2009 at age 14. Entered 11th grade in neighborhood high school Senior at Salamat High School.
Amina, female, Burmese Hindi, Burmese, English No formal schooling and was homeschooled by mother. Arrived in 2012 at age 20. Senior at Salamat High School.
Shwe, female, Burmese Karen, Burmese, Mon, English 0-8 years of age in Burma; some homeschooling. Arrived in 2007 at age 9. Entered 3 rd grade in neighborhood elementary school. Sophomore at Alafia High School.
Htway, female, Burmese Poe Karen, Karen, Burmese, English In Thailand until 3rd grade. Entered 5th grade in neighborhood elementary school. Sophomore at Alafia High School.
Rashid, male, Eritrean Tigriniya, Tigray, Bilen, Arabic, Hausa, English Islamic school in Sudan until 11th grade. Arrived in 2011 at age 17. Senior at Salamat High School.


72
Data were collected at two high schools within the same school district and a little
background information about the schools would help the reader to better understand the
context of the study. Salamat High School was created to empower new immigrants,
English language learners, and academically underserved students with the educational
tools and support to maximize their potential and live the American dream. (Salamat
High School website, 2014). Salamat High School also offered day and evening classes
and staff and teachers had certifications and training that prepared them to teach
adolescent multilingual learners (Salamat High School website, 2014). Alafia High
School was more traditional in its set up in terms of buildings, curriculum, and activities
where all students wore uniforms and class sizes varied from 20 to 30 students. Table 2
below shows a comparison of the schools based on their student demographics and
enrollment.
Table 2: Comparison Table of Salamat and Alafia High Schools
Variable Salamat High School Alafia High School
Participants enrolled Anil, Jeevan, Mihir, Myine, Amina, Khin, Rashid Shwe, Htway
Average distance from participants homes 1 mile 0.8 mile
Grades offered 9-12 6-12
Total number of students 515 1074
Students qualifying for free and reduced lunch 63% 95%
English Language Learners Almost 100% 70%
Refugee students Data not available 10%
Hispanic students 79% 77%


73
Variable Salamat High School Alafia High School
Black 8% 8%
Asian American 11% 6%
White 2% 5%
Male 46% 52%
Female 54% 48%
Students over 18 years of age 69% NA
Note. Demographic data in this table is reported from various websites that provide
details about schools around the State and the U.S. (Great Schools, 2014; School Digger
2014; State Department of Education, 2014; Salamat High School website, 2014 & Alafia
High School website, 2014).
Data Analysis
A multiple case study report could include individual case reports as well as
cross-case analysis (Stake, 2006). Data analysis for this study was started by transcribing
all interviews verbatim, taking care to protect all identities by assigning pseudonyms to
participants, families, schools, and cities. Each type of data (interviews, artifacts,
observations) were analyzed using at least two types of techniques to triangulate the
results. Leech and Onwuegbuzie (2008) have stated that utilizing multiple types of
analyses not only alleviated potential researcher bias but also helped researchers to see
data from multiple viewpoints.
Single Case Study Analysis
Each individual case was analyzed using three techniques, constant comparison
analysis (Glaser & Strauss, 1967), classical content analysis (Berelson, 1952), and versus
coding (Saldana, 2013), described in the following paragraph. The entire interview
transcript of a single participant was read several times prior to analysis. I contacted


74
seven participants and read and translated sections of their interviews that needed
clarification. This was followed by a constant comparison analysis (Glaser & Strauss,
1967), which is a technique used to generate a set of themes (Leech & Onwuegbuzie,
2008). Strauss and Corbin (1998) outlined three steps for conducting constant comparison
analysis. The first step or open coding was where the data were coded into smaller
chunks and a code was designated to each chunk; the next step was axial coding where
codes were grouped into similar categories and the last step, known as selective coding,
was where I used the codes and data segments to create a theory.
The reliability of the coding scheme was strengthened at the onset of the process
by asking a colleague to code two transcripts with me, which was 22% of the total data
collected. The colleague, also a qualitative researcher, and I discussed and negotiated
agreements and disagreements about the codes until a consensus was reached. This
process, known as interrater reliability, evaluated the degree of agreement of two
observers of the same attributes or themes (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009).
Following constant comparison analysis, the classical content analysis technique
was conducted. Berelson (1952) defined classical content analysis as a research technique
for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of manifest content of
communication. Holsti (1968) defined it as a technique for making inferences by
systematically and objectively identifying specified characteristics of messages while
Kerlinger (1986) defined it as a method of studying and analyzing communication in a
systematic, objective, and quantitative manner for the purpose of measuring variables. In
the current study, classical content analysis was used to determine the frequency of codes
generated and to learn which codes occurred more or less frequently in the data. Once the


75
codes were generated using constant comparison analysis, they were counted and the
frequency for each code was noted. The frequencies for each code helped in assessing
what aspects of schooling emerged as most or least important to the participants.
Based on the results of constant comparison and classical content analysis coding,
a third technique, known as versus coding (Saldana, 2013), was conducted to analyze
each case. Saldana (2013) stated that versus coding is useful in instances where
individuals were frequently in conflict within groups or systems and this technique
helped to identify the elements that were in direct conflict with each other. Furthermore,
Saldana (2013) also recommended versus coding for research that used a critical
perspective, as was done in this study. The versus coding technique in each case was used
to understand the tension that existed in participants lives as they were torn between
commitments to school, college, family, work, and community. After each single case
was analyzed individually using three techniques, the data were readied for cross-case
analysis. The purpose of this study was not to present any one single case as exemplary
or critical but to discover themes that were seen across cases and could lead to theory
development. However, each single case was unique and is presented in the form of an
abbreviated vignette (Yin, 1984) in the next chapter.
Cross-case Analysis
Cross-case analysis was a method that facilitated the comparison of
commonalities and differences in the events, activities, and processes that were the units
of analyses in single case studies (Khan & VanWynsberghe, 2008). Besides enhancing
generalizability to other contexts, engaging in cross-case analysis also deepened the
understanding of each case (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014). In this study, cross-case


76
analysis revealed relationships between discrete cases, helped refine and develop
concepts, and built or tested theory (Eckstein, 2002; Ragin, 1997). Furthermore, cross-
case analysis allowed me to compare nine cases from two schools and three different
ethnic groups to gather critical evidence that moved the data from codes and themes to
findings and implications (Appendix D).
Cross-case analyses could be approached in two different ways; variable oriented
or case oriented (Ragin, 1997). In variable-oriented research, variables and their
interrelationships with each other took center stage and less case-to-case comparison was
done (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014) while in a case-oriented approach, the case
was considered as a whole entity (Ragin, 1997). Configurations, associations, causes and
effects within the case are studied first and then a comparative analysis of all the cases in
the study is carried out (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014). Analysis of data in this
study used a combination of variable and case oriented approaches in the cross-case
analysis.
Miles, Huberman, and Saldana (2014) stated that it was desirable to combine case
and variable oriented approaches and suggested a strategy called stacking comparable
cases (p. 103). Using this strategy, each case was coded using a standard set of variables
or themes and then matrices and other displays were used to analyze each case in depth
(Appendices B & C). After each case was deeply analyzed and understood by me, the
case-level displays were stacked in a meta-matrix, which then permitted systematic
comparison or condensation. Several meta-matrices (Appendix B) displayed the general
data that emerged from single case analyses and allowed data from all cases to be
partitioned or clustered (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014). Partitioning codes meant


77
breaking a theme into smaller parts or components while clustering meant grouping codes
or themes that had similar characteristics as a step towards abstraction when particular
codes are subsumed into more general themes (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014). As
data were partitioned and clustered according to the codes and themes that emerged from
the single case analyses, a narrative appeared across each column and row of the meta-
matrix. Patterns, contrasts, and similarities were noted for further analysis using content-
analytic and contrast tables (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014). A content-analytic
table was a matrix display that gathered all related and pertinent data from multiple cases
into a single form for analysis while a contrast table brought together extremes,
exemplars and outliers from all cases into one table.
The techniques described above were used with the main objective of generating
meaning from data and moving me from analysis to drawing conclusions. Some of the
strategies suggested by Miles, Huberman, & Saldana (2014) that allowed for abstraction
in this study were noting patterns and themes, making contrasts and comparisons, noting
relations between themes, building a logical chain of evidence, and making conceptual or
theoretical coherence.
Analysis of Artifacts
Classroom observations of participants were written down in the form of field
notes and analyzed using constant comparative analysis. The words were chunked and
coded and the codes were organized into themes. Observations were also analyzed using
manifest content analysis (Berelson, 1952 as cited in Leech & Onwuegbuzie, 2008)
where the observable behaviors, responses, participation, and communication with peers
and teachers were written down and coded using themes to examine participants


78
classroom communication. The field notes and reflection journal following classroom
and home visits helped me understand school and home cultures as well as personalities
of the participants; moreover, the notes provided an insight into how the participants were
viewed by peers and teachers.
Triangulation
Teddlie and Tashakkori (2009) have defined triangulation as the combination and
comparison of multiple data sources, data collection and analysis procedures, research
methods, and inferences that occurred at the end of a study. Triangulation techniques for
this study involved multiple sources of data collection aimed at corroborating the same
phenomenon (Yin, 2003) as illustrated below:
Figure 2: Data Triangulation
Triangulation, made possible by using multiple methods of data collection,
provided stronger corroboration and substantiation of constructs (Eisenhardt, 1989).
Member checks were another strategy that was used to triangulate data in this study. If
the power of interpretation and representation rested solely with me without input from


79
participants and community then the accuracy and ethics of the findings would be
questionable (Mertens & Hesse-Biber, 2012). I was unable to contact all nine participants
for member checks but was able to review some of the assertions and representations
with four participants before finalizing findings. Member checks served not only to
triangulate data but also strengthened the credibility of the study.
Trustworthiness
Lincoln and Guba (1985) defined trustworthiness as the extent to which an
inquirer could persuade audiences that the findings deserved attention. Prolonged
engagement, persistent observation, triangulation, member checks, thick description, and
reflection notes were some of the strategies that were undertaken to strengthen
trustworthiness and credibility of this study (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009). I had the
opportunity to get to know the participants as human beings and students over the course
of six months of weekly visits to their classrooms prior to recruitment. This process not
only helped in identifying potential cases but also in building a relationship based on
mutual respect and trust. The following two chapters discuss the findings from the data
collected and its implications for schools that teach and learn with refugees.


80
CHAPTER IV
FINDINGS
During the process of data collection and analysis I was often invited into
participants homes, which afforded me a glimpse into their lives. I captured these
experiences through extensive field notes that documented my reflections and
impressions following each home visit and interview or meeting. Slowly, a picture of the
participants lives, in the U.S. and before, emerged. This background information is vital
in understanding how the research participants thought of schooling and its purposes once
in the U.S. After providing some contextual information about the participants families,
jobs and homes the subsequent sections of this chapter presents brief vignettes about each
single case and later addresses each of the three research questions that guided this study.
Background Information and Portraits of Participants Lives
Life as Refugees
The Bhutanese participants Anil, Jeevan and Mihir all were born and grew up in
Dori refugee camp, Nepal, where they lived in houses with small garden patches to grow
food. The houses as described by Anil were a single house, just small, who provide I
dont know, government provide, government make very small house and each family
has one house. I think it was nice, very nice. We all lived next to each other (Interview,
June 17, 2014). Their school was located within walking distance of their homes and
school days lasted from 8 am to 4 pm. School supplies, books, and uniforms were
provided by refugee agencies such as Caritas Internationalis and UNHCR until 10th
grade. Although all content was taught in English, none of the participants had had any
practice speaking English. Mihir explained:


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All subjects were taught in English, except for Nepali as language. Science, Math,
Social Studies all in English. We spoke only Nepali but studied in English. Read
and write in English and speak in Nepali. The teacher read in English and
explained in Nepali. (Interview, July 13, 2014).
In order to access higher education, the students from Dori camp had to enroll at a
university outside the refugee camp and find ways to pay for their degrees, but until high
school graduation, which took place in 10th grade, their lives unfolded within the confines
of the refugee camp with minimal contact with other Nepali citizens outside the camp.
Mihir described the isolation as, no no contact. Only if we went out to buy milk or
something (Interview, July 13, 2014). Jeevan added:
All my teachers were Bhutanese, not Nepali. We had some contact with local
Nepalis, not a lot. All the kids were Bhutanese, except maybe one or two kids
from outside. Not much contact with Nepalis, we used to say hello hello thats all.
(Interview, June 8, 2014).
This isolation indicated that the participants had in some ways lived a life that was
marginalized by the dominant population of Nepal and unfolded on the fringes of its
society. They were protected and segregated by boundaries from local Nepali citizens,
and subsidized by humanitarian aid that provided free food, shelter, and education. When
they were not in school, Anil and Jeevan spent time either working, cooking, gardening
or looking after domestic animals while Mihir stated that, I didnt do anything in Nepal,
just eat and go to school and relax (Interview, July 13, 2014) and Jeevan declared, I
didnt do anything at home either. Not even homework. I used to go to play soccer, ate
dinner, go to bed, get up go to school. Life of a child (Interview, June 8, 2014). All three
stated that they did not worry about food as their families received a ration of staples
every month from aid agencies. Jeevan and Anil worked when they turned 13 years old


82
but only on weekends or during school holidays. Anil summed up his life in Dori as, Its
like kind of happy (Interview, June 17, 2014).
Unfortunately, the prior education experiences of the Burmese participants, Khin
and Myine, were not as vividly described as both had limited English language speaking
skills; Khin declined to have an interpreter present during the interview and although one
was present at Myines interview she did not offer details about her life in the refugee
camp. Shwe and Htway entered the U.S. in 4th and 5th grade respectively and stated that
they had almost no memories of living outside the U.S. and were unable to provide a
description of their routines and schooling before coming to the U.S. Khin and Myine,
who both entered the U.S. in their teens, shared that their schools were run by Catholic
charities in Thai refugee camps and books and supplies were provided free of charge.
Myine said that every weekend all students had to attend religious services, if we dont
go to church every Sunday then the next day they beat us. All children were Christian
(Interview, July 3, 2014). Being the oldest female child in the house Myine also had to
take care of the household chores, which she described as, go into the jungle, chop
wood, get food for the pigs (Interview, July 3, 2014).
Rashid, who grew up in Sudan, had vivid memories and offered great details of
his school and family life there. He attended a private Islamic school until 11th grade and
then had to drop out for lack of finances as the high school graduation examination fees
were unaffordable for his family. In Sudan, Rashid attended an Islamic school by day and
sold vegetables from their familys farm by the roadside in the evenings. He also looked
after the sheep, cows, goats, chickens, and donkeys (Interview, June 13, 2014). In
contrast to all other participants, Amina, whose family had fled from Burma to Malaysia,


83
had very few opportunities to study, work or even step outside her home for fear of being
deported. Aminas mother had taught her to read and write at home and she spent most of
her time cooking and cleaning for the family.
Welcome to Liberty Town, USA
On arrival in Liberty Town, most refugees in the study were allotted housing in a
pre-determined neighborhood off of two major streets. This neighborhood had one of the
highest crime rates in the city with robbery, theft, prostitution, and public disorder (Crime
Statistics & Maps, 2014) being the most frequent. The main street was populated with
cheap motels, taquerias, and marijuana shops and behind it there were several blocks of
four and five storied apartment buildings, where one single building could house several
dozen families at a time. The apartments were allocated free of charge to the participants
families for the first few months and then an average monthly rent of $750 was due. All
the apartments that I visited (n=5) ranged from one to two small bedroom units and
sheltered families ranging from four to nine members. Amid the housing complexes were
two dirt lots where some families rented small garden plots and grew flowers and
vegetables, an elementary school, and a childrens park. During several visits, I observed
children playing on the streets, riding bicycles or rushing towards a big yellow school bus
that distributed free bagged lunches over the summer. At other times, I observed a bus
that transported several workers to a meat packing plant an hour and a half away from
Liberty Town. The bus usually left this neighborhood around 1:30 pm in the afternoons
and was filled with young and old refugees, some dressed traditionally, all carrying lunch
pails. Police and emergency vehicle sirens seemed to be omnipresent during all times
while residents went about their day unfazed by their presence.


84
Early in the morning, the streets of this neighborhood were busy with children
walking to school, some in uniforms, or senior citizens sitting in the sun, smoking, and
chatting. The older children stopped at a convenience store to buy food and drinks and
some continued to the public transport bus stop. There were a handful of ethnic food
stores in the vicinity that specifically advertised wares such as Karen food, Nepali or
Burmese groceries, and halal meat. If one were to drive through this neighborhood
without knowing its history, one would write it off as a very low-income part of the town
full of Black and Brown immigrants in traditional clothes. However, it was these small,
dark, and old apartments that some refugees called home for the first time in decades,
where they created dreams or lamented their exodus and lives of the young students in
the study were in some ways permanently shaped by systems and structures that they
hardly knew existed, let alone navigated.
These portraits of participants lives before coming to the U.S. and in Liberty
Town were invaluable in understanding their educational experiences and aspirations at
the time of data collection. Participants perspectives on success, education, and careers
were undeniably influenced by their past histories spent in refugee camps or in transit
between two countries. In some ways arrival in the U.S. marked an end to transition as all
nine participants and their families had legal status as U.S. permanent residents (n=7) or
citizens (n=2) and had a right to remain in the country indefinitely. This stability meant
that they had the option to create a long term plan and vision for their lives, which they
did not have earlier.
The background information and time spent with the participants and their
families helped me better understand their routines, priorities, and constraints that would


85
shape their futures in terms of education and careers. Given the CRT and Postcolonial
framework of this study, all data were analyzed at two levels; firstly, at an informational
level to create detailed portraits of lived experiences and secondly, as a cause and effect
cycle shaped by global imperialist systems and structures that invade democratic
institutions such as housing, health, and education to influence life trajectories of
refugees.
Single Case Vignettes
There are multiple ways in which case studies can be written. This study mainly
focused on the cross-case analysis where each research question was answered using
findings from across all nine cases and information about individual cases was dispersed
throughout each section (Yin, 1984). Prior to answering the research questions, nine
single case studies are presented in the form of vignettes (Yin, 1984). The information
presented in the single case vignette will help the reader understand the unique nature of
each participants story.
Anil
Background
Anil was a 22 year old Bhutanese male who was bom in a refugee camp at Nepal.
A soft spoken gentleman, Anil loved to wear clothes that were decorated with appliques
and Western style shirts. At the time of the interview Anil had been married for four
years and his wife was also a Bhutanese refugee whose family had settled on the east
coast of the U.S. Anil shared a small two bedroom apartment with wife, parents, and
younger brother Suraj. Anils wife had dropped out of high school after marriage and he
wished that she would go to school and graduate or at least take the GED.


86
As soon as I walked into his home for our first personal interview, Anil asked for
help with his community college application and I walked him through the online
registration process followed by an application for federal student assistance. Anil was
highly committed to going to college although he has not met with a counselor at his high
school or the community college even a single time. Subsequently, we went to the
community college to meet with an advisor and register for remedial classes. At the onset
of our first meeting, Anil corrected me when I asked him a question related to being a
refugeehe said that he was just an immigrant from Nepal, not a refugee.
Struggles
At the time of our interview Anil had just graduated from high school and was
working full time at a senior nursing care facility. He stated that a large part of his
struggles were related to English language skills and the reality of having to work full
time and concurrently going to school. Anil stated that his English grammar was better
than his spoken language skills and he needed to take more English classes to succeed in
college. Anil shared that he loved mathematics, economics, and accounting and he had
even taught those subjects back in Nepal; however, he found himself working in a senior
care center as he needed to support his family. When asked if nursing something he
wanted to pursue for the rest of his life and whether he liked nursing, Anil stated that he
had not stopped to ask himself these questions because he really needed the money.
Until he got a car a few months before his graduation Anil would take two public
buses to get to work and back each way. He expressed his fear of walking and waiting on
the street alone and late at night and also how tired he felt. School during the day and
work in the nights had been the pattern of his life since coming to the U.S. During the


87
course of our several meetings, Anil often stated that work defined his life in Liberty
Town and without work he would be homeless. The fear and insecurity of his life and
livelihood was a cause of continual stress. Moreover, during his time off from work and
school Anil had to help with the housework such as driving his family members to the
grocery store, laundry, medical appointments and other errands. Anils younger brother
Suraj suffered from seizures and required frequent medical treatment and monitoring
while at school or home.
Although determined to go to college, navigating the community college system
was a struggle largely due to lack of information and guidance. He had not yet ventured
on the community college campus even though it was next to his high school. He was
convinced that he needed to start there but did not know what steps needed to be taken.
Resources
Anil stated that he did not know any Bhutanese refugees that he thought were
successful and could guide him. If he had questions regarding his career he counted on
his manager at work. He said he wanted to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
like his aunt and believed that CNA work would be easier than his current job. He knew
that he would have to go to college for a few years to become a nurse and talked often
about financial constraints. His family was his biggest resource and his parents
encouraged him to go to college so that he did not have to work hard like they did in meat
packing jobs.
Anil looked back at his life in Dori refugee camp with fondness and happiness
and stated that life was easier and simpler there as the government gave them housing
and food and he did not have to work all the time. He also had time to socialize with his


88
friends and had gradually moved from construction work to teaching in a school. Anil
stated that he would like to live with his parents and wife in a house that he would own
someday and that his only wish was that Suraj should be healthy and happy.
Jeevan
Background
At the time of our first interview Jeevan was a 21 year old Bhutanese refugee
whose wife was seven months pregnant. Oldest of five children, Jeevan was the head of
his family. His parents had separated while they were living in Dori refugee camp and
since moving to Liberty Town his mother had become severely depressed. Jeevan was in
charge of all family decisions related to education, health, and finances while working
full time and going to high school. Jeevans wife, also a refugee from Bhutan, had
dropped out of high school after becoming pregnant and at the time of our interview had
no plans to go back to school. Jeevan lived with his mother, wife, and three younger
siblings in a small two bedroom apartment. During our several meetings, I was
introduced to many of his family members as well as his in-laws. At the time of our first
interview Jeevan had just graduated from high school and was actively searching for a
second job.
Struggles
As the sole provider for his family of seven, Jeevan was constantly trying to make
ends meet by working 60-70 hours a week and even then only managed to scrape by. He
shared that he was unable to meet the increasing financial demands made by various
family members and was becoming frustrated with his low wage jobs. Jeevan was also
the only person in the family who had a drivers license, which meant that he had to drive


89
everyone to all appointments including his in-laws. By virtue of being the first born with
little parental support, Jeevan was playing several roles and shouldering many
responsibilities at home. With the impending arrival of a new baby he feared that college
would become a distant dream but wanted all his siblings to go no matter what cost.
Jeevan stated that his life had been a lot harder since coming to Liberty Town,
than as a refugee in Nepal, due to the need to work constantly and continually to make
ends meet and satisfy his familys needs and demands. Jeevan mentioned the words
tension and stress several times during our meetings related to his financial situation and
the multiple directions he was pulled inhis family, work, and school. Jeevan also
expressed some anger against his father who had abandoned his mother and five children
and remarried. He was urging his mother to file for a divorce in order to force his father
to pay child support. Jeevan was deeply worried about his mothers depression and stated
that she rarely spoke and had become non-verbal; he wanted to find resources to help his
mother but did not know whom to approach. A family member had suggested that Jeevan
should file for some disability benefits for her that would bring some money into the
home. As the first born child Jeevan was worried about parenting his younger siblings
and stated that he tried to discipline them but was hardly at home to do so.
Finding different ways to earn more money was the most important goal in
Jeevans life at the time of our interview and he seemed at his wits end. He asked me to
resolve a family dilemma about whether his overtime pay should be used to send his
sister to an educational conference to another state or to buy some gold jewelry that his
wife wanted for the new baby. Jeevan confessed that he often drank alcohol to deal with
his stress and went to bed hoping that when he awoke his life would be different.


90
Jeevan missed his life in Dori and regretted coming to the U.S. to a life of poverty
and hard work. He said that there were times when he felt he was going insane with all
the worries and responsibilities and was completely alone with no help in dealing with his
problems.
Resources
Jeevan said that a large part of his mothers extended family was resettled in the
U.S. including his father. However, there was nobody he could turn to for financial or
emotional support except for his wifes family. Jeevan spoke fondly of a high school
friend, Asif, who was an African refugee and was enrolled in a college and worked part
time at the airport. Jeevan said he turned to Asif sometimes for guidance about work and
college. The transition from Dori to Liberty Town was extremely difficult for Jeevan and
he felt incapable of successfully navigating his way in the new country.
Mihir
Background
Mihir was a Bhutanese refugee who was 19 years of age at the time of our first
interview. A tall and strong young man, Mihir was full of ideas and plans for his future.
He characterized his life as being very busy and always in a rush to go somewhere else.
In the classroom when his teacher was explaining a lesson or task, Mihir would be
focused on another unrelated activity such as homework completion or book report and
seemed to be in his own little universe. While other students were laughing or chatting
with each other Mihir would be usually reading a book for another class or trying to get
help form a peer for another subject.


91
Mihir was the youngest of three sons in a family where each member worked at
least at one job. Mihirs family lived in a large two story house that they had recently
bought. When I arrived there for his interview I found the entire family was awaiting me
in the living room and was very excited to meet me. They all spoke rapidly in Hindi and
helped Mihir answer the interview questions or would remind him to mention certain
events or people.
Mihirs oldest brother was married and his wife was expecting a baby while his
younger brother was working full time and was enrolled in a community college. Mihirs
father was a Hindu priest who performed rites and rituals at the local temple and at other
peoples homes while his mother worked at a large packaging facility and her job was to
load materials on to a delivery cart all day. Mihirs grandmother was the only family
member who did not work outside the home.
Struggles
Mihir had been working full time for the last two years either at a restaurant or a
meat packing factory. According to him, the main struggle was to catch up on sleep and
keep up with his schoolwork. He regretted missing school on days when he was unable to
wake up. Mihir stated that he struggled with English reading and wished he had asked his
teachers for specific and targeted support in reading and writing. He preferred not to ask
his classmates as he did not feel comfortable with them. Mihir had a reputation for being
brusque and rude among his classmates and they worried that he would explode in anger
at them for the smallest reason. When I asked him if he was angry and why, he stated that
he tended to get angry very quickly but preferred not to fight. In order to stay out of
trouble he chose not to interact with his peers and tried to stay within his ethnic


92
community to avoid negative experiences; all his friends and mentors were Bhutanese of
Nepali origin. He preferred not to interact too much with Mexicans or Africans. During
my classroom visits he would ask me why I spent time with other people and help them
instead of helping only the Hindus and Nepalis. Mihir also rejected and resented being
labeled as a refugee and stated that he had a green card and his refugee phase was
finished.
Resources
Being the youngest child in a close knit family was one of Mihirs strongest
sources of strength. Additionally, having an older brother who was already in college was
extremely advantageous as he helped Mihir navigate the admissions and enrollment
process at the local community college.
In his quest to go to college Mihir had met with counselors and advisors at several
high schools and colleges and stated that he had many questions that needed answers and
loved meeting with counselors. Mihir dreamed of becoming a crime investigator and was
planning to join the police academy. In his free time he wanted to continue working with
his ethnic community and help them navigate life in the U.S. He knew several Bhutanese
refugees who had enrolled in colleges and universities around the world and was in touch
with many of them. During one of our meetings, Mihir received a video call from a
mentor who was working as a paraprofessional in a school. This mentor also was a local
community leader who worked with Mihir to help other Bhutanese refugees arriving in
the country.
Mihir had been focused on planning his career and higher education since his
arrival in Liberty Town five years earlier and had located resources to support his plans.


Full Text

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ADOLESCENT REFUGEES I N HIGH SCHOOL : A MULTIPLE CASE STUDY OF STUDENTS FROM BURMA, BHUTAN, AND SUDAN b y MADHAVI TANDON B.A., University of Pune, 1987 M.A., University of Pune, 1989 M.A., Kent State University, 2002 A thesis s ubmitted to the F aculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado i n partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor o f Philosophy Educational Studies and Research Program 2015

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2015 MADHAVI TANDON ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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ii Th is thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Madhavi Tandon has been approved for the Educational Studies and Research Program by Nancy Leech Chair Kara Mitchell Viesca Advisor Ren Galindo Nancy Commins Kevin Roxas July 31, 2015

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iii Tandon, Madhavi (Ph.D., Educational Studies and Research ) Adolescent Refugees i n High School : A Multiple Case Study of Students from Burma, Bhutan, and Sudan The s is directed by Assistant Professor Kara Viesca. ABSTRACT This qualitative multiple case study examines the schooling experiences of high school refugee students after resettlement in Liberty Town, USA. The primary focus f or this study was on the first person narratives of nine participants to gain information about the ir perce ptions of schooling, education, careers, and success. Using critical race theory and postcolonial theory the data w ere involvement in ethnic communities. These journeys were severely handicapped by a lack of navigational capital t o access educational services and supports, intense shame of being English language learners, and the reality of working full time at low skilled jobs The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Kara Viesca

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This thesis may have been penned by me but is the culmination of contributions from an entire community. Without the moral, intellectual, and emotional support extended by my family I would have been unable to inhabit the privileged doctoral spaces that few immigrant s can access. Continual encouragement from my mentors and circle of friends gave me the courage to put one foot in front of the other until I reached the finish line. Most importantly, the hope, trust, and respect that I received from the participants and their families ensures that I will continue this work which will someday foster more equity and support for refugee students in our schools.

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION 1 II. LITERATURE REVIEW 3 3 III. METHODOL O GY 6 3 IV. F INDINGS 80 V. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION 1 60 REFERENCES 1 80 APPENDI X 204

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vi LIST OF TABLES TABLE 1 Demographic Characteristics of P articipants 70 2 Comparison Table of Salamat and Alafia High Schools 72 3 Education History o Parents 121 4 Current a nd Past Employment History o a nd Some Older Siblings 126 5 a nd Long Term Goals 136

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vii LIST OF FIGURES FIGURE 1. L it erature R eview 35 2. Data Triangulation 78 3. Feelings A ssociated with B eing a M ultilingual L earner 151

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Purpose of the Study Th e purpose of this dissertation wa s to learn about the schooling experiences of high school refugee students by centering their perspectives Th e study also s ought information about how high school refugee students plan ned and envisage d career paths that w ould lead them towards achievement of their personal goals. The exploration was resettlement in the U.S. as well as their ongoing experiences as high school students in the U.S The study examine d to what extent these notions of success and education we re country of origin, and tracking as English l anguage or multilingual learners ( M LL) in schools. To understand the motivation for this study focused on a small percentage of students in U.S. public schools I must first explain my interest in the perspectives of a marginalized group. Background of the Study During a meeting with the school principal and the lead English Language Development teacher of a local high school, the principal shared that he was shocked when one high school refugee student from Burma told him that all he wanted to do was go back to Burma, pick up a gun and join the freedom movement. The teacher and principal both expressed their frustration about how little information they ha d about what their refugee students really needed and were seeking from the school and its staff. The principal went on to state that he had no idea that some of the refugees were so deeply indoctrinated that they would want to return to the countries they fled. The teacher

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2 added that while few of the refugee students were more motivated than average students frustration at the lack of background information about their refugee stud ents and their needs. Frustration was also expressed by a small group of refugee parents that I worked with in the year 2011. The parents collectively stated that schools, teachers and administrators did not have enough background information about their c hildren and their have helped her pick the appropriate classes and course load for h er son who was fifteen years old at the time. She wondered aloud if he would have had a better future had she enrolled him in eighth grade instead of ninth grade and insisted that he should not spend three fourths of his day in English Language classes. T he common impediment that emerged from the two conversations was that schools and parents l ack ed important and relevant knowledge and information about each other. Both, the staff at the above mentioned high schoo l and the refugee parents group, felt that they did not have enough information to help improve the learning and life experiences of refugee students. Both groups felt that they needed to increase communication with each other and take time to learn about what the students needed and how schools an d parents could work together to create educational plans that were both meaningful and useful to the students. Why S hould W e C are? The current world population is approximately seven billion people (UNFPA, 2011) and the United Nations High Commissioner fo r Refugees report indicate d that 35.8

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3 million people worldwi de were forcibly displaced and we re under the protection of the s 2 ). Although 35.8 million people in a context of seven billion people may not seem to be a large number, the degree of suffering experienced by them is unacceptable on humanitarian grounds. The short and long term consequences for sending nations, receiving c ountries, and for refugees themselves have necessitated the involvement of policymakers, service providers and researchers from a wide range of disciplines as all collaborate to support this vulnerable and displaced population (Elliott & Segal, 2012). Wit hin the national context in 2012 the U.S. admitted 58,179 refugees of which 21,292 or 36.6% were children under 21 years of age (Martin & Yankay, 2013). The five countries from which the largest number of refugees fled in 2012 were Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, So malia, and Cuba. The total number of persons granted asylum in the same year was 29,484, and the top five countries were China, Egypt, Ethiopia, Venezuela, and Nepal of which approximately 8,500 or 28.8% were children under 17 years of age. T he U.S. Depart ment of Homeland Security defines a refugee as follows: Any person who is outside his or her country of nationality who is unable or unwilling to return to that country because of persecution or a well founded fear of persecution. Persecution or the fear t hereof must be based on the alien's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. People with no nationality must generally be outside their country of last habitual residence to qualify as a refugee. Refugees are subject to ceilings by geographic area set annually by the President in consultation with Congress and are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the United States ( Department of Homeland Security 2013 ) While an asylum seeker is defined as follows: An alien in the United States or at a port of entry who is found to be unable or unwilling to return to his or her country of nationality, or to seek the protection of that country because of persecution or a well founded fear of persecution.

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4 Persecution o r the fear thereof must be based on the alien's race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. For persons with no nationality, the country of nationality is considered to be the country in which the alien last habitually resided. Asylees are eligible to adjust to lawful permanent resident status after one year of continuous presence in the U.S. These immigrants are limited to 10,000 adjustments per fiscal year ( Department of Homeland Security, 2013) Against a backdrop of trauma, flight and resettlement, as explained later in this section, refugee children arrive into the U.S., a country that is often cultural ly distant from their homelands. Every year a new wave of refugee students enters American public school s and school administrators and teachers have to find ways to teach and enhance learning for this specific group of students. Once refugee children enter U.S. public schools they often become part of a student body that is highly diverse in terms of race, language, ethnicity, and religion. U.S. public schools provide spaces for social encounters and interactions between American and refugee students and more importantly, schooling is the key to educational success, choices, careers, and settlement (Matthews, 2008). The percentage of students of color in U.S. schools increased from 32% in 1989 to 46% in the 2010 census which included Black, Hispanic, Asian, and mixed race students ( U. S. Census Bureau, 2010 ). Simultaneously, there has been an increase in the number of students who speak a language other than English at home and practice a religion other than Christianity (Banks, 2009) Refugee students resettled in the U.S. tend to be n on White, non Christian and non native speakers of English (Martin & Yankay 2013 ; Roxas 2010 ) and they need to be engaged and invested enough in their schooling to graduate high school and eventually become finan c i ally independent. However, recent resear ch show ed that this population of students wa s at a high risk of dropping out of school before graduation (Callahan, 2013) and hence forfeit ed a high school diploma, one

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5 of the major tools required for success in a Western economy. Furthermore, t here are social, economic and health consequences of not completing high school, dropping out or disengaging fr o m education. According to a report by the Center for Labor Market Studies (2009) s tudents who dropped out of high school before earning their diploma in crease d their chances of being incarcerated, depending on welfare benefits and lacking healthcare The report further state d that a dults who le ft high school prior to earning a high school diploma we re employed less often and earn ed far less than their pe ers that graduate d from high school. Over their working lifetime from ages 18 64, high school dropouts earn ed $400,000 less than those that graduate d high school. M ore over d ropouts contribute d far less in federal, state, and local taxes than they receive d in benefits thus imposing a lifelong financial burden on the rest of society. Dropping out of school not only has serious fiscal and social consequences for students and their families but also political repercussions for the nation as a whole. A c ritical ly important consequence of dropping out was reduction in political participation (Callahan, 2013) While research link ed educational attainment to political participation, among immigrant students, social studies course taking in particular influence d voting in young adulthood (Callahan, 2013). T h e future of a democratic society depends on informed and educated voter s who act in the best interest of the greater community. Political awareness among refugees about their rights and resources will also inc rease resistance to exploitation and discrimination regarding employment. Structurally rich countries such as the U.S. depend on im migrants and low skilled workers for accepting the so called 3 D jobs that are dirty, dangerous and degrading, which ensure t hat other citizens enjoy better living and working conditions

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6 (E l liot & Segal, 2012). Th u s, g raduating from high school is a critical step for avoiding poverty and low wage jobs and a college degree is a prerequisite for well pa id employment ( Center for La bor Studies 2009). E ven though refugee students comprise a small percentage of all students they are more likely to drop out or disengage from school. Without a high school dipl oma they may gain work only in low wage 3 D jobs and remain in poverty. Ever y year new refugees and asylees arrive in the U.S. and enroll in public school s and this population deserves the same concern and careful attention from researchers that is accorded to other groups of students. Th is study wa s also guided by the premise that education must not only be equitable but also socially just and society must provide more opportunities for success to those groups who have most often been the victims of inequity (Rawls, 1971 ). Education research offers a plethora of literature on the experiences of immigrant and multilingual students but very little on refugees. This could be attributed to the perception that immigrant and refugee students are similar in characteristics and both can be classified under t he broad category of ELL s. Researchers contend that immigrants and refugees both face discrimination because of their race, religion, language, and culture, undergo crises of identity, and have to face several obstacles in trying to adapt to their new coun try and home (Rumbaut & Portes, 2001; Su rez Orozco & Su rez Orozco, 2001). However, immigrants and refugees have different trajectories that lead them to the U.S. They differ in their reasons for coming to the new country, the reception that they receive and the obstacles they encounter in the dominant society (Boyden, De Berry, Feeny, & Hart, 2002; Su rez Orozco & Su rez Orozco, 2001 ; McBrien, 2005 2011 ;

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7 Rong & Preissle, 1998). Immigrants and refugees are associated with distinct and separate sets of co nnotations that arise from historical, political and social conceptions and largely immigrants are perceived as an economic form of migration while refugees are political (Hein, 1993). R efugee S tudents V ersus I mmigrant S tudents Although the U.S. Department of Education does not distinguish between immigrants, refugee s and other M LL students in terms of its policies (Department of Education, 2013b) there are important differences in the trajectories of immigrants and refugees. Re fugees are victims of forced migration and forced displacement and their reasons for leaving their homelands are distinct from the experiences of other immigrants who choose to leave their countries. According to Ogbu (198 2 ), adaptation to a new culture can be affected by whether one is a voluntary or an involuntary immigrant and voluntary immigrants are more likely to adapt to the dominant culture while involuntary immigrants tend to reject it. Voluntary immigrant minorities a re those who have willingly moved to the U.S. in search of better economic, political, and/or religious freedom. However, refugees are forced to leave their homelands and do not freely choose to settle in the U.S. or another foreign country, thus making th em involuntary immigrants (Ogbu & Simons, 1998). Furthermore, refugees are unable to return to their homelands unlike immigrants. Forced to leave and forced to stay, such is the dilemma of the refugee student and it would be nave to think that this does n ot impact their perspective on education and schooling. When refugees arrive in the U.S. it signals the last of three phases in their journey as forced migrants. A common and popular framework used in research t o analyze the

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8 refugee experience identifies three phases within forced migration: pre flight, flight, and reception, which may include temporary settlement, resettlement, or repatriation (Desjarlais, Eisenberg, Good, & Kleinman, 1995). The following secti ons will briefly explore each phase and discuss their impact on education. Pre flight The pre flight phase refers to the time leading up to the decision to leave and seek refuge (Desjarlais et al., 1995) and is characterized by severe economic hardships, shortage of food, armed conflict, family separation, violence, political persecution, and threats to mental and physical well being (Ager, Ager, & Long, 1991; Rumbaut, 1991). These factors are significant predictors of psychological distress and are related to exposure to v iolent events (Agger & Mimica, 1996; Boothby, 1994). The pre flight experiences form the center of trauma narratives for refugees and are a powerful influence in their future well being (Mollica, 1989). Flight The period of flight is the experience of mig ration from one place to another one of the strongest and most widespread responses to flight (Eisenbruch, 1990). Those who left family members behind, and even the on es that did not, commonly reported feelings of unfinished business and a desire to return, a phenomenon that Eisenbruch (1990, 1992) named as cultural bereavement. This period of flight is characterized by extreme danger, especially for females, as they ar e vulnerable to sexual abuse during the journey (Forbes Martin, 2004; Goldfield, Mollica, Pesavento, & Faraone, 1988).

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9 Reception The reception phase is the period before an individual returns to his or her home country, or settles formally within a country of first asylum, or resettles in a third location (Desjarlais et al., 1995). This period can extend to several years spent in refugee camps. On arrival in another country, refugees have to undergo registration procedures to establish their status a nd receive food, shelter, and other supports (Harrell Bond, 1986). Research demonstrates that the initial period of resettlement is the most difficult and plagued with psychological distress (Berry, 1991; Garcia Peltoniemi, 1987; Rumbaut, 1991). In the lon ger term, the resettlement period is also marked by stresses related to employment difficulties, underemployment, withdrawal of financial sponsorships, and increased intergenerational conflict (McSpadden, 1987; Westermeyer, 1991). The phases of forced migr ation indicate that by the time refugee students enroll in schools they may have already faced years of trauma marked by violence, exploitation, fear, stress, and abuse. and years spent in flight and fear. Once resettled in the U.S. the stresses of forced migration are not over but merely replaced by newer pressures and fears. Refugee children often arrive at school traumatized, angry, depressed and fearful of authority ( Roxas, 2010 ). Unable to speak fluent English some of them may have never been inside a school building in their lives and may not have learned how to behave and do school (Roxas & Roy, 2012 a ). Testing, grades, GPA, ACT, SAT, credits, graduation, and other educationa l terms may seem irrelevant and unimportant to refugee students when they have encountered injuries, rape, starvation, and death in their young lives. How to do school in the U.S. and further how to do school successfully may not be an easy skill for

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10 refug ee students to acquire a nd education may have to start, not with grades and assessments, but with learning about their needs. In contrast to immigrant students, refugee students are symbols of some of the most violent consequences of war and natural disasters Therefore, the host country has to create pathways to integrate them into a national order of things (Sharma & Gupta, 2006). Although, r efugee students have a pathway to citizenship, financial support from government agencies and charitable or v olunteer organizations and are often resettled with their families (Hein, 1993) they have little control over the type and amount of resources that are allocated to them For example, t o ensure acculturation, resettlement agencies in the U.S. often settl e newcomer refugees in close proximity to people from their same culture if possible (McBrien, 2005, 2011) and t hey are encouraged to retain and develop their social networks within their own ethnic communities as a way of coping with new systems (Fong, 20 0 4; Rutter, 1999 ; Watters, 2008); h owever, in a large number of cases, refugees are resettled in inner city neighborhoods with inadequate resources and high poverty, and the children are enrolled in schools that are equally underfunded (McBrien, 2005, 2011). Often perceived as recipients of aid and tolerated on humanitarian grounds by the host country and its citizens (Harrell Bond, 1999) refugee s tudents deserve to not only survive but also flourish and become productive citizens of their new countrie s. However, when teenage refugees arrive in the U.S. they are too old to quickly learn American ways, speech and mannerisms like their elementary school age siblings and too young to enter the workforce full time as school attendance is mandatory in most s tates until 17 years of age ( NCES, 2013)

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11 A lthough some researchers may argue that refugee students are no different from immigrant or other M LL s the trauma and lack of choice in migration set s them apart. Additionally refugee students may have spent several years in camps outside their country without citizenship and any right to work or go to school. Unable to return to their country of origin and unwanted by any other country, perceived as burdens and recipients of valuable resources, refugees are immigrants who may not want to be in the U.S. but are unable to return home. Focus o n Adolescent High School Refugee Students Among this group of students my study focus ed on adolescent refugee students who are eligible to be enrolled in U.S. high schools. High school refugee students once classified as M LLs by teachers are eligible to stay in school until they turn 21 years of age ( Ed.gov, 2013 a ) Within these four to six years the students must not only learn English but also learn how to do school successfully in the U.S. These six years refugee stud ent s may have to complete high school is also the period for the m to work through emotional and physical trauma that they may have incurred in the years preceding resettlement while simultaneously planning ahead for a career and the skills that they need to acquire. If the education they are receiving does not align wit h their career goals and objectives then it does not benefit the students nor provide opportunities for redressing inequities. On the cusp of adulthood but still mandated to attend school, adolescent refugee students face unique stresses a s compared to y ounger students and t h is study explore d their experiences and perceptions about schooling and education as they navigate d their

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12 new home and its systems. In order to understand the situation of adolescent refugees it will be helpful to briefly explore U.S. policy on refugees and its impact on them. U.S. P olicy o n R efugees T he U.S. amended the Immigration and Nationality Act and created the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980 to provide a legal protocol for resettlement of refugees. To assist newly arrived refugees, the Department of State provides initial resettlement services and referrals to other services. The Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Depar tment of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families provides mainly cash, medical, and employment related assistance to help refugees achieve economic self sufficiency as soon as possible after their arrival in the U.S. (Bruno, 2011 ). The Immigration and Nationality Act issues four main guidelines that govern all resettlement assistance programs as follows: 1. Make available sufficient resources for employment training and placement in order to achieve economic self sufficiency as quic kly as possible. 2. Provide refugees with the opportunity to acquire sufficient English language training to enable them to become effectively resettled as quickly as possible. 3. Insure that cash assistance is made available to refugees in such a manner as to n ot discourage their economic self sufficiency. 4. Insure that women have the same opportunities as men to participate in training and instruction (INA §412(a)(1)(A) as cited in Bruno, 2012). The Immigration and Nationality Act policy state s that refugees who meet requirements can receive food assistance for five years; Medicaid and supplemental security income for the aged, blind, and disabled for seven years; and refugee cash and medical assistance for eight months from entry (Bruno, 2012). The limited cash assistance for eight months in combination with the push for economic self sufficiency is one of the most important factors that propels adolescent

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13 refugee students to seek paid work as soon as they arrive in the U.S and is also a major s ource of stress and preoccupation for parents and older children who are eligible to work (Martin & Yankay, 2013). Refugee students older than 14 years of age are eligible to work and are often forced to do so. At the same time they are mandated by state l aws to attend school and work towards high school graduation. While employment is the biggest hurdle for adult and adolescent refugees, education is seen as the key to economic and social success Therefore, adolescent refugee students are caught in a Catc h 22 situation where they must work at low wage jobs to make ends meet but also need to graduate high school in order to gain a well paid job. However, work is in conflict with school as both require motivation, energy, time and engagement. Although the S enate Foreign Relations Committee agrees that the current systems of refugee resettlement and assistance are outdated and fail to address the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse populations now being admitted to the U.S. ( U.S. Senate 2010), the large influx of funding and resources that would be required is simply not available. Refugees who have fled persecution struggle with mental health, poverty, and language issues in the U.S. and eight months of cash assistance does not give them enough time to adapt to a new way of life before seeking to enter the labor force (Refugee Crisis in America, 2009). Obtaining employment in the current economic climate is particularly difficult, and refugees from Burma, Bhutan, and Burundi who lack work experience, education, and English proficiency have very few skills that translate to the U.S. labor market (Bruno, 2011). How did these students then perceive schooling and education and how do they describe their experiences in U.S. schools and syst ems Marginalized at the intersection of race, gender, language, class, religion and/or ethnicity,

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14 very little is known about adolescent refugees and th is dissertation set out to fill this gap in knowledge. To do so it wa s vital to center the narratives of the students and understand their perspectives Research Questions Delgado (1999) remarked that academics tend to look for interesting problems to world problems of Few educational research studies describe how recentl y arrived adolescent refugees adjust and settle in U.S. public schools. This study examine d the adaptation of adolescent refugee students from Burma, Bhutan and Sudan to schooling and life in a Midwestern American city in the year 2014 2015. T hree research questions grounded in C ritical R ace and Postcolonial t heor ies s ought to understand the experiences and perspectives o f refugee adolescent students. 1. What are the educational experiences of adolescent refugee students after being resettled in the United St ates? 2. How do adolescent refugee students conceptualize and perceive schooling, education, and success and how do they plan to achieve their career goals? 3. In what ways do education practices, systems, structures, and institutions impact the perceptions and experiences of adolescent refugee students? Theoretical Framework The etymology of the word margin is the Latin word margo which means edge and the area immediately adjacent to it; a border (Margin, n.d.) while marginalize means to relegate or confine to a lower or outer limit or edge, as of social standing (Marginalized, n.d.). To marginalize is an active verb where someone does something to

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15 someone else and in the case of students, it is educators, teachers, researchers, and policies that marginalize and socially exclude certain groups. Since it is done by someone, there is agency and the ability to change it; marginalizati on therefore is not just a label but a socially active process that involves groups of persons who marginalize and are marginalized. For refugee students, education is crucial in restoring a sense of hope and possibilities for the future (Mosselson, 2007) and schooling can provide vital opportunities to begin a new life. Paradoxically, schools are also places where refugees become highly aware of being different than other students and experience a disjuncture between their ideas, beliefs, values, cultures and those of the dominant group (Sinclair, 2001). It is important to understand how and why refugee students are marginalized so that educational systems can be responsive and maximize learning and life outcomes for them; furthermore, education should be v iewed as an essential element of humanitarian response to crisis and not as a luxury (Sinclair, 2001). Critical Race Theory ( CRT ) framework supported by Postcolonial Theory w as used in the study The following sections will provide a historical background on each of these frameworks and subsequently explore how the two strands will come together to be effectively utilized in this research seeking to deepen our understanding of the experiences and perceptions of refugee students. Critical Race Theory CRT is a theory that originated in legal studies (Ladson Billings & Tate, 1995) in the mid

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16 which race was foreground (Crenshaw, 2002, p. 19). Progressive legal scholars sought to develop a jurisprudence that took into account the role of race and racism in American law, which would also lead towards eliminating raci sm and other forms of subordination (Matsuda, 1991). Lawyers, activists and legal scholars realized that new theories and strategies were needed to continue and further the fight for civil rights and find ways to combat the subtle and invisible forms of ra cism that were gaining ground (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001). Although CRT originated in law and legal studies it has now spread to several disciplines role of CRT is to question the very foundations of liberal order, equality, capitalism and eventually to transform society for the better (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001), thus creating spaces for activism and advocacy. Although CRT did not formalize until the mid 1970s in the U.S., its roots and legacy can be traced back to the early battles against White supremacy in the colonies of Asia, Africa and South America (Kumasi, 2011). European colonization began in 1492 when Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain to find new trad e routes and discovered the Americas until eventually White Europeans controlled and ruled the continents of Asia, Africa, and North and South America. Activism against the hegemonic and exploitative European occupation of people, land and wealth took the shape of anti colonial movements and activists in the colonies waged war against the ideologies of White colonialists. These wars were waged using not only arms and weapons but also words and speech. From Martinique, the written works of Csaire (1950) des cribed the relationships be tween colonizers and colonized and Fanon (1952) wrote about the

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17 psychological and physiological effects of colonization on the minds and bodies of the colonized. In India, id 8 form ed the core of the independence movement. In the U.S. antislavery activism was ongoing through the works of Sojourner Truth, John Brown, Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois to name a few. Similarly, Native American and Chicano/a activists fou ght for their indigenous rights. B attling dominant ideologies and discrimination based on power and color is an ancient and ongoing struggle for People of Color around the world and CRT seems like a logical culmination o f centuries old activism. CRT as formalized in 1993 by Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado, and Crenshaw sets forth six tenets or core themes as follows: 1. Critical race theory recognizes that racism is endemic to American life and interrogates how traditional intere sts and values perpetuate racial subordination. 2. Critical race theory expresses skepticism toward dominant legal claims of neutrality, objectivity, colorblindness and meritocracy. 3. Critical race theory challenges ahistoricism and insists on a contextual/hist orical analysis of the law. Critical race theorists adopt a stance that presumes that racism has contributed to all contemporary manifestations of group advantage and disadvantage along racial lines in income, imprisonment, health, housing, education, poli tical representation, and military service. 4. Critical race theory insists on recognition of the experiential knowledge of people of color and their communities of origin in analyzing law and society. This knowledge is gained from critical reflection on the lived experience of racism and active political practice toward the elimination of racism. 5. Critical race theory is interdisciplinary. It borrows from several traditions such as liberalism, law, feminism, etc. to advance the cause of racial justice. 6. Critica l race theory works toward the end of eliminating racial oppression as part of the broader goal of ending all forms of oppression. Critical race theory measures progress by a yardstick that looks to fundamental social transformation (p. 6)

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18 These six tenets have been modified and consolidated by other CRT scholars since then and Solrzano (1997) outlined five tenets of CRT that are critical to education research as follows: 1. The centrality of race and racism in analyses and intersectionality with other forms of subordination such as gender and class discrimination (Crenshaw, 1989, 1993), 2. The challenge to dominant ideologies of meritocracy, colorblindness, race neutrality, and equal opportunity. Critical race scholars state that these ideologies support self interest, power and privilege of dominant groups in American society (Calmore, 1992). 3. The commitment to social justice and elimination of racism. 4. The centrality of experiential knowledge of women and P eople of C olor. CRT recognizes that this knowledge is legitimate, appropriate and critical to understanding racial subordination (Calmore, 1992). 5. The interdisciplinary perspective that challenges ahistoricism and unidisciplinary focus of most analyses. CRT insists on placing race and ra cism in a historical and contemporary context using interdisciplinary methods (Delgado, 1984, 1992; Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado, & Crenshaw, 1993). ( p p. 6 7) Thus CRT in education is a framework that offers perspectives and methods that can identify and an alyze structural and cultural aspects of education, which maintain subordinate and dominant racial positions in and out of the classroom (Crenshaw, Gotanda, Peller, & Thomas, 1995; Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado, & Crenshaw, 1993; Solrzano & Yosso, 2002). For educational scholars, CRT is a powerful tool to research and explain the large and persistent gaps in resources and achievement between White contemporary conditions that Rousseau, 2006, p. 122). Postcolonial Theory Postcolonial theory is a critical tool in education research as it is concerned with decolonizing knowledge and production of transformative knowledge (Pratt, 1992;

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19 Viruru, 2005). It seeks to map how power and privilege is manifested in the West and by the West in order to influence systems within and beyond its borders (John, 1996). Furthermore, it has the ability to locate where and how the West establishes di chotomies between Us and Them and imposes universal notions of histories and experiences (Chow, 1993; Mohanty, 2004). Most importantly, postcolonial theory foregrounds the notion of as an etween imperialism, capitalism and knowledge production. Imperialism and colonialism led to the birth of capitalism and the three are locked in a mutually supportive relationship (Loomba, 2005). Imperialism is the lucrative operation that creates wealth an d riches in the West through slavery, colonization and low wage labor without which capitalism cannot thrive. Therefore, postcolonial theory provides a historical understanding of how the lives of people are shaped within a power structure that is inherent ly unequal (Rizvi, Lingard, & Lavia, 2006). The development and popularity of postcolonial studies and theory in the West is largely attributed to Edward Said, Homi Bhabha and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Young, 1994). Said laid the foundations of postcolon ial theory in Orientalism (1978) by explicating how the Occident or West creates the Other or Oriental. Said argued that Western ontology and epistemology was based on representing the Other as exotic, deviant, and different and this structuring was necess ary for dominating and controlling the Orient (p. 2). One of the modes of representing the Other is by creating what CRT calls majoritarian stories. Love (2004) defines majoritarian stories as description of events as told by members of dominant/majority g roups, accompanied by the values and beliefs that justify the actions taken by dominants to insure their dominant position.

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20 Those with racial, social and economic privilege create beliefs about the Other by veloped thorough history and (Yosso, 2006, p. 9). The distinction between the Orient as darker skinned, bad, and evil and the Occident as White, good and intelligent (Bell 2003; Gutierrez Jones, 2001) was not benign by any means but designed to portray the Orient and its people as necessarily inferior. This permitted the Occident to impose its own so called superior cultures, education, languages, literatures, institutions etc. on the Orient and at the same time colonial world Orientalism may be viewed as an institution that deals with the Orient or the Other by creating dominant narratives about it, making statement s, describing it, teaching it, resettling it, or in short having authority and power over it (Rizvi et al., 2006). Orientalism thus is a fabricated discourse created by the powerful through which the West seeks to understand and explain their subjects as w ell as justify their domination. Like counterstories in CRT, postcolonial theory strives to create spaces for s embodied in Guha (1982) The notion of subaltern was introduced by Gramsci in his article Notes on Italian History and later published in Prison Notebooks (1971). In his work subaltern classes refer to low ranking groups of people in a particular society who suffer from hegemonic domination of a ruling elite class that denies them the basic rights of participation in

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21 society. In Notebook 3, §14 Gramsci wrote (Gramsci as quoted in Green, 2002). Guha (1982) borrowed the term of subaltern from Gramsci and used it to describe the general attribute of subordination in postcolonial South Asian society expressed in terms of class, caste, age, gender, and office or in any other way. Spivak (1991) extended the notion of subaltern from South Asia to the West by stating that subalternity is brought on by capitalistic politics of undermining revolutionary voices in a globalized world. She further rejected subalterns as a homogenous and essentialist group of people and argued for the notion to be situational, especially in the domain of femi nism. Spivak further stated that the task of the intellectual is to pave the way for subalterns groups and let them freely speak for themselves (1988). However, once the subaltern narratives are heard then both, colonizer and colonized, must acknowledge th at they are susceptible to be changed and influenced by each other, which Bhabha (1994; 1996) defined as the concept of hybridity. Hybridity, loosely interpreted, refers to cultural mixing between the colonizer and the colonized where both sides are change d and influenced by each other. On a deeper level, hybridity describes the construction of culture and identity within conditions of colonial antagonism and inequity (Bhabha, 1994). Bhabha contends that hybridity is the process by which the colonial or gov erning authority attempts to translate the identity of the Other using a singular or essentialist framework, but fails to do so and the result is the production of something familiar and yet new (Papastergiadis, 1997). Bhabha argues that the new hybrid ide ntity challenges the validity and authenticity of any essentialist cultural identity and is an antidote to essentialism. Similarly, CRT too battles against essentialism

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22 or the notion that there is a single monolithic experience of race or gender (Harris, 1 990; Delgado & Stefancic, 2001). Hybridity does not dilute or weaken heritage or tradition as is often claimed but reveals that all traditions and cultures have multiple lineages, influences, inferences, interpretations, and revisions that enhance its pote ntial (Bhabha, 2011). Furthermore, Bhabha (2011) states that hybridity emphasizes intersectionality of cultures and claims that the resulting product would be free of cultural supremacy thus making hybridity the opposite of unequal and unfair. The three co ncepts of Orientalism or Othering subalterns, and hybridity grounded in postcolonial theory and CRT will form the backbone of this study. Refugees a s Colonized Subjects If we imagine hybridity as the norm in education with regards to curriculum, content, assessment, and achievement then marginalized groups as well as all groups of students would have the agency and access to create their own product, which would suit and meet their needs. Using postcolonial terms we could argue that the current structure o f education is created from an Orientalist perspective, where school districts, administrators, federal and state policy makers have created a system of teaching and assessment that does not take into account the hybridity of the student populations that a re no longer majority White and middle class. The education system has created a product based on majoritarian stories that is informed by images, notions and ideas about the Other students with little or no input from the marginalized groups. If the syste m must be fair and equal then there needs to be an increased amount of interaction, communication and hybridization among those with power and those without. Although

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23 those without power and voice are no longer referred to as the colonized they are still v ictims of oppression and subjugation. Generational poverty and disadvantages are disproportionately the lot of Black and Brown races in the U.S. (Anyon, 1997; Gorski, 2006) and continued inequity in schooling and education (Bowles & Gintis, 2011) is an ass ured way of keeping the colonized or the urban, poor, Colored, and powerless students in their place. Through the perpetuation of colonizing practices public schools fail to provide Students of Color with skills that will prepare them to compete in the mod ern economy and education continues to be underfunded in poorer neighborhoods. Darling Hammond (2010) states that urban public schools are funded at lower rates than other schools and are housed in old, crumbling, and dilapidated buildings. These schools h ave insufficient supplies and are less likely to have math and science teachers with certification in their areas. Further, there is a permanent shortage of teachers in urban areas as compared to the national average. Instruction is based on unchallenging, low level, rote material (Darling Hammond, 2010), Students of Color are tracked into lower ability classes (Oakes, 1990) and M LLs face academic and social isolation in schools (Callahan, 2013). Unsurprisingly, the academic achievements and outcomes of col onized students are some of the lowest in the country and if they do graduate from high school there are years of expensive remedial classes waiting before they can leave college with a degree (Ladson Billings, 2006) and segregation is reminiscent of colonial policies that were used to keep the natives subjugated and voiceless. Postcolonialism does not introduce a new world free from ills of colonialism but suggests continuity and change by cre ating spaces for the oppressed

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24 people to gain independence (Rai, 2005). C ritical R ace T heory a nd Postcolonial Theory CRT is largely viewed as a theory specifically created for an American context based on U.S. racial history (Thomas, 2000) while postcolon ial theory has a larger reach with contributions and theories from Asia, Africa, and South America. Postcolonial theory in conjunction with CRT permits researchers to bring together social history and racism to deepen our understanding of marginalization a nd oppression. While CRT captures and denounces the inner workings of racism (Leonardo, 2013), postcolonialism offers forms of resistance, negotiations, and assertions to the oppressed so they can create their own ideology and history (Nayar, 2008). Postco lonial theory supports political and cultural negotiations with the colonizer, or with those who dominate through hybridization, as a process by which both sides are changed forever (Bhabha, 1994). While CRT in education centers race in analysis, postcolo nial theory helps place race in its historical and social context and links the marginalization of Black and Brown people to legacies of colonialism and imperialism. It is no coincidence then that the five countries from which the largest number of refugee s fled in 2012, Bhutan, Burma, Iraq, Somalia, and Cuba were all colonized either by Britain, Italy or Spain in the last century. Physically, the colonizers may have left their colonies but not without starting a long, enduring and often tortured relationsh ip with their ex colonized. The legacy of colonization means that no amount of efforts can completely separate the Occident from the Orient and notwithstanding the boundaries of geography, geopolitics, and immigration the presence of the Orient continues t o dog the Occident. It is outside the scope of this study to discuss and analyze the causes of forced migration and its link to

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25 colonization but it should be said that while the colonizers spatially separated from their colonies and subjects as part of the decolonizing process in the middle of the twentieth century, the dichotomy between Us and Them, Superior and Inferior, and Civilized and Savage remains and permeates the systems, policies and institutions including education. Counternarratives a nd Subalterns This study w as guided largely by two main principles; firstly by the fourth tenet of CRT as stated by Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado & Crenshaw (1993) and by Solrzano (1997, 1998) that places experiential knowledge of People of Color, refugee stude nts herein, at the center of the study and secondly by understanding subaltern narratives in their historical, political, and economic contexts Marginalization of refugees often occurs at the intersection of race, class, gender and/or language and thus their stories are often suppressed, devalued, and abnormalized (Delgado, 1989). Although unheard and muted from the dominant population, stories and narratives for subalterns offer a source of shared understandings that create bonds and meanings that circulate within the group as a counter reality (Delgado, 1989). Stories or counternarratives are a way of challenging the dominant ideologies and sta tus quo (Bell, 1987; Bettelheim, 2010; Delgado 1989) and they have the ability to show the way out of inequity and help understand how to reallocate power (Delgado, 1989). CRT explicitly draws on the experiential knowledge of marginalized groups that can b e expressed through storytelling, family histories, biographies, scenarios, parables, and narratives (Bell, 1987, Delgado, 1989). These narratives provide critical race scholars with tools to challenge and expose deficit based research and methods that sil ence and misinterpret the experiences of people of color (Solrzano & Yosso, 2002).

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26 This old African proverb perfectly captures the hegemonic and ethnocentric ways in which stories operate (Ladson Billings, 2013). Stories reflect a certain perspective and point of view that upholds what the storyteller believes is important and significant and can be narrated in ways that privilege a certain worldview. For several decad es through slavery and colonization of the Americas, Asia, and Africa there has been a Western story about the Other as explained earlier that upholds and justifies domination and exploitation. The dominant narrative is about intellectually inferior, savag e, and primitive people who need to be segregated, ruled and controlled (Comaroff & Comaroff, 2003; Mafeje, 1998; Nader, 2011). Just as majoritarian stories have been tools of subjugation, counternarratives are a tool for exposing inequities (Bell, 1987). As Europeans were colonizing other continents there existed within the colonized groups innumerable counternarratives that were used to retain cultural pride and eventually to slowly spread the message of anti colonialism, freedom, and revolution (Wa Thion go, 1987). These counterstories were the framework for understanding oppression and exploitation and finding ways to resist it (Achebe, 1986). A methodology that is grounded in counternarratives expressing the particulars of the social reality and experien ce (Matsuda, 1985) of marginalized groups and expressed in ways they know Purpose of C ounternarratives From a broader perspective beyond race and color, counternarr atives are first person accounts that can be a type of protest literature (Hornstein, 2010) where those who

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27 is my story and this is how I am going to tell it. Slav es, holocaust survivors, women, mental illness patients, undocumented immigrants, refugees, gays and lesbians, and other marginalized groups have often been the objects of research and theorizing by academics, scientists and media. Theories are created and woven around their experiences, creating a majoritarian and dominant story about the group that gets consumed by audiences and societies all around the world. However, as counternarratives indicate, it is possible, nay imperative even, to create an experi ence that counters the mainstream and offers another account of the experience (Hornstein, 2010). Thus, counternarratives are ways of acknowledging and respecting the fact that all human beings have inherent expertise and wisdom about their life and about what is helpful or detrimental to them or their situation (Hornstein, 2010; Kleinman, 1988). This inherent expertise can be translated into agency for marginalized groups of people who have experienced a common phenomenon. Agency can be expressed by comin g together to create an alternative and hybrid way of understanding that is based on collective counternarratives and lived experiences. Democratically speaking, counternarratives are more important than majoritarian stories as they offer an alternative bo dy of material for policy (Hornstein, 2010). Often policy regarding marginalized groups is created by those in power based on what they perceive to be the desired outcome, which would also maintain the status quo of White supremacy. However, having a broad er and probably better set of ideas and expected outcomes based on counternarratives w ould not only help create systems and structures that are welcomed by the marginalized groups but w ould also create a gency that is equated with the exercise of will, deci sion, choice, and planning (Ram, 2013).

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28 Types of C ounternarratives Yosso (2006) further outlines four main functions of counterstories that can challenge and transform education inequities. 1. Counterstories can build community among those at the margins of society by bringing a human face to empirical research. 2. exposing White privilege upheld in majoritarian stories. 3. Counterstories can nurture community cultural wealth, memory and resistance by shattering oppressive silences created through the omission and distortion of Outsider histories. 4. Counterstories can facilitate transformation in education by embedding critical conceptual and theoretical content within an accessible st ory format (pp. 14 15). While Postcolonial Theory creates social and temporal spaces for counternarratives that voice discrimination as understood by the marginalized, CRT analyzes counternarratives that have the power to bring to light petty and major ab uses and injustices that might otherwise remain invisible (Delgado, 1990) and turn our interpretation of the phenomenon and as such carries the potential of disrupting maj oritarian stories and exposing systemic discrimination. Solrzano and Yosso (2002) have identified three types of counternarratives as follows: 1. various forms of racism and sexism These tend to be autobiographical reflections of the author that are analyzed using CRT and located within a context of a larger sociopolitical critique. 2. experiences and res ponses to racism and sexism as told in a third person voice. This type tends to offer biographical analysis of the experiences of a person of color in relation to U.S. institutions and in a sociohistorical context. 3. Composite Stories or Narratives draw on v arious forms of data to recount racialized, sexualized, and classed experiences of people of color. These tend to offer both biographical and autobiographical analyses as authors create composite characters and place them in social, historical, and politic al situations to discuss racism, sexism, classism, and other forms of subordination (pp. 32 33).

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29 This study dr e w on the second type to identify locations and depths of inequities in order to rectify them. Data w ere use d to tell These stories and narratives w ere collected to document the experiences and perspectives of adolescent refugee students which demonstrate d the persistence of marginalization and racism from the perspective of those injured and victimized by its legacy (Yosso, 2006). However, the use of subjective and narrative storytelling methodology in CRT is not without its share of criticism from legal a nd education scholars. Critiques of C ritical R ace T heory and Postcolonial Theory CRT is largely criticized by legal scholars on the grounds of its reliance on narrative storytelling and lack of objectivity (Farber & Sherry, 1997; Kozinski, 1997; Posner, 19 97). Posner criticizes CRT by stating that it does not depend on empirical data and Western rational inquiry and instead resorts to fictional stories that reinforce stereotypes about the intellectual capacities of non Whites (Posner, 1997). Farber and Sher and unrepresentative experiences of People of Color and overemphasize the Voice of Color therefore reducing its generalizability but also distorts the truth. In education res and assert that class inequality and capitalism merit analytical focus. Postcolonial Theory is widely criticized by postcolonial scholars as well as other making sense (Dirlik, 1994), and an accomplice to contemporary global capitalism

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30 (Praka sh, 1994) while Ferguson (2003) sees it as a commitment to rampant relativism that has abandoned the Western project of reason, truth and progress. The term postcolonial is contested within academia from its meaning to its orthography. Some scholars state that adding a hyphen in post colonial changes the scholars question if the term is too premature as neo colonial conditions are ever present (Williams & Chrisman, 1994 not to be understood as a temporal marker but as a marker of a spatial challenge of the occupying powers of the West by the ethical, political, aesthetic forms of the marginalized (Dimitriadis & McCarthy, 2007). According to Bhabha (1994), postcolonial is a reminder of the persistent neo colonial relations within the new world order and the must be judged i n terms of its adequacy to conceptualize the complex condition which Similar to the criticism leveled against CRT and its methodologies, postcolonial theory is also seen as an attempt to undermine West ern culture and an enemy of social development and progress. After the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, postcolonialism was depicted as anti American and postcolonial studies as hotbeds of unpatriotic anti Americanism (Kurtz, 2003). Critics, including Said, often acknowledge the field for its dense and convoluted language (Subedi & Daza, 2008) and its interdisciplinarity that brings together a range of wide and disparate data, theories, histories and frameworks (Loomba, 1995). Postcolonial sc holars argue that the range of theories and disciplines that contribute to this domain provides a more complex and non

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31 essentialist analysis of issues including race and racism that have not been theorized sufficiently in education (Subedi & Daza, 2008). While acknowledging the concerns and criticisms of the frameworks, these critiques actually reveal more about White privilege perpetuating perspectives of truth (Bell, 1992). The unwillingness and inability to acknowledge and accept hybridity is a manifestation of White domination and supremacy. By rejecting Other ways and ways of understanding and being, White supremacy seeks to maintain the status quo where po wer is retained in their hands. This conflict between submission, negotiation, and amalgamation (Csaire, 1950; Fanon, 1952) marked by tortured relationships between colonizer and colonized are central to the struggles for justice and equity. Researcher R ole It would be remiss to ignore my role in the study. A researcher cannot be separated from her epistemology or her ways of understanding the world and as such her biases should be acknowledged. I observed, understood, interpreted, and analyzed data based on knowledge that I have gained through my lived experiences. The motivation for the study was my belief that in the quest for assimilation in a new country MLLs are always under social, educationa l and economic pressures to increase their fluency in English, which leads to internalized beliefs native speakers of English are inherently superior to non native speakers of English. This journey helped me realize my own privileges and the knowledge that I have regarding availability of educational resources and ways to access them. As an immigrant teacher working with refugee students there were similarities and differences in our journeys that must be acknowledged. Ongoing

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32 efforts were needed to reflect and discuss these similarities and differences with colleagues and participants as was the need to be cognizant of the fact that I had far more privilege and power than the participants and I was an useful ally in their educational journey. However, it wa s important to acknowledge that being fluent in Hindi was a crucial factor in building relationships with some of the participants. The common language was perceived by parents and participants as a unifying bond between us. P arents and other family member s, relieved to hear Hindi, enthusiastically joined the conversation and volunteered information that may not have been otherwise offered Furthermore, phenotypically, I resembled some of the Bhutanese and Burmese participants and their families and also dr essed like them in traditional ethnic clothes such as salwars and kurtas These similarities were an important factor in building trust and as being perceived as an insider in direct opposition to all the White persons in authority that they encountered.

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3 3 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Introduction A literature review is carried out to learn what research already exists in the proposed topic, contributions made to the knowledge by other researchers, methodologies and data collection techniques used as well a s learning about the history of the topic and acquiring a subject specific vocabulary (Hart, 1998). In this section I have review ed empirical, conceptual and policy research to synthesize relevant studies. Refugees as a group are largely under researched a nd the largest numbers of studies are published in the domains of psychology, counseling, ethnography, sociology, geopolitics, and migration environment. Additionally, edu cation research on refugee students in second or third country resettlement is scant as compared with other research topics such as English Language Learners or Black and Latino/a students. Some of the reasons for this under researched topic are explored i n the sections below. Parameters The search for literature was conducted using parameters set to peer reviewed published research and books on refugees and their schooling in the university library databases and Google scholar. The search terms used were combinations of the words refugee, school, education, Significantly Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE), and Significantly Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE) which yielded a total of 4 9 ,6 9 7 articles as of April 2015 The largest number of thes e studies was related to mental health, psychological impact, and trauma among refugee communities and around

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34 2000 studies were relevant to schooling and education; only those that specifically discussed education of refugee students and related teaching p ractices from pre school to high school were included in this review. Furthermore, my search was limited to research written and published in Western countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom as they share similar appro aches to immigrant education (Sidhu & Taylor, 2007, 2009) as compared to resettlement in Pakistan, Iran or Kenya. Although, the heaviest burden of hosting refugees falls on countries of the global south (Elliott & Segal, 2012), resettlement in North Americ a, Europe, and Australia nevertheless accounts Desjarlais, Eisenberg, Good, & Kleinman, 1995 ). As there were fewer than 150 empirical and/or conceptual peer reviewed and published research studies from the Wes tern countries no further parameters were set and all were read to check for relevance. Scholarly research started to appear on forced migrations resulting from decolonization and post colonial conflicts in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (Skran & Daugh try, 2007) in the 1960s and the starting point for this review wa review of literature on educational needs and barriers for refugee students in the U .S This extremely helpful and informative review synthesized literature published withi n a twenty five year period prior to 2004 and contain ed some important findings and we re integrated in the sections below. Since 2005 to April 201 5 6 0 empirical and conceptual studies were published on refugee students resettled in the West as represented in the graphic below.

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35 Figure 1: Table indicating number and types of studies reviewed. It is important to note that in terms of demographic characteristics of refugees, there are two distinct phases after the two World Wars and the Cold War most refugees that arrived in the U.S. were of European or Russian descent and from Korea, Vietnam, Ca mbodia and South America during periods of turmoil in those regions (Ager, 1999; Woods, 2009) while in the two decades of this century 75% of refugees come from Africa, Middle East, and Asia (UNHCR, 2013). As I read through the literature, six salient them es emerged from all the sources and listed below and hence the review was organized by major themes that directly affect ed the education of refugee students. 1. Macro and Micro Policy 2. Mental and Physical Health 3. Identity Issues Source 1: needs and barriers for refugee students in the United States. Source 2: From 2005 to April 2015 60 studies were published in the West about education of resettled refugees divided as follows: 57 qualitative, 2 quantitative and 1 mixed methods design. 1 4 were conceptual studies of which 11 were published in Australia and were related to education policy. 16 were focused on a single ethnicity or race of stud ents (Somali, Sudanese, Burundian, Cambodian Vietnamese, Turkish, and Karen ) 7 evaluations of refugee specific programs 9 studies published perspectives of teachers who worked with refugees 6 studies, all from the U.S., published perspectives from parents of refugee students

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36 4. The Institution of School 5. Teacher Perspectives and Recommendations for Practitioners 6. Perspectives of Refugee Parents and Families Macro and Micro Policy In his theoretical analysis of modernity Bauman (2004) refers to refugees as te with no useful function to play in 78). He further states that once refugees are designated as waste then policy measures effectively end their individualities and differences and permanently assign them to exclusion. In their analyses of Western policies on refugees, several authors concluded that refugees were marked as being stateless and statusless (Bauman, 2004; Pinson & Arnot, 2007; Rutter, 2006) and that these two positions were commonly assigned to them in natio nal and international policies. The consequences of negative rhetoric about refugees directly affect the amount and type of support services and funding that are made available to them. Pinson and Arnot (2007) call for more education and sociological resea rch on refugees to learn how marginalization has affected and continues to affect refugees in the Western host countries. In their conceptual essay the authors state that refugees who are termed as global waste in policy continue to be ignored by education researchers even in the midst of multiculturalism and diversity initiatives and continue to be subordinated by the politics of belonging or nationalism (p. 400). Similar to immigrants and immigration policies, all groups of refugees do not receive the sa me level of acceptance from U.S. society and research cited below has shown correlation between policy support, societal acceptance, and higher life successes.

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37 Foreign policy and diplomatic, trade, and labor relations often dictate how certain groups are w Western society states that refugee and host cultures determine whether certain groups of refugees will choose to integrate or assimilate. In the early 1960s Cuban refugees were not only welcomed but received considerable financial support from the U.S. government, as it sympathized with their anticommunist cause (Prez, 2001). Prez analyzed 1,242 respondents of Cuban origin who were also the s ingle largest ethnic group in a longitudinal study of children of immigrants. Cuban refugees built a large enclave in Florida and founded bilingual schools for their children staffed by qualified Cuban refugees (Baker, 2001). The future waves of refugees f rom Cuba used the supports created by the earlier generations, and as a result their children thrived in their own culture and were also protected from outside discrimination (Prez, 2001). In contrast, Nicaraguan refugees fleeing a similar communist regim e during the Sandinista Revolution, although highly educated and professionally trained, were not granted refugee status by the U.S. government and could not create a support system. Most of them remained undocumented and worked at jobs paying less than mi nimum wage (Fernndez Kelly & Curran, 2001). Consequently, the children of Nicaraguan refugees could not avail native cultural and linguistic resources, resulting in cultural dissonance and inter generational conflicts (Fernndez Kelly & Curran, 2001). Ha itian refugees who arrived with low education and job skill levels in the 1970s and 1980s suffered the most discrimination from the U.S. government of any migrant

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38 group in that period. In their ethnographic study of Haitian youth, Stepick, Stepick, Eugene, Teed, and Labissiere, (2001) stated that Haitian students were teased and bullied because of their accents, skin color, and poverty, and they felt alienated from their own cultural identity and families, and that this could have been a factor contributing to their grades being the lowest among groups of immigrant and refugee children. Against the backdrop of the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001, refugee admissions to the U.S. dropped sharply and Muslim refugee students in schools reporte d being victims of verbal and physical abuse, hate crimes, teasing, and being stereotyped as terrorists (Kirova, 2001; McBrien, 2005). Thus research indicate d that policies based on international relations play an important role on how some groups of refug ees are welcomed and resettled in the U.S., which directly affect ed the learning and life outcomes for their children. On a micro level, policies at the school and district level also contribute d to either the exclusion or inclusion of refugee students wit hin the school culture ( Block 2014; Dooley, 2009; Dooley & Thangaperumal, 2011; Gitlin, Buenda Crosland, & Doumbia, 2003). In their qualitative study at a middle school, Gitlin et al., (2003) studied school practices and policies for refugee children. Th ey found that when welcoming discourse is evident but is coupled with exclusionary practices the resulting student success or failure is often viewed as individual rather than structural or systemic. For example, administrators at the participating middle school in their study stated that the MLL program was placed in a distant wing to prevent interaction of immigrant students with U.S. students. Some other practices noted by Gitlin et al. were lack of late transportation for after school activities, school assemblies dominated by White students, and

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39 segregated lunchroom practices facilitated by lunchroom monitors; some of the White l (2011) noted similar practices that reinforced positions of marginalization and Othering of African refugee students in their study at four Australian high schools where they interviewed students and teachers. The researchers noted that teachers coached the students to tolerate others making fun of their accents and continually reminded them that they should feel gratitude for being in Australia. These studies indicate d that attitudinal and structural racism place d MLL students, including refugees, on the margins even though school administration professed welcoming and inclusive policie s. Exclusionary practices that we re tolerated, ignored or promoted by schools and administration ha d a detrimental effect on the so cioemotional and sociocultural development of refugee students. Mental and Physical Health When refugees arrive in the United States, unlike immigrants, they are more likely to be suffering from chronic ailments such as tuberculosis, malaria, kidney, and l iver diseases contracted during their stay in refugee camps or during the journey to the U S (Trueba, Jacobs, & Kirton, 1990) ; while experiencing or witnessing traumatic events is another major risk factor that could lead to mental health problems (Hones & Cha, 1999; Tollefson, 1989). In their medical research on refugee mental health, Ringold, Burke and Glass (2005) divided risk factors according to before flight and after: Presence of these factors before flight may be associated with poorer mental health outcomes: being unprepared for trauma and refugee status, older age, higher

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40 socioeconomic status, higher level of education, female sex, living in rural area. Presence of t hese factors after flight may be associated with poorer mental health outcomes: unstable living arrangements, lack of economic opportunity in the new living situation, return to the country from which the refugees fled, and lack of resolution of the confli ct from which they fled. (p. 646). A recent literature review explored trauma and mental health issues in young refugees from the Middle East. Montgomery (2011) reviewed four empirical qualitative studies focused on asylum seeking children from torture sur viving families in Denmark. She found that posttraumatic stress disorder symptom complex was insufficient while studying children as two of three children on arrival suffered from clinically important anxiety and one of three from sleep disturbance (Montgo mery, 2011). The researcher also seemed to be mediated through that of the parents. Montgomery (2011) found that although the high prevalence of psychological problems was considerably reduced over time, it was still higher nine years after arrival than what was found in populations of youth without a refugee background. Further arrival was exacerbated by experiences of discrimination in host countries although these children show ed While trauma experienced by refugee children can affect their ability to lea rn (Sinclair, 2001), that experienced by the parents le ft them unable to provide emotional and academic support to the children, (Ascher, 1985; Timm, 1994). Infants suffer ed from preverbal memories that led to nightmares, and toddlers were prone to languag e related

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41 learning problems and social confusion (Rong & Preissle, 1998; Sokoloff, Carlin, & Pham, 1984). Two studies discussed diagnosis, testing, and classification of refugee students as needing special services within schools and the problems associate d with inadequate validated tests and cultural issues surrounding special needs (Hurley, Warren, Habalow, Weber, & Tousignant, 2014; Lester & Anders, 2014) Trauma experienced during flight, in refugee cam ps, and during resettlement cause d refugee students to be distrustful and fearful of people in authority, including teachers (Hynes, 2003; Igoa, 1995), and early educational response support ed emotional and social healing by creating a sense of normalcy, hope, and routine (Sinclair, 2001). E ssentializing refugees as victims of trauma and requiring mental health (Matthews, 2008) rendered them as weak and vulnerable instead of violated by political and personal oppressions (Rutter, 2006) and educational programs that respect ed the native cult ures of refugee students and allow ed them plenty of time to adjust and learn the language we re the most effective (Eisenbruch, 1990; Nguyen, Messe, & Stollak, 1999) in terms of resettlement and acculturation. Identity Issues Some education research has ex plored teen identity issues among refugees and how identity help ed or hinder ed academic outcomes using identity formation, identity negotiation, and acculturation as theoretical lenses to analyze data. Participants in various studies reported that identity conflict was a major issue faced by them during the resettlement period and was accompanied by feelings of invisibility, marginalization, and alienation ( Bal, 2014; Roxas & Roy, 2012b; D vila, 2014; Trickett & Birman, 2005;

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42 Uptin, Wright, & Harwood, 2014; Wallitt, 2008), which related directly to their academic outcomes. For recent refugees from non European countries, identity seemed to be largely assigned by the host country based on majoritarian narratives, instead of being assumed or created by the stu dent. It wa s not always easy for African, Asian, and Middle Eastern refugees to slip unnoticed into the dominant culture in the U .S. due to their phenotype and/or religious symbols such as hijabs, conservative clothing, and fasting during Ramadan (McBrien 2005). Many Africans we re perceived to be African Americans, Asians as model minorities ( Thorstensson D vila, 2014; Wallitt, 2008) and those from Islamic cultures tend ed to be associated with violence and terrorism (Asali, 2003; Carter, 1999; McM urtrie et al., 2001; Wingfie ld & Karaman, 2001). It seemed as if identities of refugee students we re foregone conclusions and they receive d an assigned identity based on societies majoritarian stories regarding race, culture, language, and religion Identi ty issues have been linked to a high dropout rate among refugees, including poor self perceptions of academic abilities (House, 2001), antisocial behavior and rejection by peers (French & Conrad, 2001), lack of academic preparation before entering U.S. sch ools, lack of future goals, feeling unsafe at school, poverty, and hostile social environments (Portes & Rumbaut, 2001) while some adolescent refugees viewed their search for identity as an obstacle to academic success (Erikson, 1968; Tollefson, 1989). Us affected African refugees in Canada and studied how their identities and learning outcomes were affected by untreated migration related stresses, prejudice, marginalization, racism, and i nappropriate grade placements leading to feelings of

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43 rejection, frustration, inadequacy and eventually dropping out even when they did not intend to drop out. In the cases of refugees from Bosnia and Russia (Mosselson, 2007; Trickett & Birman, 2005), stude nts largely adopted American ways and mannerisms, and both studies found positive correlations between assimilation and academic outcomes. The researchers partially attributed the correlation to the fact that refugees from Bosnia and Russia had the same ph enotype as the majority of their American peers and blended in easily with the rest of the White students in terms of how they looked and what they wore. Using semi structured interviews with 15 Bosnian female students and a feminist framework, Mosselson ( 2007) found that overwhelmingly all her participants suffered from depression in spite of being highly motivated to succeed in school. Her participants stated that educational achievements and opportunities were central to their identities in the U.S. and gave them some control over their futures. They also stated that one way to transform their identities from foreigners was to become A grade students. In keeping with current migration trends, recent literature show ed that African refugee students whose ed ucation l ay at the intersection of several marginalizing factors such as race, color, language, religion, and class we re the most researched group ( Chadderton & Edmonds, 2014; Dooley, 2009; Dooley & Thangaperumal, 2011; Hatoss, anu, 2008; Lester & Arnold, 2014; MacNevin, 2012; Roxas, 2010; Ro y & Ro xas 201 1 ). Two qualitative studies that focused on Somali students (Oikonomidoy, 2010; Roxas & Roy, 2012a) both reported that academic outcomes for refugee students were negatively aff ected by racism, low expectations, segregation from mainstream students, and lack of respect from teachers and peers. Somali female students in a qualitative study

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44 met with constant and continued resistance from school staff when they wore Islamic hijabs a nd long skirts (Roxas & Roy, 2012b). The students reported that school administrators and teachers insisted that they remove their hijabs and wear school mandated trousers instead of long skirts. The participants viewed these polices as discriminatory and in conflict with their religious identity and rep orted spending several loss of precious learning time away from the classroom. a nd obstacles of 30 Sudanese refugee students using a mixed methods approach. Their study used an acculturation model and revealed that racism, interrupted schooling, and English language literacy were the most difficult barriers faced by the students but a lso revealed the resiliency, determination, and humanitarian motivation in their choice of careers that mostly involved helping other people in Australia or Sudan. d the ways in which female Sudanese refugee students we re pe rceived by their high schools as transgressive and how transgression became a liberatory invitation for students and teachers as means of negotiations and reconstruction of identities as postulated by hooks (1994).Using the medium of ethnocinema, the young Sudanese women in the study showed that they had an understanding of transgression as political education and practice of freedom and how it frustration at being exc luded ; t he Sudanese women stated that teachers did not ask them to share their knowledge of transgression and negotiation and the different positionalities they learned to negotiate schools as very dark Africans especially as those experiences

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45 would have b een helpful for the future waves of similar students (Harris, 2011). In another similar study with seven Somali female high school students in the U.S. Oikonomidoy (2010) found that they failed to identify with the material taught at their school and its relevance to their lives. The participants described their most supportive revealed negative outcomes similar to the Somali and Sudanese students but due to different reasons. The nine female and five male Cambodian students reported that schools and teachers assumed that since they were Asian there would be no academic problems based on common model minority stereo types (Wallitt, 2008). The students also reported that they felt invisible and ignored academically, socially, emotionally, and ethnically. The curriculum and school culture excluded them and this eventually led some of the participants to drop out. There was one comparative research study conducted by Guerrero and Tinkler (2010) in two countries, Colombia and the U.S. This study rev ealed that refugee adolescents we re not passive victims but we re actively involved in reconstructing their identities and mean ings of experiences through social interaction. This anthropological study was carried out in Bogot and California with comparable refugee participants from middle and high schools. All participants were given digital cameras and trained to use them in or der to express themselves and document their lives. The results were used in discussions and eventually were accompanied by written narratives. Themes such as freedom, education, belief in opportunities, power, hegemony, and safety recurred in both groups.

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46 Identity formation and negotiation among refugee students is marked by resistance and lack of mutual accommodation between two groups refugees who do not assimilate with the dominant group and the dominant group that is unprepared to adapt its systems and structures to better meet the needs of all groups living together in the plural society (Berry, 1991) Furthermore, identities of refugee children we re closely linked to their families and social groups within their ethnic community and the demands made b y society seem ed to indicate that students must choose between their home and dominant cultures. The Institution of School Schools we re centers for acculturation and help ed in dealing with cultural bereavement (Eisenbruch, 1990) as well as one of the most schools also provide d spaces for building relationships with a new culture and community (Dagenais, Beyon, & Mathis, 2008), but this wa s a lon g and slow process that should not be rushed. In their study with young Sudanese refugees in Australia, Cassity and Gow (2005) found that schools we re spaces where young refugees can come to terms with their trauma of migration and resettlement and learn t o transition into citizenship and belonging in a multicultural society. However, schools as institutions also represent ed a challenge to refugees in terms of language, content speci fic vocabulary, and culture and were viewed as barriers to learning (Miller, 2007). Therefore when schools we re inadequately funded and unprepared to provide for the learning needs o f refugees, they we re also perceived as a barrier to social and educational capital (Cassity & Gow, 2005). From the perspective of adolescent and almost adult refugees, schools we re

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47 viewed as institutions that could provide crucial access to further and future opportunities and alienation from schools impeded their life outcomes (Block, Cross, Riggs, & Gibbs, 2014). Amid all the clamor of testi ng, accountability and competition in many Western public systems, s chools too have to constantly work within the constraints of balancing economic development with social justice and equity as Woods (2009) and Fraser (1997) stated in their conceptual rese arch. This dissertation, guided by the premise that education must not only be equitable but also socially just and society must provide more opportunities for success to those groups who have most often been the victims of inequity (Rawls, 1971) finds sup education where she state d that education must be recognitive and redistributive to be socially just. Recognitive justice implies recognition of various cultural backgrounds of stu dents and redistributive implied an equitable distribution of resources (Fraser, 1997; Woods, 2009). For refugee students then the implications extend ed to realistic and equitable distribution of funds and resources that would enable their full participation in schooling and ther efore future potentials (Luke, Woods, & Weir, 2008). In his conceptual research on refug ee education Woods (2009) imbued schools with three main responsibilities towards this most underserved and ignored population of students: 1) to educate 2) to provide a site for the development of civic responsibility and 3) to act as a site for welfare with responsibility (p. 81). Couch (2005) further propose d that a socially just education for refugees must be framed with a human rights approach that acknowledges pas t trauma and a right to a normal life instead of a service model based on needs and categories as characterized by majoritarian stories.

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48 M ajoritarian stories about refugees also pervade schools where they are consciously or unconsciously support ed by policies and staff members, which ha ve implications not only for refugees but also for the other students. In their theoretical essay on ethics and policy, Hattam and Every (2010) argue d that the education of refugees cannot be separated from the edu cation offered to young people in school, about refugees. They argue that experiences of refugee students in school we re highly determined by the way refugees we re conceptualized and represented in public culture and how these representations we re accepted or contested by schools. The ethical question raised by some researchers (Christie & Sidhu, 2002; Hattam & E very, 2010; West Newman, 2004) wa s that teachers working with refugees operate d in a terrain of negative emotions such as fear of the Other anger, and White defensiv eness (Aveling, 2002) but they we re rarely provided with the appropriate or adequate resources to join and support this humanitarian endeavor of teaching refugees (Bauman, 2004; Pinson & Arnot, 2007). Teacher Perspectives and Recommendations for Practitioners Research literature with pers pectives from teachers who t each refugee students is growing as Western countries continue to witness an influx of refugees from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East (McBrien, 2011; UNHCR, 2013; Woods, 2009). The overall findings show ed that teachers expressed a need for refugee related pro fessional development ( Baldwin, 2015; Kanu, 2008; MacNevin, 2012) and also expressed their inability to cope with the burden of being teachers, counselors, psychologists and life coaches for their students whose needs surpassed their capabilities and skill s (Kanu, 2008; Miller, W i ndle, & Yazdanpanah, 2014; Roxas, 2010 ; Thorstensson, 2013 ). Some

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49 teachers expressed frustration at the lack of training, materials, and support from (M acNevin, 2012; Roxas, 2010, 2011c; Roy & Roxas, 2 011). This lack of information wa had recently admitted refugee children from Burundi. Her main finding was that teacher s posttraumatic stress disorder as inappropriate behavior that needed to be punished. The Burundian elementary school children in her study who cried loudly during the school day were often le ft alone by the teacher in a room by themselves to teach them a lesson instead of seeking counseling or psychological support on their behalf. This harmful and inappropriate response could have been avoided by increasing teacher awareness about refugee tra uma. In their qualitative study using interviews, Trueba et al. (1990) found that teachers and administrators perceived refugee students as having low intelligence, being the most needy, and being learning disabled, although no disabilities could be diagno sed by school personnel. In general, teachers viewed Southeast Asian parents as uninvolved and 1983; Smith Hefner, 1990), which the authors explained was due to the fac t that most parents had never attended school and had no frame of reference for parental involvement, or were preoccupied with survival in the U.S. Furthermore, cultural notions about the role of teachers as unquestionable education experts prevented paren ts from

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50 Research showed that teachers either made excessive generalizations about immigrants and viewed all immigrants as a homogenous group (DeCapua & Marshall, 2010, 2011) plagued by linguistic and cultural issues, or that teachers were staunch believers of the American cultural script of bootstrapping and meritocracy and thought that if only the refugee students worked harder and their families cared more about educa tion they could achieve their goals (Roxas, 2010; Roxas, 2011a, 2011b; Roy & Roxas, 2011). Teachers in the same studies shared that behavior management was the most problematic aspect of teaching refugee students, especially the behaviors of Islamic studen ts who resisted school rules about dress codes and social interactions (Roxas, 2010; Roxas, 2011b, 2011c; Roy & Roxas, 2011). However, when Ferfolja (2009) conducted focus groups with approximately 30 pre service teachers who worked with refugees in Austr alia, the findings were helpful and overall positive. Ferfolja (2009) conducted her research within a teacher education program that included academic service learning for pre service teachers. Based on a principle of reciprocal learning, young refugee stu dents received academic and sociocultural support in small groups from pre service teachers and the pre service teachers in turn learned to work with low literacy students. The pre service teachers related to teaching, students participants noted the resiliency and hard work of their students and more significantly being associated with their identities. From a pedagogical perspective the pre service teachers stated that they built their teacher capital by learning how to break down tasks, provide scaffolds, plan lessons

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51 so that their refugee students had spaces for questions and comments and other nuances of teaching that may be overlooked when practice teaching in a class of twenty five students. In their two theoretical papers on guidelines for best teaching practices for refugee students, DeCapua & Marshall (2010 2011) suggest different ways that teachers can understand the background and cultures of students with interrupted formal education. Their guidelines include information about learning differences between individualistic and collectivist cultures, indepe ndent and group learning, competition and interdependence, individual and group accountability, oral and written traditions of learning, and culturally relevant content material, among other strategies. Many of these guidelines reflect ed the tenets of cult urally relevant pedagogy (Gay, 2002) and culturally relevant teaching (Ladson Billings, 1995) two frameworks that have been used extensively by several researchers (DeCapua & Marshall, 2010, 2011; Oikonomidoy, 2010; Roxas, 2011a, 2011b, 2011c; Szente, Hoo t & Taylor, 2006) to analyze teaching practices or to frame guidelines for teachers. Taking culturally relevant pedagogy a little further Roy and Roxas (2011) and Wallitt (2008) examine d student, parent, and teacher discourses using CRT (Ladson Billings & Tate, 1995) to examine deficit perspectives where race is centered in discussions and analyses. These two studies also use d counterstories from Cambodian students (Wallitt, 2008) and two refugee families (Roy & Roxas, 2011) to examine school and teaching p olicies. In their quantitative study of 61 teachers in Australia working with low literacy refugee students, Windle and Miller (2012) surveyed content area teachers about the strategies they used in classrooms. Their findings showed that teachers preferre d

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52 discussion strategies over scaffolding and they were more likely to engage in strategies that demanded an active role of themselves than of students. Less than half the teachers surveyed expected students to develop and present oral texts or provided opp ortunities to them to develop multimedia presentations (p. 325). The authors stated that teachers lacked resources in the types of texts available to them as well as time to create their own more bloody time And some PD Teachers also stated that they felt conflicted between balancing curriculum with language needs (Miller, Windle, & Yazdanpanah, 2014). Dooley an d Thangaperumal (2011) conducted a qualitative study of teachers in four schools that taught newly arrived adolescents. These schools used intensive English literacy t eaching practices for low literate refugee students. The ideological model considers that reading and writing are not only technical capabilities but also social and cultural ways of knowing that are embedded in relations of power and privilege (Street, 19 93). The researchers found that teachers increased and strengthened their control of instruction to enable mastery of technical capabilities in basic literacy but these strategies tended to marginalize and humiliate the participants in the study. The autho rs suggested that a critical approach should be added to the technical one to transform relations of linguistic and racial power. Students spoke of being laughed at for their accent or for asking clarifying questions when teachers spoke too quickly and exp ressed anger and frustration at their inability to formulate answers quickly to respond to teacher questions.

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53 their speech laughed at to build student goals and self esteem. Another teacher repeatedly gratefulness as a motivator for success. This n otion of appropriate gratitude wa s also recorded by Harris (2011) in her study with Sudanese girls discussed earlier in this reinforced power structures tended to evoke emotions of quiet rage, moral failure, marginalization, and cynicism. A similar study carried out in Canada with African refugees about teaching literacy practices recommended a critical pedagogic approach (Ibrah im, 1999, 2004) that capitalized on students and other power relations in the West. Critical pedagogical approaches encourage d students to develop consciousness of freedom, recognize authoritarian tendencies and connect knowledge to power and the ability to take constructive action (Giroux, 2010) and also serve to strengthen their identities. Perspectives of Refugee Parents and Families Parental involvement in school is a critical factor of student success in Western systems (McBrien, 2011) and particu larly probl ematic when parents we re unable or unaware of this pathway to advocacy for their children. Parental involvement in schools varie d among cultures and four qualitative studies that used interviews and focus groups with South Asian parents revealed some usefu l perspectives. All groups of parents honored and respected teachers (Blakely, 2003; Hwa Froelich & Westby, 2003; Smith Hefner, 1993; Timm, 1994) but thought it was disrespectful to make suggestions to them about their children. Parents also largely expres sed their trust in teachers and schools and

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54 expected them to do what was in the best interest of the children (Lee & Green, 2008; McBrien, 2011; Walker Dalhouse & Dalhouse, 2009). Some studies also found that one of the main reasons of miscommunication bet ween home and school and lack of Gifford, & MacDonald Wilmsen, 2009; Hwa Froelich & Westby, 2003 ; Tadesse, 2014 ). Other reasons that kept parents away from school were cit ed as preoccupation with finding employment, limited understanding of education systems, discrimination, and feelings of isolation from dominant society (Atwell et al., 2009; Lewig, Arney, & Salveron, 2010; Tadesse, 2014; Walker Dalhouse & Dalhouse, 2009) Parents were dangers such as drugs, gangs and violence (Dumbrill, 2008). Lee and Green (2008) conducted a qualitative study of ten Hmong families where each family h ad a high school senior on track to graduate in 2007. They divided 10 seniors into two groups, those who cioeconomic status or education during elementary and middle school and wanted them to go to college but depended on older siblings, friends and teachers for educational s upport in high school. In separate studies, parents of refugee students in Australia and Canada expressed the same concern regarding discipline issues. Both groups of African and Asian parents encountered discipline problems with their children that they attributed to the inability to use corporal punishment in the West (Dumbrill, 2008; Lewig et al., 2010). The parents in

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55 disobey and challenge parental authority and associat ed meetings at school as in school was also associated with lack of academic rigor by some parents from Somalia (Birman, Trickett, & Bacchus, 2001). Two studies co llected counterstories from refugee parents about schools and provide useful insights into the educational needs of their children. The youngest group of refugee children studied in the literature researched was from a Head Start program, which accepted ch ildren from birth to five years of age. Four African refugee mothers from different countries and two Head Start teachers were interviewed ( Tadesse, 2014; Tadesse, Hoot, & Watson Thompson, 2009). The mothers felt that their children were assessed, misinter preted, and stereotyped because of their cultural styles of talking, responding, and turn taking. Teachers in that study however felt unequipped and unable to differentiate assessments based on school policies. The mothers suggested hiring African aides to liaise and bridge cultural gaps and to increase communication between school and home. The importance of the cultural liaison was also reiterated by McBrien (2011), whose study evaluated a program that supported refugee families from Somalia, Iran, and Vi liaisons in the program were an invaluable part of the refugee families and helped not only with school matters but also with other resettlement processes. Unfortunately, this type of service wa s not w idely available in schools and wa s a strain on budgets. Some of the findings in these studies from different Western countries indicate d patterns regarding parental involvement that should be taken into consideration to increase their acc ess to schools and teache rs. The most important finding wa s that though

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56 parents may not verbally indicate or physically be present in schools, they are genuinely lt t hat they are not heard and were dismissed as being indifferent due to stereotypes and prejudices (McBrien, 2011). Most of these studies include d voices from a small number of participants, two to forty, from a single ethnic group (Roxas & Roy, 2012a, 2012b; Roy & Roxas, 2011b, 2011c; Tadesse, Hoot & Watson Thompson, 2009; Walker Dalhouse & Dalhouse, 2009) and only two authors Kanu (2008) and MacNevin (2012) address ed qualitative methodolog y issues related to credibility, trustworthiness or generalizability. Two studies used a quantitative design (Trickett & Birman, 2005; Windle & Miller, 2012); Trickett and Birman (2005) quantified the levels of acculturation and assimilation of 110 Russian refugee students and related these levels to aca demic outcomes while Windle and Miller Eacersall, (2012) used a mixed methods design to investigate linguistic and educational socialization of Sudanese students. Focus gr oups, interviews, and observations were the main tools used by researchers in most studies. Implications for the Dissertation The l iterature reviewed in the above sections uncovered two important findings for my dissertation. A majoritarian story emerged about refugee students that helped understand how this population was represented publicly and in schools. To counter dominant narratives about marginalized populations it is important to first understand what it is and how it has evolved. Furthermore, lit erature from the West has consistently

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57 indicated that refugees are first and foremost classified as ELLs without taking into consideration other aspects of their historical and social contexts. Majoritarian Stories Refugees are overwhelmingly portrayed as victims on the one hand (Elliott & Segal, 2012; Ferfolja & Vickers, 2010; Harrell Bond, 1999; McBrien, 2005) and as Christie, 2007, p. 12) on the other, which ma de their pu blic locations and representations complex and sometimes contradictory. Some of the majoritarian narrativ e about refugees frequently used pejorative terms such as illegals (Clyne, 2003), terrorists (Pickering, 2001), queue jumpers (Gelber, 2003), recipient s of aid (Harrell Bond, 1999), and burdensome and threatening (Gitlin et al., 2003; Klocker, 2004). However, largely vilified as the Other in domina nt narratives, this population wa s all but invisible when it c ame to education policy and structures (Sidhu & Taylor, 2007). In the Australian Department of Education policy, refugees we re clustered or buried with English Language Learners newly arrived migrants and students from non English speaking backgrounds (Sidhu & Taylor, 2007) while on the website of t he U.S. Department of Education, a search for refugee related documents yielded only links to school districts around the nation and the facts or information sheets they have created for their staff (Ed.gov search results, 2014). The majoritarian story ab out refugees in public representation is that of victims and welfare, while from an education policy perspective the majoritarian story is marked by absence there is no majoritarian policy rhetoric about this population and therefore it is rendered invisib le. Furthermore, the Department of Education groups refugees with

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58 English language learners which implies that although their language needs are recognized in policy, other aspects associated with significantly interrupted schooling, low literacy, older a nd adult students, and mental trauma are not acknowledged. This practice of ignoring and marginalizing refugees in policy frameworks places them at a significant disadvantage in terms of federal responsibility towards equitable funding (Christie & Sidhu, 1 996; Sidhu & Taylor, 2007). If a group is ignored by policy makers or mixed with other disadvantaged grou ps such as migrant students or language learners then government agencies do not have to create specific or specialized systems and funding to educate refugee students. In this contex t, refugees will compete with ML Ls for education funding and will also be essentialized as language learners similar to other immigrant and multilingual students. Several researchers (Christie & Sidhu, 2002; Ferfolja, 2009; Kanu, 2008; McBrien, 2005; Sidhu & Taylor, 2007; Rutter, 2006) discuss ed the need to create a portrait about refugee students that t ook into consideration their unique histories and journeys and Christie and Sidhu (2004) argue d that it wa s difficult for s chools and teachers to find counternarratives amid the negative or invisible portrayals of this population. From a social justice perspective, countering the invisibility of refugees using their narratives is important and research reinforces the need to p osition them not as powerless victims but as human beings with agency who carry an innate knowledge about what is best for them (Hornstein, 2010). Refugees as English Language Learners Although most research grouped refugees toget her with immigrants and s uggested that they have similar motivations and characteristics (Cheng, 1998; Delgado Gaitan,

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59 1994; Portes & Rumbaut, 20 01; Rong & Preissle, 1998), it i s necessary to separate refugees, as their needs and outcomes vary vastly from immigrants. Ferfolja (200 9) state d that Western school cultures and systems are created to address the child student and this place d limitations on how schools c ould addre ss the growing diversity among M LLs and call ed for new and more relevant policies that deal t identities, new economies and workplaces, new technologies, diverse communities and complex cultures (Christie & Sidhu, 2002, p. 9). There is a strong correlation between alienation and insufficient English language skills (Nicassio, 1983; Oikonomidoy, 2 010), and although students viewed English language acquisition to be the most important factor in their future success (Dooley & Mosselson, 2007) more than half found it to be the hardest skill to acquire (Pryor, 2001). Refugee students like other multilingual learners bec a me competent in spoken English but lag ged considerably in academic English (Allen, 2002; Cheng, 1998) and as a result get tracked into special education or low level classes ( Hurley et al., 2013; Lester & Anders, 2014; Surez Orozco, 1989; Trueba et al., 1990). However, fluency in English, viewed as a symbol of belonging to the new culture, wa s usually accompanied by a loss of native language use, fluency, and development thus increasing cultural dissonance (Olsen, 2000). Often research literature on M LLs views all language learners as one group that includes refugees but there is a need to se parate forced migrants from others to explore immigrants, refugees are considered to be involuntary immigrants (Ogbu & Simons,

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60 1998) whose acculturation to the host coun try is more difficult and oppositional than that of voluntary immigrants. By classifying refugees solely as M LLs, the education system effectively ignores their other significant learning assets and needs; furthermore, the majoritarian narrative in the U.S conflates limited proficiency in English with limited intelligence and M LLs are often academically and socially isolated from other students until they learn enough English to be mainstreamed (Callahan, 2013). This practice of segregating M LLs ignores so cioemotional needs of refugees and leaves the English language or homeroom teachers to deal with mental health, cultural, social, and emotional issues in addition to low literacy. Improving access to learning by recognizing and building on the lived experi ences of refugee students will require reframing education policies that support an additive approach that does not require initial academic and social isolation of M LLs (Callahan, 2013). Gaps and Future Directions There were four distinct perspectives abo ut refugees and education in the literature reviewed. Firstly, researchers and academics used conceptual studies to demonstrate various ways in which Western policy and public schools fail and hinder refugees from reaching their potential. The second persp ective was that of teachers who overall felt unequipped and lacked support to work with this population of students. The third perspective was that of refugee parents who overall viewed schools as being better than what they ever had in their home countrie s and a place where their children could learn to achieve the American dream. The fourth perspective was that of the students. This fourth perspective is of particular interest because literature reveals that there is a gap in the narrative from adolescent refugee students, especially from countries with the

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61 largest number of refugees in this decade Burma, Bhutan, and Iraq. Researchers need to ask this group of students how they adapt and how schools can help them achieve their goals. The other gap is the a bsence of ongoing and focused discussions between all stakeholders administrators, teachers, students, parents, and families about school expectations and ways in which schools and families can work together to achieve common goals. Conclusion Only one st udy by Roxas (2011c) discussed refugee teaching and learning from an asset based perspective, where the teacher and refugee students found culturally responsive strategies and activities to build a classroom community that nurtured success and care. There is a plethora of research and books that inform people about things that are wrong with our schools, and what does not work, and the inability to make changes due to systemic and political constraints. However, there is a need to focus research on strategi es and policies that will work and positively affect student outcomes and one of the ways to do so is to understand the perspective of the students. Learning about their goals, perceptions, and future plans w ould help schools and districts in creating poli cies and refugee focused programs that respond to needs as expressed by refugees. At the same time it is important to counter the dominant deficit narrative about refugees that represents them as victims or charitable cases. Deviating from a traditional mo del where education is imposed in one size fits all formula toward a backwards design model will help refugee students to find hope and strength in their educational journeys and eventually help them build successful and healthy lives in their adopted coun tries. Nieto

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62 ook her up on it.

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63 CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY The goal of this qualitative study was to understand the educational experiences and perceptions of adolescent refugee students. The research questions stated below were grounded in c ritical r ace t heory and p ostcolonial t heory: 1. What are the educational experiences of adole scent refugee students after being resettled in the United States? 2. How do adolescent refugee students conceptualize and perceive schooling, education, and success and how do they plan to achieve their career goals? 3. In what ways do education practices, syst ems, structures, and institutions impact the perceptions and experiences of adolescent refugee students? Research Design This qualitative research study was an exploratory multiple case study (Stake, 2006; Yin, 2003). Stake stated that the principle intere st in a multiple case study was the common phenomenon exhibited in the cases, which meant that all cases needed to have experienced the same phenomenon, that of being a refugee student herein He further stated that each case as well as the collection of c ases must be vigorously understood, individually and collectively, before conclusions are drawn. Yin (2003) defined case study as an empirical inquiry that investigated a contemporary phenomenon within its real life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context were not clearly evident. According to Yin, case study methods are used when the researcher wants to cover the contextual conditions as they are believed to be highly relevant to the study.

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64 This study gathered data from nine adolescent refugee students using classroom observations, semi structured interviews, and other artifacts such as essays, classroom, and homework assignments. The goal of this case study, bounded by one academic year and situated at two high schools, was to explore, understand, and add to the knowledge base of a complex phenomenon (Newman, Ridenour, Newman,& DeMarco, 2003) of the schooling, educational experiences, and perceptions of l ate arrival refugee students, or as those refugees who arrived during their high school or late adolescence years into the United States, between the ages of 14 and 21. Case study as a research method guided the research design, data collection techniques, and data analysis of this disse rtation (Yin, 2003). Research Objective The objective for this study was to explore a contemporary phenomenon within a real life context (Yin, 2003) and while the presence of refugee students in U.S. public schools was not a new phenomenon, the diversity i n ethnic origin was recent as compared to that of earlier waves of refugees from Europe and Russia ( Mosselson, 2007; Trickett & Birman, 2005) The earlier refugees tended to be White, mostly Christian, and from developed countries while the more recent inf lux of refugees tended to be largely from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East (Elliott & Sehgal, 2012). Unlike European and Russian refugees, research suggested that newer refugees had difficulty in blending with the general population due to their darker sk in and visible religious symbols, such as the hijab, long skirts, and fasting during Ramadan (McBrien, 2005; Roy & Roxas 201 1 ). Linguistically, many refugee students spoke little or no English, and several had large

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65 gaps in their formal education due to time spent in flight and in refugee camps ( DeCapua & Marshall, 2010, 2011 ). Participants Stake (2006) stated that to gain optimum benefits of a multiple case study the number of cases selected should be between four and ten. If the number of cases are les s than four then data may not reveal enough information about the phenomenon or situations while too many cases provided more uniqueness of interactivity than can be understood. Stake (2006) provided three main criteria for selecting cases based on a) rele vance of case to phenomenon, b) diversity of cases across contexts, and c) the ability of each case to provide good opportunities to learn about the complexity and contexts. Recruitment of participants for this study was a gradual process that started wit h getting to know potential participants. I started to volunteer in two high schools in November 2013 in an attempt to understand the cultures and populations. Gaining access to participants involved interactions with formal and informal gatekeepe rs (Seidman, 2006) and the process was slow and bureaucratic. Permission to volunteer in each high school was preceded by a background check carried out by the administration of each high school. On passing the background check, connections were made with the principal and teachers of each school. At Salamat High School 1 I volunteered in two separate English Language Development classrooms with different groups of students with varying levels of English language competencies and at Alafia High School permi ssion was granted to volunteer in one Social Studies classroom with freshmen and 1 Names of cities, refugee camps, schools, and persons have been changed to protect the identities of the participants; only names of countries have been retained to facilitate understanding of geographical migrations.

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66 sophomores. Approval from three classroom teachers at the two schools for volunteering was vital as the intrusion in their classrooms needed to not only be tolerated but also welcomed. Furthermore, to make the relationship reciprocal, the teachers and students needed to be able to benefit from my experiences and presence in their classes. Since the research goal was to study the phenomenon in its real life context it was important to understand the population, demographics, philosophies, and cultures of the two high schools. Volunteering in classrooms that had refugee students allowed the s tudents to become familiar with seeing and including me in their discussions. The importance of getting to know the participants as individual human beings prior to collecting data cannot be overemphasized. After several months of getting to know each othe r, all eligible students were invited to participate in my study. Participants had to meet two criteria to be eligible. Firstly, they should have arrived in the U.S. within five years prior to data collection, in or after 2009 and secondly, they should ha ve be en enrolled in high school grades 9, 10, 11 or 12. Since the largest number of incoming refugees to the U.S. in 2012 was from Burma, Bhutan, Burundi, and Iraq ( Martin & Yankay, 2013 ), efforts were made to have these nations represented in the sample. Sampling A convenience purposive sample scheme was used, where convenience meant ant that the research was focused specifically on late arrival adolescent refugee students from Burma, Bhutan, Burundi, and Iraq as there was scant information available in education research about refugee students from these countries. Each case met two conditions; the

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67 participant had be a refugee and enrolled in high school at the time of data collection. Efforts were made to select a minimum of four cases as recommended by Stake (2006) and eventually five more cases were added until data saturation was reached. Saturation in purposive sampling occurred when the addition of more cases did not result in new information that could be used in theme development (Morse, 1995). An important factor that was taken into consideration was the level of English spok en and understood by the participants. Participants who were able to express themselves in any languages spoken by me English, French, Hindi, Marathi, or Gujarati were selected to avoid the intermediary of interpreters. Having an interpreter present durin g the interview process would have affected the quality and depth of conversation and could possibly have inhibited the participants from expressing their opinions. Another justification for a higher proficiency in English was that students who had had the time to learn English well enough to participate in this research would also have been here long enough to provide valuable information and insights on their schooling experiences. While most participants in the study were able to communicate in English d uring the interviews, three participants used a combination of Hindi and English and one asked for a Burmese interpreter to be present. The sample for the study consisted of nine refugee students and was divided into three ethnic groups as follows. Bhutane se: three participants were born in Nepali refugee camps; their parents had fled from Bhutan. Burmese: three participants were born in Burma and two were born in Thailand; all parents had fled from Burma.

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68 Eritrean: one participant was born in Sudan of Eri trean parents and self identified as Eritrean. Although only recently arrived refugees, in 2009 or later, were to be included in the sample, two participants who had arrived in 2007 were included in the study because of their desire to participate as well as the fact that they were both Burmese, an ethnicity about which very little is documented in education research. Data Collection Case studies are rich and thick in description and are grounded in deep and varied sources of information (Hancock & Algozzine, 2006), including, but not limited to, quotes from participants, anecdotes, excerpts from interviews, and other sources that can create mental images of the phenomenon being studied. For multiple case study design, Yin (2003) has suggested that r esearchers use the logic of replication, where the procedure for data collection is repeated for each case. The sources of data for this study were semi structured interviews, classroom tes. On receiving school review boards, a journal of reflection and field notes were maintained following each classroom and home visit. This journal served the purpose of reflection, critique, self analysis, and other notes that were relevant to the study; field notes were used to record classroom participation and observation data about the participants. Three of the participants agreed to share their classroom and homewo rk assignments but unfortunately they were not relevant to the study and were excluded from the analysis. After all the required permissions were received, semi structured interviews and follow up interviews

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69 took place towards the end of the academic year from June 2014 through August 2014. Each participant was interviewed at least once for at least one hour each and seven participants were contacted for one or multiple follow up interviews. The follow up interview was mainly to confirm facts and ask a few more questions that arose after the initial interviews were transcribed. The interview protocol (Appendix A) was created using the research questions and the theoretical framework of this study and was used to document the unusual and ordinary experiences of the participants (Stake, 2006) using case level matrices (Appendix B) and cross case meta matrices (Appendix C) Each participant was also asked to complete a demographic survey (Appendix A). Although the demographic survey was created in English the pa rticipants answered the questions orally and I created a table with the demographic information from all participants. Information from the demographic survey offered an overview of the sample and a brief history of their journeys from birth to resettlemen t in the United States as shown below in Table 1. All n ames of persons, schools, and cities have been changed to protect the identity of participants. Only the names of the countries have been retained to help readers understand the geographical location a nd provenance of participants. As seen in Table 1 below, all but two students ( n=7 ) had some prior formal schooling before coming to the U.S. either in a refugee camp school ( n=6 ) or a local religious school ( n=1 ). Two Burmese female participants, Amina and Shwe, had no access to any school due to financial and immigration constraints; however, both had been home schooled by family members until their arrival in Liberty Town USA at the age of 20 and 8 respectively. The participants from Bhutan ( n=3 ) had all studied in a school located inside Dori refugee camp in Nepal, where the medium of instruction was

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70 English and Nepali was taught as a second language while the participant from Sudan ( n=1 ) had studied in Arabic with English as a second language. The pa rticipants from Burma ( n=3 ) had studied in schools inside refugee camps in Thailand where the medium of instruction was Burmese, Karen, Karenni, or English. One of the home schooled participants was taught in Hindi, Burmese, and English by her mother and t he other in Burmese and Mon languages. Table 1 : Demographic Characteristics of Participants Pseudonym, Gender and Ethnicity Languages Spoken Prior Education Grade/Age on arrival in Liberty Town Grade/Age at time of data collection (June August 2014) Anil, male, Bhutanese Nepali, English Some Dzhongkha, Hindi In Dori refugee camp, Nepal until 10 th grade Arrived in 2012 at age 20. Graduated High School from Salamat High School 2014 Jeevan, male, Bhutanese Nepali, English Some Dzhongkha, Hindi In Dori refugee camp, Nepal until 10 th grade Arrived in 2011 at age 18. Graduated High School from Salamat High School 2014 Mihir, male, Bhutanese Nepali, Hindi, English Some Sanskrit, Dzongkha In Dori refugee camp, Nepal until 7 th grade Arrived in 2009 at age 14. Entered 9 th grade in neighborhood high school; transferred to another neighborhood high school for Grade 11. Graduated High School from Salamat High School 2014

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71 Pseudonym, Gender and Ethnicity Languages Spoken Prior Education Grade/Age on arrival in Liberty Town Grade/Age at time of data collection (June August 2014) Khin, male, Burmese Burmese, Karen, English 0 5 years of age in Burma no schooling 5 16 years of age in Thailand and completed high school. Arrived in 2012 at age 17 and enrolled at Salamat High School. Senior at Salamat High School Myine, female, Burmese Burmese, Karenni, English In Thailand until Middle School Arrived in 2009 at age 14. Entered 11 th grade in neighborhood high school Senior at Salamat High School Amina, female, Burmese Hindi, Burmese, English No formal schooling and was homeschooled by mother Arrived in 2012 at age 20 Senior at Salamat High School Shwe, female, Burmese Karen, Burmese, Mon, English 0 8 years of age in Burma; some homeschooling Arrived in 2007 at age 9. Entered 3 rd grade in neighborhood elementary school. Sophomore at Alafia High School Htway, female, Burmese Poe Karen, Karen, Burmese, English In Thailand until 3 rd grade Entered 5 th grade in neighborhood elementary school. Sophomore at Alafia High School Rashid, male, Eritrean Tigriniya, Tigray, Bilen, Arabic, Hausa, English Islamic school in Sudan until 11 th grade Arrived in 2011 at age 17. Senior at Salamat High School

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72 Data were collected at two high schools within the same school district and a little background information about the schools would help the reader to better understand the context of the study. E nglish language learners, and academically underserved students with the educational High School website, 2014). Salamat High School also offered day and evening classes a nd staff and teachers had certifications and training that prepared them to teach adolescent multilingual learners (Salamat High School website, 2014). Alafia High School was more traditional in its set up in terms of buildings, curriculum, and activities where all students wore uniforms and class sizes varied from 20 to 30 students. Table 2 below shows a comparison of the schools based on their student demographics and enrollment. Table 2 : Comparison Table of Salamat and Alafia High Schools Variable Salamat High School Alafia High School Participants enrolled Anil, Jeevan, Mihir, Myine, Amina, Khin, Rashid Shwe, Htway Average distance from 1 mile 0.8 mile Grades offered 9 12 6 12 Total number of students 515 1074 Students qualifying for free and reduced lunch 63% 95% English Language Learners Almost 100% 70% Refugee students Data not available 10% Hispanic students 79% 77%

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73 Variable Salamat High School Alafia High School Black 8% 8% Asian American 11% 6% White 2% 5% Male 46% 52% Female 54% 48% Students over 18 years of age 69% NA Note. Demographic data in this table is reported from various websites that provide details about schools around the State and the U.S. (Great Schools, 2014; School Digger 2014; State Department of Education, 2014; Salamat High School website, 2014 & Alafia High School website, 2014). Data Analysis A multiple case study report could include individual case reports as well as cross case a nalysis (Stake, 2006). Data analysis for this study was started by transcribing all interviews verbatim, taking care to protect all identities by assigning pseudonyms to participants, families, schools, and cities. Each type of data (interviews, artifacts, observations) were analyzed using at least two types of techniques to triangulate the results. Leech and Onwuegbuzie (2008) have stated that utilizing multiple types of analyses not only alleviated potential researcher bias but also helped researchers to see data from multiple viewpoints. Single Case Study Analysis Each individual case was analyzed using three techniques, constant comparison analysis (Glaser & Strauss, 1967), classical content analysis (Berelson, 1952), and versus coding (Saldaa, 2013), described in the following paragraph. The entire interview transcript of a single participant was read several times prior to analysis. I contacted

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74 seven particip ants and read and translated sections of their interviews that needed clarification. This was followed by a constant comparison analysis (Glaser & Strauss, 1967), which is a technique used to generate a set of themes (Leech & Onwuegbuzie, 2008). Strauss and Corbin (1998) outlined three steps for conducting constant comparison analysis. The first st ep or open coding was where the data were coded into smaller chunks and a code was designated to each chunk; the next step was axial coding where codes were grouped into similar categories and the last step, known as selective coding, was where I used the codes and data segments to create a theory. The reliability of the coding scheme was strengthened at the onset of the process by asking a colleague to code two transcripts with me which was 22% of the total data collected. The colleague, also a qualitative researcher, and I discussed and negotiated agreements and disagreements about the codes until a consensus was reached. This process, known as interrater reliability, evaluated the degree of agreement of two observers of the same attributes or themes (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009). Following constant comparison analysis, the classical content analysis technique was conducted. Berelson (1952) defined classical content analysis as a research technique for the objective, systematic, and quantitative description of manifest content of communication. Holsti (1968) defined it as a technique for making inferences by systematically and objectively identifying specified characteristics of messages while Kerlinger (1986) defined it as a method of studying an d analyzing communication in a systematic, objective, and quantitative manner for the purpose of measuring variables. In the current study, classical content analysis was used to determine the frequency of codes generated and to learn which codes occurred more or less frequently in the data. Once the

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75 codes were generated using constant comparison analysis, they were counted and the frequency for each code was noted. The frequencies for each code helped in assessing what aspects of schooling emerged as most or least important to the participants. Based on the results of constant comparison and classical content analysis coding, a third technique, known as versus coding (Saldaa, 2013), was conducted to analyze each case. Saldaa (2013) stated that versus cod ing i s useful in instances where individuals were frequently in conflict within groups or systems and this technique helped to identify the elements that were in direct conflict with each other. Furthermore, Saldaa (2013) also recommended versus coding fo r research that used a critical perspective, as was done in this study. The versus coding technique in each case was used commitments to school, college, family, work, and community. After each single case was analyzed individually using three techniques, the data were readied for cross case analysis. The purpose of this study was not to present any one single case as exemplary or critical but to discover themes that wer e seen across cases and could lead to theory development. However, each single case was unique and is presented in the form of an abbreviated vignette (Yin, 1984) in the next chapter. Cross case Analysis Cross case analysis was a method that facilitated the comparison of commonalities and differences in the events, activities, and processes that were the units of analyses in single case studies (Khan & VanWynsberghe, 2008). Besides enhancing generalizability to other contexts, engaging in cross case analy sis also deepened the understanding of each case (Miles, Huberman, & Saldaa, 2014). In this study, cross case

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76 analysis revealed relationships between discrete cases, helped refine and develop concepts, and built or tested theory (Eckstein, 2002; Ragin, 19 97). Furthermore, cross case analysis allowed me to compare nine cases from two schools and three different ethnic groups to gather critical evidence that moved the data from codes and them es to findings and implications (Appendix D). Cross case analyses c ould be approached in two different ways; variable oriented or case oriented (Ragin, 1997). In variable oriented research, variables and their interrelationships with each other took center stage and less case to case comparison was done (Miles, Huberman, & Saldaa, 2014) while in a case oriented approach, the case was considered as a whole entity (Ragin, 1997). Configurations, associations, causes and effects within the case are studied first and then a comparative analysis of all the cases in the study is carried out (Miles, Huberman, & Saldaa, 2014). A nalysis of data in this study used a combination of variable and case oriented approaches in the cross case analysis. Miles, Huberman, and Saldaa (2014) stated that it was desirable to combine case and var iable oriented approaches and suggested a strategy called stacking comparable cases (p. 103). Using this strategy, each case was coded using a standard set of variables or themes and then matrices and other displays were used to analyze each case in dept h (Appendices B & C) After each case was deeply analyzed and understood by me the case level displays were stacked in a meta matrix, which then permitted systematic comparison or condensation. Several meta matrices (Appendix B ) displayed the general data that emerged from single case analyses and allowed data from all cases to be partitioned or clustered (Miles, Huberman, & Saldaa, 2014). Partitioning codes meant

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77 breaking a theme into smaller parts or components while clustering meant grouping codes or t hemes that had similar characteristics as a step towards abstraction when particular codes are subsumed into more general themes (Miles, Huberman, & Saldaa, 2014). As data were partitioned and clustered according to the codes and themes that emerged from the single case analyses, a narrative appeared across each column and row of the meta matrix. Patterns, contrasts, and similarities were noted for further analysis using content analytic and contrast tables (Miles, Huberman, & Saldaa, 2014). A content ana lytic table was a matrix display that gathered all related and pertinent data from multiple cases into a single form for analysis while a contrast table brought together extremes, exemplars and outliers from all cases into one table. The techniques descri bed above were used with the main objective of generating meaning from data and moving me from analysis to drawing conclusions. Some of the strategies suggested by Miles, Huberman, & Saldaa (2014) that allowed for abstraction in this study were noting pat terns and themes, making contrasts and comparisons, noting relations between themes, building a logical chain of evidence, and making conceptual or theoretical coherence. Analysis of Artifacts Classroom observations of participants were written down in the form of field notes and analyzed using constant comparative analysis. The words were chunked and coded and the codes were organized into themes. Observations were also analyzed using manifest content analysis (Berelson, 1952 as cited in Leech & Onwuegbuzie, 2008) where the observable behaviors, responses, participation, and communication with peers

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78 classroom communic ation. The field notes and reflection journal following classroom and home visits helped me understand school and home cultures a s well as personalities of the participants; moreover, the notes provided an insight into how the participants were viewed by p eers and teachers. Triangulation Teddlie and Tashakkori (2009) have defined triangulation as the combination and comparison of multiple data sources, data collection and analysis procedures, research methods, and inferences that occurred at the end of a study. Triangulation techniques for this study involved multiple sources of data collection aimed at corroborating the same phenomenon (Yin, 2003) as illustrated below: Figure 2 : Data Triangulation Triangulation, made possible by using multiple methods of data collection, provided stronger corroboration and substantiation of constructs (Eisenhardt, 1989). Member checks were another strategy that was used to triangulate data in this study. If the powe r of interpretation and representation rested solely with me without input from Meaning of education and success Semi structured interviews Classroom visits and field notes Researcher's refelction journal Member checking

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79 participants and community then the accuracy and ethics of the findings would be questionable (Mertens & Hesse Biber, 2012). I was unable to contact all nine participants for m ember checks but was able to review some of the assertions and representations with four participants before finalizing findings. Member checks served not only to triangulate data but also strengthened the credibility of the study. Trustworthiness Lincoln and Guba (1985) defined trustworthiness as the extent to which an inquirer could persuade audiences that the findings deserved attention. Prolonged engagement, persistent observation, triangulation, member checks, thick description, and reflection notes we re some of the strategies that were undertaken to strengthen trustworthiness and credibility of this study (Teddlie & Tashakkori, 2009). I had the opportunity to get to know the participants as human beings and students over the course of six months of wee kly visits to their classrooms prior to recruitment. This process not only helped in identifying potential cases but also in building a relationship based on mutual respect and trust. The following two chapters discuss the findings from the data collected and its implications for schools that teach and learn with refugees.

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80 CHAPTER IV FINDINGS During the process of data collection and analysis I was often invited into experiences through extensive field notes that documented my reflections and impressions following each home visit and interview or meeting. Slowly, a picture of the U.S. and before, emerged. This background information is vital in understanding how the research participants thought of schooling and its purposes once in the U.S After providing some contextual information about the pa jobs and homes the subsequent sections of this chapter presents brief vignettes about each single case and later address es each of the three research questions that guided this study. Background I nformation and P ortraits of P articipan L ives Life as R efugees The Bhutanese participants Anil, Jeevan and Mihir all were born and grew up in Dori refugee camp, Nepal, where they lived in houses with small garden patches to grow food. The houses as described by Anil were June 17, 2014). T heir school was located within walking distance of their homes and school days lasted from 8 am to 4 pm. School supplies, books, and uniforms were provided by refugee agencies such as Caritas Internationalis and UNHCR until 10 th grade. Although all content was taught in English, none of the participants had had any practice spe aking English. Mihir explained:

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81 All subjects were taught in English, except for Nepali as language. Science, Math, Social Studies all in English. We spoke only Nepali but studied in English. Read and write in English and speak in Nepali. The teacher read in English and explained in Nepali. (Interview, July 13, 2014). In order to access higher education, the students from Dori camp had to enroll at a university outside the refugee camp and find ways to pay f or their degrees, but until high school graduation which took place in 10 th grade, their lives unfolded within the confines of the refugee camp with minimal contact with other Nepali citizens outside the camp. act. Only if we went out to buy milk or July 13, 2014). Jeevan added: All my teachers were Bhutanese, not Nepali. We had some contact with local Nepalis, not a lot. All the kids were Bhutanese, except maybe one or two kids from outsi (Interview, June 8, 2014). This isolation indicated that the participants had in some ways lived a life that was marginalized by the dominant population of Nepal and unfolded on the fringes of its society. They were protected and segregated by boundaries from local Nepali citizens, and subsidized by humanitarian aid that provided free food, shelter, and education. Wh en they were not in school, Anil and Jeevan spent time either working, cooking, gardening stated that they did not worry about food as their families re ceived a ration of staples every month from aid agencies. Jeevan and Anil worked when they turned 13 years old

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82 Unfort unately, the prior education experiences of the Burmese participants, Khin and Myine, were not as vividly described as both had limited English language speaking skills; Khin declined to have an interpreter present during the interview and although one was camp. Shwe and Htway entered the U S in 4 th and 5 th grade respectively and stated that they had almost no memories of living outside the U.S. and were unable to provide a description of their routines and schooling before coming to the U.S. Khin and Myine, who both entered the U.S. in their teens, shared that their schools were run by Catholic charities in Thai refugee camps and books and supplies were provided free of ch arge. Myine said that (Interview, July 3, 2014). Being the oldest female child in the house Myi ne also had to Rashid, who grew up in Sudan, had vivid memories and offered great details of his school and family life there. He attended a private Islamic school until 11 th grade and then had to drop out for lack of finances as the high school graduation examination fees were unaffordable for his family. In Sudan, Rashid attended an Islamic school by day and sold veg (Interview, June 13, 2014). In contrast to all other participants, Amina, whose family had fled from Burma to Malaysia,

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83 h ad very few opportunities to study, work or even step outside her home for fear of being her time cooking and cleaning for the family. Welcome to Liberty Town, USA On a rrival in Liberty Town, most refugees in the study were allotted housing in a pre determined neighborhood off of two major streets. This neighborhood had one of the highest crime rates in the city with robbery, theft, prostitution, and public disorder (Cri me Statistics & Maps, 2014) being the most frequent. The main street was populated with cheap motels, taquerias and marijuana shops and behind it there were several blocks of four and five storied apartment buildings, where one single building could house several families for the first few months and then an average monthly rent of $750 was due. All the apartments that I visited ( n=5 ) ranged from one to two small be droom units and sheltered families ranging from four to nine members. Amid the housing complexes were two dirt lots where some families rented small garden plots and grew flowers and isits, I observed children playing on the streets, riding bicycles or rushing towards a big yellow school bus that distributed free bagged lunches over the summer. At other times, I observed a bus that transported several workers to a meat packing plant an hour and a half away from Liberty Town. The bus usually left this neighborhood around 1:30 pm in the afternoons and was filled with young and old refugees, some dressed traditionally, all carrying lunch pails. Police and emergency vehicle sirens seemed to be omnipresent during all times while residents went about their day unfazed by their presence.

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84 Early in the morning, the streets of this neighborhood were busy with children walking to school, some in uniforms, or senior citizens sitting in the sun, smo king, and chatting. The older children stopped at a convenience store to buy food and drinks and some continued to the public transport bus stop. There were a handful of ethnic food halal without knowing its history, one would write it off as a very low income part of the town full of Black and Brown immigrants in traditional clothes. Howev er, it was these small, dark, and old apartments that some refugees called home for the first time in decades, where they created dreams or lamented their exodus and lives of the young students in the study were in some ways permanently shaped by systems a nd structures that they hardly knew existed, let alone navigated. U.S. and in Liberty Town were invaluable in understanding their educational experiences and aspirations at the time of data colle were undeniably influenced by their past histories spent in refugee camps or in transit between two countries. In some ways arrival in the U.S. marked an end to transition as all nine par ticipants and their families had legal status as U.S. permanent residents ( n=7 ) or citizens ( n=2 ) and had a right to remain in the country indefinitely. This stability meant that they had the option to create a long term plan and vision for their lives, wh ich they did not have earlier. The background information and time spent with the participants and their families helped me better understand their routines, priorities, and constraints that would

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85 shape their futures in terms of education and careers. Giv en the CRT and Postcolonial framework of this study, all data were analyzed at two levels; firstly, at an informational level to create detailed portraits of lived experiences and secondly, as a cause and effect cycle shaped by global imperialist systems a nd structures that invade democratic institutions such as housing, health, and education to influence life trajectories of refugees. Single Case Vignettes There are multiple ways in which case studies can be written. This study mainly focused on the cross case analysis where each research question was answered using findings from across all nine cases and information about individual cases was dispersed throughout each section (Yin, 1984). Prior to answering the research questions, nine single case studies are presented in the form of vignette s (Yin, 1984). The information presented in the single case vignette will help the reader understand the unique nature of Anil Background Anil was a 22 year old Bhutanese male who was born in a refugee camp at Nepal. A soft spoken gentleman, Anil loved to wear clothes that were decorated with appliqus and Western style shirts. At the time of the interview Anil had been married for four years and his wife was also a Bhutanese refugee w hose fami ly had settled on the e ast coast of the U.S. Anil shared a small two bedroom apartment with wife, parents, and wished that she would go to school and graduate or at lea st take the GED.

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86 As soon as I walked into his home for our first personal interview, Anil asked for help with his community college application and I walked him through the online registration process fol lowed by an application for federal student assista nce. Anil was highly committed to going to college although he has not met with a counselor at his high school or the community college even a single time Subsequently, we went to the community college to meet with an advisor and register for remedial cla sses. At the onset of our first meeting, Anil corrected me when I asked him a question related to being a refugee -he said that he was just an immigrant from Nepal, not a refugee. Struggles At the time of our interview Anil had just graduated from high sc hool and was working full time at a senior nursing care facility. He stated that a large part of his struggles were related to English language skills and the reality of having to work full time and concurrently go ing to school. Anil stated that his English grammar was better than his spoken language skills and he needed to take more English classes to succeed in college. Anil shared that he loved m athematics, e conomics, and a ccounting and he had even taught those subj ects back in Nepal; however, he found himself working in a senior care center as he needed to support his family. When asked if nursing something he wanted to pursue for the rest of his life and whether he liked nursing, Anil stated that he had not stopped to ask himself these questions because he really needed the money. Until he got a car a few months before his graduation Anil would take two public buses to get to work and back each way. He expressed his fear of walking and waiting on the street alone a nd late at night and also how tired he felt. School during the day and work in the nights had been the pattern of his life since coming to the U.S. During the

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87 course of our several meetings, Anil often stated that work defined his life in Liberty Town and without work he would be homeless. The fear and insecurity of his life and livelihood was a cause of continual stress. Moreover, d uring his time off from work and school Anil had to help with the housework such as driving his family members to the grocery Suraj suffered from seizures and required frequent medical treatment and monitoring while at school or home. Although determined to go to college, navigating the community coll ege system was a struggle largely due to lack of information and guidance He had not yet ventured on the community college campus even though it was next to his high school. He was convinced that he needed to start there but did not know what steps needed to be taken. Resources Anil stated that he did not know any Bhutanese refugees that he thought were successful and could guide him. If he had questions regarding his career he counted on his manager at work. He said he wanted to become a Certified Nursin g Assistant (CNA) like his aunt and believed that CNA work would be easier than his current job. He knew that he would have to go to college for a few years to become a nurse and talked often about financial constraints. His family was his biggest resource and his parents encouraged him to go to college so that he did not have to work hard like they did in meat packing jobs. Anil looked back at his life in Dori refugee cam p with fondness and happiness and stated that life was easier and simpler there as th e government gave them housing and food and he did not have to work all the time. He also had time to socialize with his

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88 friends and had gradually moved from construction work to teaching in a school. Anil stated that he would like to live with his parents and wife in a house that he w ould own someday and that his only wish was that Suraj should be healthy and happy. Jeevan Background At the time of our first interview Jeevan was a 21 year old Bhutanese refugee whose wife was seven months pregnant. Oldest of five children, Jeevan was the head of his family. His parents had separated while they were living in Dori refugee camp and since moving to Liberty Town his mother had become severely depress ed Jeevan was in charge of all family decisions related to education, health, and finances while working droppe d out of high school after becoming pregnant and at the time of our interview had no plans to go back to school. Jeevan lived with his mother, wife, and three younger siblings in a small two bedroom apartment. During our several meetings, I was introduced to many of his family members as well as his in laws. At the time of our first interview Jeevan had just graduated from high school and was actively searching for a second job. Struggles As the sole provider for his family of seven, Jeevan was constantly trying to make ends meet by working 60 70 hours a week and even then only managed to scrape by. He shared that he was unable to meet the increasing financial demands made by various family members and was becoming frustrated with his low wage jobs. Jeevan was also

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89 everyone to all appointments including his in laws. By virtue of being the first born with little parental support, Jeevan was playing several roles and sho uldering many responsibilities at home. With the impending arrival of a new baby he feared that college would become a distant dream but wanted all his siblings to go no matter what cost. Jeevan stated that his life had been a lot harder since coming to L iberty Town than as a refugee in Nepal due to the need to work constantly and continually to make tension and stress several times during our meetings related to his financi al situation and the multiple directions he was pulled in -his family, work, and school. Jeevan also expressed some anger against his father who had abandoned his mother and five children and remarried. He was urging his mother to file for a divorce in ord er to force his father to pay child support. Jeevan was deeply that she rarely spoke and had beco me non verbal; he wanted to find resources to help his mother but did not know whom to approach. A family memb er had suggested that Jeevan should file for some disability benefits for her that would bring some money into the home. As the first born child J eevan was worried about parenting his younger siblings and stated that he tried to discipline them but was har dly at home to do so. Finding different ways to earn more money was the most important goal in resolve a family dilemma about whether his overtime pay should be used t o send his sister to an educational conference to another state or to buy some gold jewelry that his wife wanted for the new baby. Jeevan confessed that he often drank alcohol to deal with his stress and went to bed hoping that when he awoke his life would be different.

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90 Jeevan missed his life in Dori and regretted coming to the U.S. to a life of poverty and hard work. He said that there were times when he felt he was going insane with all the worries and responsibilities and was completely alone with no hel p in dealing with his problems. Resources U.S. including his father. However, there was nobody he could turn to for financial or ily. Jeevan spoke fondly of a high school friend, Asif, who was an African refugee and was enrolled in a college and worked part time at the airport. Jeevan said he turned to Asif sometimes for guidance about work and college. The transition from Dori to L iberty Town was extremely difficult for Jeevan and he felt incapable of successfully navigating his way in the new country. Mihir Background Mihir was a Bhutanese refugee who was 19 years of age at the time of our first interview. A tall and strong young man, Mihir was full of ideas and plans for his future. He characterized his life as being very busy and always in a rush to go somewhere else. In the classroom when his teacher was explaining a lesson or task, Mihir would be focused on another unrelated activity such as homework completion or book report and seemed to be in his own little universe. While other students were laughing or chatting with each other Mihir would be usually reading a book for another class or trying to get help form a peer for another subject.

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91 Mihir was the youngest of three sons in a family where each member worked at wo story house that they had recently bought. When I arrived there for his interview I found the entire family was awaiting me in the living room and was very excited to meet me. They all spoke rapidly in Hindi and helped Mihir answer the interview questio ns or would remind him to mention certain events or people. father was a Hindu priest who performed rites and rituals at the local temple and at other while his mother worked at a large packaging facility and her job was to member who did not wo rk outside the home. Struggles Mihir had been working full time for the last two years either at a restaurant or a meat packing factory. According to him, the main struggle was to catch up on sleep and keep up with his schoolwork. He regretted missing sch ool on days when he was unable to wake up. Mihir stated that he struggled with English reading and wished he had asked his teachers for specific and targeted support in reading and writing. He preferred not to ask his classmates as he did not feel comforta ble with them. Mihir had a reputation for being brusque and rude among his classmates and they worried that he would explode in anger at them for the smallest reason. When I asked him if he was angry and why, he stated that he tended to get angry very quic kly but preferred not to fight. In order to stay out of trouble he chose not to interact with his peers and tried to stay within his ethnic

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92 community to avoid negative experiences; all his friends and mentors were Bhutanese of Nepali origin. He preferred n ot to interact too much with Mexicans or Africans. During my classroom visits he would ask me why I spent time with other people and help them instead of helping only the Hindus and Nepalis. Mihir also rejected and resented being labeled as a refugee and s tated that he had a green card and his refugee phase was finished. Resources sources of strength. Additionally, having an older brother who was already in college was extremely ad vantageous as he helped Mihir navigate the admissions and enrollment process at the local community college. In his quest to go to college Mihir had met with counselors and advisors at several high schools and colleges and stated that he had many question s that needed answers and loved meeting with counselors. Mihir dreamed of becoming a crime investigator and was planning to join the police academy. In his free time he wanted to continue working with his ethnic community and help them navigate life in the U.S. He knew several Bhutanese refugees who had enrolled in colleges and universities around the world and was in touch with many of them. During one of our meetings, Mihir received a video call from a mentor who was working as a paraprofessional in a sch ool. This mentor also was a local community leader who worked with Mihir to help other Bhutanese refugees arriving in the country. Mihir ha d been focused on planning his career and higher education since his arrival in L iberty Town five years earlier and had located resources to support his plans.

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93 He made time to car. Mihir was hopeful for his future and confident that he could achieve his personal and academic goals some day. Rashi d Background Rashid, 20 years old at the time of our interview, was an outgoing and gregarious young man. The class clown, Rashid was witty and loved to banter with his teachers and classmates. Born in Sudan of Eritrean parents, Rashid shared that his pare nts had fled Eritrea and lived as refugees in Sudan. He had almost completed high school before coming to the U.S. but could not graduate as the final exam fees were unaffordable. Growing up in Sudan, Rashid went to an Islamic school during the day and sol d farm produce in the evenings at a roadside stand. Rashid also tended to farm animals and livestock and was skilled in subsistence farming. His father and uncle were mechanics and Rashid had been helping them since childhood and claimed to be able to fix any appliance or car. Second oldest of six siblings, Rashid saw himself as the family co head with his eldest brother. Rashid had taken on that role since his father passed away a year ago. With four younger siblings to support, Rashid worked full time in a restaurant from 4 pm till 2 am every day. In addition to financial responsibilities, Rashid tasked himself with nurturing his culture and heritage and sharing it with his siblings. He worried that they would lose their fluency in Arabic and insisted tha t they speak to him in Arabic at home.

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94 Struggles Rashid deeply wanted to go to college but struggled to balance his responsibilities between work, home and school. His uncle who was settled in the U.S. on the east coast taught computer science and Rashid wanted to move there to pursue his dream of venturing into the software business. Unfortunately, being the older male in his family his mother refused permission and insisted that he stay in Liberty Town to support his siblings. Rashid feared that if he l eft Liberty Town his family would suffer and become homeless. Life in the U.S. was defined by work and Rashid was nostalgic for his happier and carefree days in Sudan where he could work on a farm after school. Another struggle that Rashid faced was his fl uency in academic English. He was aware of his shortcomings and regretted that he would have to leave school a year earlier than necessary due to an erroneous entry on his passport The birth date on his passport showed him to be a year older than he actua lly was, which meant that he lost a precious year of education that he needed. Resources Rashid loved his current high school and stated that he felt respected and valued by his teachers. He felt he could reach out to at least one teacher to seek guidance about career and college options but had never attempted to do so. During his free time at school, Rashid walked around the adjacent community college campus but had not made any appointments to meet with an advisor. However, he had reached out to a few pe ople in his local Eritrean community and was thinking of approaching them for guidance. A proud African, Rashid often dreamed of Eritrea and imagined what his life would be if he lived there. He imagined helping his uncle and father in their motor repair g arage or

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95 selling wares in a bazaar. Rashid shared that sometimes he imagined himself back in his African village, playing and laughing with his friends under a bright moon and by the ssful life in the Khin Background Khin was a quiet Burmese male who preferred to listen to others rather than express his opinions. Khin offered to be the pilot participant and insisted that we conduct the interview the same day that the IRB permissions were granted. When I reached his hom e one early morning, he was alone and we sat down on a mat to discuss his experiences where a t the outset Khin stated that he may not answer all my questions. This was the shortest of all interviews as most of his answers were monosyllabic or gestural. Khi n offered minimal information about his place of birth or his years in Thailand as a refugee. I learned that he went to a school run by Catholic charities in the Thai refugee camps and was a devout Christian. He lived in Liberty Town with his parents and t hree employment. Khin had graduated from high school in Thailand and was enrolled as a senior at the time of data collection. He stated that he found school to be e xtreme ly boring but persisted nevertheless as education was important for his future success. Struggles Khin lived with chronic back pain from an injury he received in Thailand; he did not wish to share further details about the source of his injury but wa s receiving treatment for it in Liberty Town. Furthermore, the pain prevented him from attending school

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96 regularly a lthough he was aware that he needed considerable assistance in English language skills. During the interview Khin mentioned a few times that he was interested in becoming a nurse or pursue a profession that would permit him to help his ethnic community. He shared that obesity was one of the problems faced by the Burmese Christians in Liberty Town and he wanted to help them understand the benefi ts of healthy nutrition and exercise. Although, he had articulated his plans clearly, Khin had not explored any career options or institutions that would help him achieve his goals. Resources Khin believed that he could achieve any dream if he set his min d to do so. His English was improving in Liberty Town and he understood more than he had in Thailand. Khin did not specifically mention any family or community persons as resources or uiet determination and confidence was promising but his refusal to reach out to counselors and teachers might be an obstacle in the future. Amina Background Amina was a young lady with a lot of self advocacy Determined and unafraid, she wa s the go to pers family was the first Burmese Rohingya Muslim family to resettle in Liberty Town. From own and felt languages with them. During my first of many visits, the entire family came to meet me

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97 and plied me with food and drink. Each family member had questions for me regarding my work, husband, and children. They also sought my assistance in several matters such mother, and t echnical colleges for her brothers. Prior to coming to Liberty Town, Amina had lived in Malaysia for 20 years as an illegal immigrant. She had been house bound and rarely ventured outside for fear of being kidnapped and trafficked by smugglers. Amina had n ever attended school and had been tutored at home by her mother in English, Hindi, and mathematics. It was apparent deprived of all educational opportunities in Malaysia. Struggles Amina was extremely determined to go to college but shared that she was intimidated by White people and was reluctant to approach them with questions. She did not socialize with her peers or others o utside of school and prefer red to spend time wi th her family and members from her ethnic community. Amina wore a traditional headscarf and had faced several instances of racism in various public spaces in Liberty Town such as the metro and bus stations. Amina and her younger sister were the first in t heir family to go school and their parents and older siblings could not offer any support regarding college applications or essays. Amina struggled with academic English and higher level science texts. She wished to become a doctor and we spent several hou rs on the internet exploring pathways to health careers.

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98 Resources Amina was an extremely cheerful person and a dedicated student. She often stated that she did not want to waste any time as she had already wasted 20 years being house bound. She was eag er for any opportunities to further her education and was working as a student assistant for two of her high school teachers. She enjoyed the trust they showed in her capabilities and felt that she was adding to her skill set by learning to be organized an d prepared. Amina was looking forward to graduation and college and was planning to reach out to a counselor at school for guidance on scholarships and college loans. and Amina w as actively involved in helping newly arrived refugees. She accompanied them to various appointments such as schools, hospitals, and social services. Frequent interactions with people outside her community had instilled feelings of confidence and self effi cacy in Amina and she used every opportunity to practice English. Amina also shared that she had received several marriage proposals since coming to Liberty Town but her parents had rejected them all on her behalf. This support was crucial to her education as she did not want to be married until she had finished college. With her parents supporting her education, Amina was feeling very optimistic about her future. Myine Background Myine was a young Burmese Christian lady who had grown up in a Thai refugee camp after fleeing Burma with her family when she was two years old. Myine arrived in Liberty Town as a high school freshman but several years behind in literacy and numeric skills. Myine was fashion conscious and paid great attention to her appearance. Sh e tried

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99 new and varied hair styles and coordinated her nail colors with her outfits. Myine was the third child of eight children and the oldest child living at home. Her two older brothers had moved out with their families on arrival in Liberty Town and My ine lived with her parents and six younger siblings in a small two bedroom apartment. and bent old lady, who worked long hours at a local meat packing plant was the only family member who earned money. Myine was the primary caregiver for her father and siblings and sought to balance these duties with her school commitments. Struggles Myine was the most impacted of all participants in terms of education as she had been livi ng with an undiagnosed learning disability since 12 years of age. The inability to comprehend and cope with school work had led to frustration, depression, and low self esteem. Myine also harbored feelings of anger towards the repressive regime in Burma an d often mentioned that she would join the revolutionary army if she found a way to do so. Highly uncomfortable in Liberty Town, Myine discussed her feelings of being an outsider -Liberty Town belonged to Mexicans and not Asians and she could not call it ho me. Myine had been enrolled in a large high school with approximately 3000 students upon arrival in Liberty Town. The two years she spent there were the worst she had ever experienced in terms of education. Ignored by most teachers and bullied by students Myine recounted how she had spent those two years crying and afraid. Although she loved attending Salamat High School, her learning disability was still undiagnosed. Myine felt that her teachers cared for her and peers tried to help and had started to en joy

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100 some of the social aspects of school. U nfortunately for Myine, the date of birth on her passport was not the same as her actual birth date. The passport showed her to be two years older than she actually was and this meant that she would have to forego two years ese two years would have been crucial in imparting some more English language skills and possibly a diagnosis of her learning disability. Myine considered it her responsibility to care for her parents and had refused several marriage proposals. She stated that she preferred to have a boyfriend or husband who would abstain from alcohol and drugs and that was difficult in her ethnic community. She thought that a husband would complicate her life and prevent her from taking care of her parents and therefore c hose to be single. Resources Myine stated that she did not have any role models in her community and she did not know any other Burmese refugees that she could turn to for guidance and support. Myine felt alone and isolated and bravely tried to manage her needs. During several of my visits to her home she asked for my help in completing applications for food stamps and school admissions for her siblings. Together, we also collected information regarding U.S. citizenship and how she c ould prepare applications for her family and volunteer groups that could guide her in acquiring citizenship. One of not scared of anything or anyone and was ready to f ace any obstacles that may arise in her life.

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101 Shwe Background Shwe had finished her sophomore year at the time of our interview and she was looking forward to her summer vacation. Shwe was of Mon ethnicity from Burma and a practicing Buddhist. She was d eeply involved with the Mon temple of Liberty Town and was planning to spend her vacation serving young monks. Shwe lived with her parents and younger brother in a small single family home near her school. Her neat garden was blooming with roses and lilacs and there was a small vegetable patch. Shwe had fled Burma with her family when she was six years old and had spent a year in Thailand before moving to the U.S. Shwe had not received any formal schooling until she was enrolled in an elementary school at Liberty Town. At the time of the interview she was fluent in English and had a GPA of 4.4. A gifted student, Shwe dreamed of becoming a doctor and worried that she was not doing enough to make her dream come true. sembled doors and she was the primary caregiver for her brother. Her parents would leave home before Shwe went to school and would come back in the evening. Shwe ensured that her brother was fed and completed his homework as she did her own. Struggles Shw e was an ambitious student and was anxious about her future. She worried about missing out on opportunities that would prepare her for college. The reason for her be i ndoctrinated and influenced by her school and those influences would draw her away from her Mon beliefs. Her parents forbade her to stay after school for any activities

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102 including tutoring, sports and performing arts. Furthermore, Shwe was conflicted about her identity and the different cultures that were part of her life. At school she stated that she was completely American and did not share any of her Mon, Burmese or Buddhist culture with peers and teachers. Once she left school she tried to be completely Mon at home and Burmese with the larger ethnic community. Straddling different cultures and communities was a source of stress for Shwe as she worried that her parents would be unhappy if she became too American. Resources Shwe and her family spent their weekends and several evenings at the Mon temple. Her father had founded a literacy initiative for Mon adults and Shwe helped tutor and teach. Shwe was also enrolled in traditional Mon dancing lessons and traveled across the state with the troupe to perform As we watched videos of her dances she pointed out several girls and boys who went to her high school or her temple indicating her strong ties to the ethnic community and a large social circle. Shwe shared that her mother was going to quit her job and st ay at home now that her father was earning enough money for the family. As compared to some other required to work outside the house. Driven by a desire to make her parent s happy, Shwe would deprive her of academic opportunities.

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103 Htway Background Born in a refugee camp in Thailand, Htway came to Liberty Town in fifth grade speaking only Poe Karen and Burmese. At the time of our interview she had finished her high school sophomore year and was preparing to travel out of state for several weeks over summer. I visited her single family home and met several members of her family for Buddha and decorated elaborately with flowers and fruits, also served as a bedroom for the large extended family. Htway offered to show her garden and shared that her parents had been farmers; the garden was green, vibrant and filled with vegetables and fruits. Htway said that the garden provided them with all the vegetables they needed and for winter they grew beans, which were dried and stored. Htway lived in Liberty Town with her parents and three of her seven siblings. Some of her siblings were in another state while some were still in Thailand. Htway was the youngest of eight children a nd actively involved in after school activities. Being the youngest of a large family allowed Htway the time and freedom to focus on her education and participate in after school activities. She belonged to a Burmese youth group that organized sports, arts dance lessons, meditation, and other extracurricular opportunities for young refugees. At the time of our interview Htway had finished a two week retreat as a monk and had spent that time living and meditating at the local Buddhist temple. Htway also pla yed volleyball for her school team and worked as an assistant manager for a junior team which required her to stay back after school every day until 7 pm for

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104 practices. Her family supported her participation and in turn Htway taught volleyball to young Bu rmese refugees at the youth group. Struggles After being in Liberty Town for over six years, Htway was still nervous about her English language skills. She was i n the highest English Language a cquisition classes at her school and loved working with a smal l group of students and teachers. However, she doubted her fluency in English and as a result preferred not to participate in classroom or small group discussions. At the time of data collection Htway was interested in becoming a teacher or a sports coach and wondered if her career choices would be dictated by her lack of English fluency and whether she might have to choose some other options. Her parents and five of her siblings had never been to school in any of the countries they lived in, Burma, Thaila nd or U.S. Htway and Aung, her older sister, were the first to be enrolled in schools and Aung was the first to graduate from high school. Another sister was seeking GED classes and together we researched her options. With no ion, Htway shared that it had been difficult and frustrating for Aung to navigate the college admission process but she hoped that it would be easier for her as they now knew what formalities needed to be completed. Htway stated that being the only persons to go to school was symbolic and she wanted to do her best and make her parents proud. Resources Htway, a gentle and soft spoken young lady, was a student ambassador and role model for other Burmese youth. As an emerging leader in her community she look ed up to her aunt who worked as a cultural liaison with the school districts in Liberty Town.

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105 young students made and sold Burmese jewelry; the earnings from this venture were used to help Burmese displaced persons in Burma. Although she had not articulated it as such, at a young age, Htway was becoming an activist for refugee rights and was seen by her peers as a leader. Being the youngest of a large extended family meant that Htway did not have to work while in school and could focus on school and sports. She was not required to do any chores at home except on religious festival days. Although Htway expressed a desire to work over her summer vacation she was unable to do so as she had to travel to various states to perform and demonstrate volleyball to other Burmese youth. Additionally, at school, Htway had support in the form of a close and personal relationship with her English language teacher who was also the volleyball coa ch. It was this teacher who mentored Htway into volleyball and coaching and Htway looked up to her with deep respect. Htway shared that she discussed school and personal issues with this teacher and sought her guidance in several matters. Although shy and quiet, Htway was surrounded by strong adult mentors that she relied on for support. The purpose of this study was not to present any one single case as exemplary or critical but to discover themes that were seen across cases and could lead to theory devel opment. However, each single case was unique and the vignettes presented above ensured that unusual and singular features were documented. Research Questions A CRT and Postcolonial theory framework supported data exploration and analysis for the three ques tions in the following sections that were created to understand

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106 the schooling experiences of adolescent refugee students after resettlement in the U.S Each research question has been answered by compiling relevant information from the data collected and c ritical perspective transcends mere understanding and explaining issues and extends to offering critiques that advocate pushing society and its systems towards equity. As a critical educa tor I believe that schooling in the U.S. is a project of power, which serves to perpetuate systems of education that strive to maintain the status quo and supremacy of the dominant class (Apple, 1999; Freire, 1970; Giroux, 1981; Kincheloe, 2008). As a cri tical educator I also believe that the l anguage and knowledge in schools comes primarily from what has worked for historically powerful groups and makes it seem natural to other groups, as the way things have always been done and could not be constructed i n any other way (Bartolom, 1998; Cochran Smith, 2000). Critical educators and pedagogues understand that every aspect of schooling and education is a politically contested space that must be continually challenged (Kincheloe, 2008). One of the objectives of using a CRT framework is to attack embedded preconceptions and shatter the mind set created by the stories of dominant groups (Delgado & Stefancic, 2012). CRT scholars deploy counterstories to challenge harmful beliefs about certain marginalized groups in society and to give voice to those who have been silent hitherto. Responses to the research questions of this study narrate an educational story of the participants and in the process uncover and name discrimination so that it can then be combated and w ork for justice can begin.

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107 Research Question 1: What A re the S chooling E xperiences of A dolescent R efugee S tudents After B eing R esettled in the U.S. ? For the purposes of this study, schooling included not only the actual act of going to school but also the knowledge received therein. The first research question explored data around major factors and issues that influenced the schooling of participants i n the study. Education and schooling after arrival in the U.S. was shaped not only by the related to classroom learning. Their experiences were actually shaped by the different roles they had to assume upon coming to the U.S. and education often competed with working and caring for their families where some participants were forced to prioritize one over the other. D ata showed that schooling for the participants was lar gely influenced by three major factors as discussed in the following sections: birth order of the participant mental and physical health issues of the participant and/or their family members and level of parental education. Birth Order Whether a particip ant was born first, second or was the youngest in th e family had a long lasting and considerable impact on his or her schooling. On arrival in Liberty Town, all participants were enrolled in schools that seemed appropriate to their age and enrollment decisions were made either by the caseworker assigned to the family or a by a person working with nonprofit organizations. The partici pants found themselves in schools with populations ranging from thousands to a few hundred. Mihir and Myine were thrown into large high schools with over two thousand students from diverse racial and economic backgrounds while some, Shwe and Htway, had a g entler settling in period

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108 with transitions from elementary to middle and high school. Khin and Rashid were enrolled in Salamat High School immediately upon arrival in Liberty Town while Anil, n retrieving students 17 Public school website, Nov 26). From the onset, it seemed as if participants were tracked into schools that would define their career outcomes. The younger participants were enr olled in more traditional schools where they would have enough time to assimilate while the oldest ones were tracked into an alternative and almost a last ditch attempt type of school. All three participants stated that they quickly realized the alternativ e school was not a good option as, according to (Interview, June 8, 2014) (Interview, June 6, 2014). By concentrating the older ad ( Public school website, Nov 26) them from the supposed utter failure of their lives, the education system placed them in an environment where they were taught only English thus sending a message that w as the only subject they were capable or worthy of learning or needed to learn to create a place for themselves in the labor force. Tracking refugees into vocational schools also served the purpose of upholding White privilege and creating a low skilled la bor force that could bus tables, run industrial sized washing machines or load and unload trucks all day long (Chadderton & Edmonds, 2014). Three participants Anil, Jeevan and Shwe were first born, Khin and Rashid were second born, Myine was the oldest sib ling living at home, Amina was the fourth oldest and Htway and Mihir were the youngest. There were several similarities in the lives of the older siblings in terms of responsibilities and how much time and money they could

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109 spend on education. Myine who was the oldest sibling at home shared that her two older (Interview, July 3, 2 014). This in fact summed up the life of Anil, Jeevan, Shwe, and time of data colle ction. Anil, Jeevan and Rashid were the primary breadwinners of their respective families and worked at least 40 hours each week and sometimes held two jobs each to make ends meet; Mihir, although the youngest of three, worked full time in order to suppor t his family. This tug of war between school and work led to intense fatigue and a (Interview, June 17, 2014) and Rashid shared that his body was constantly tired and when he fell asl eep he found it extremely difficult to wake up and shared: am and 5 minutes for class to start. Took me like 40 minutes to get here because of traffic and stuff. I got here at 9:40 or 30; if I missed today I will get kicked out of summer sch ool. (Interview, June 13, 2014) This constant pressure to be on time at school and at work was a trigger for s tress and imparted a feeling of being unable to do school well. Jeevan shared that it affected ). All four Anil, Jeevan, Rashid, and Mihir, stated that they did their homework in class while the teachers were teaching or sometimes during lunch break In order to be successful at Salamat High

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110 School and at work, the breadwinners chose different ways to cope with the pressures. start with a glass of Red Bull and I know that thing is not healthy and if I get addicted to 14). Jeevan resorted to other means to deal worked full time to support his famil The lives of the breadwinners could be described as filled with rushing and running from school to work to home and back again with very little time for rest, relaxation o r sleep. Being the oldest also meant being the only ones in the family with a drivers license and a car ( n=5 was dominated by chores and running errands not only for the family but also for other members of the community. On their time off from work and school, Anil and Jeevan said that they drove their family to do grocery shopping and laundry and sometimes even ervice offices. Additionally, by virtue of being the oldest, many of the participants were designated as the de facto heads of the family ( n=5 ), and made decisions about health and man in high school, was invited to go out of state for a conference for high performing students. Although Jeevan was very proud of her achievements he also struggled with the financial cult, I will have to do

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111 educational opportunities meant that he would have to work longer hours, which in turn l go to college after one year. 2014). College and education always jockeyed for time and attention in the life of the older siblings, especially Jeevan. As heads of t heir families, Anil and Rashid and Myine had to make sacrifices to their own education in favor of their younger siblings. Rashid recounted that his uncle had invited him to go to Boston to study computers but being the older male he was unable to move out of Liberty Town. He described a conversation he had with his mother about moving as follows: uncle is there and he teach computer class that will be helpful for me. Like nope y ere. (Interview, June 13, 2014) June 13, 2014) would have enabled Ras hid to launch his own career and move away from a series of minimum wage restaurant jobs. However, as the older male in his household he felt duty bound to stay in Liberty Town to support his mother and six siblings. At the time of data collection, Rashid was working over 40 hours in a restaurant and was looking for a similar second job to supplement his income while trying to complete his senior year. Two Burmese female participants, Myine and Shwe, were the primary caregivers amily consisted of her parents and three younger siblings

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112 while Shwe lived with her parents and a younger brother. For Shwe and Myine, their lives were an intricate balance between home and school. Myine was responsible for all her own life in order to look after her family: mother works, she is getting quite old and seeing her work makes my heart sad. She should not be working at this age. I will work and whatever I ear n I will use it lege. (Interview, July 3, 2014) Although Shwe had only one younger sibling, she felt responsible for his well being as her parents worked long hours and did not really understand the school systems in the U.S Sh school. Shwe was then responsible for getting herself and her brother ready and to school coming home from school, Shwe said she cleaned and cooked for the family before doing her homework and then in turn helped her brother with his school work. Besides taking car brother and was preparing him for college even though he was in elementary school at the time of data collection. Shwe practiced speaking English with him and exposed him to English language cartoons and programming on television to improve his language skills. With big dreams of becoming a doctor herself, Shwe was simultaneously grooming get

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113 we As schools prepared participants for their place in U.S. society, the older siblings were trained in low level but vital skills that would be required of them to become productive in the labor force punctuality and compliance, leaving very little space, time and energy for higher order skills such as creativity or independent learning (Bowles & Gintis, 2011). On the other hand, if the participants had older siblings ( n=3 ) they had more opportunities and time to invest in their schooling and this played an important role in their educational experiences. Mihir an d Htway were the youngest of three and eight siblings respectively, while Amina was the second youngest of five. Having two or more older siblings to bear the burden of making ends meet or taking care of the social and emotional well being of their familie s freed up the younger siblings to somewhat enjoy their teenage years and focus more on school. Mihir, youngest of three brothers, had one brother who worked two jobs and another who worked full time and was also enrolled at a local college. Although Mihir like the trai more fortunate than his older brothers as he had some time and money to spend on his own pleasures. While most of his time was divided between school and work, Mihir had limited r

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114 (Interview, July 13, 2014). All his family members worked and they had collectively bough t a large house. Mihir had also purchased a car for himself: I have my own Prius. I have some loan left, $7000, to repay over two three years. Right now I pay $350 and for insurance $190. I always wanted to buy a battery car, it looks good and drives well. (Interview, July 13, 2014) In comparison with Anil, Jeevan, Myine, and Rashid, Mihir had an easier time of balancing school and work due to the fact that he did not have too many responsibilities at home and he also had the luxury of spending some of his income on his own pleasures. Amina had three older siblings who worked two or more jobs each as dishwashers or in the laundry department of local hotels. All three of them encouraged her to be the first in the family to graduate from high school and her example, I have to work so hard, work hard job. If you have a graduate certificate after school then you get easy job. Look at my life and make your future better than mine, er sister described how her workday included commuting for four hours by public transportation, working a long shift and returning home well after her young children had gone to bed. Her sister and brother pleaded with Amina to work hard at school and crea te a future for herself while they bore the brunt of being breadwinners. They had told Amina not to work and to save her energy for school. Amina said that she had a lot of support from her parents and older siblings to pursue any career she wanted as this was the first opportunity she ever had to go to to support the family, Amina and her younger sister attended school, did homework and

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115 responsibilities at home included some cooking and cleaning and babysitting her nephews but she said she had enough tim said. Similarly, Htway, youngest of eight siblings, did not have any responsibilities at home. The sister immediately older than Htway, Aung, had recently graduated high school and was enrolled in college; it was this sister who had taken on the burden of advocating for the family, interpreting for them and was in charge of all the paperwork from taxes to social security. Htway sai example if there is something we have to do go to an office somewhere then my sister goes, because I am sometimes very busy (Interview, July 7, 2014). Like Mihir, Htway too had the time and energy to pursue her passion in her case for traditional Burmese dancing and spent many weekends traveling with her troupe. Htway was also on her sometime my mom she wakes up early and do (Interview, June 15, 2014). Htway had the freedom to divide her time between school, volleyball, and dancing. The older participants always seemed to be running against time in trying to get school work done and not be tardy, earn money for the family, and help with household chores during the time in between. The time, energy, resources, and money that could be

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116 devoted to education was competing with other needs ; hobbies were definitely relegated to their distant past a combination of b irth order, some English language skills, and access to school were factors that designated participants as decision makers and guides for their families once they arrived in the U.S. thus forcing them to juggle various roles and priorities. Critically rev iewing the above findings, there is a clear indication that being an pushed them into adulthood with responsibilities while the younger siblings had more opportunities to focus on schooling, sports, and hobbies. Older siblings were pushed into jobs that other Americans did not want such as meat packing, restaurant kitchens and senior care that steered them away from school thus possibly condemning them to a lifetime of low wage employment. The seamless transition of young adolescent s from refugees into low wage workers from the minute they are accepted in the U.S. is one of the manifestations of ordinary racism (Delgado & Stefancic, 2012); it seemed natural and routine for the older siblings to juggle full time employment with full time schooling so that they could achieve independence along with a high school diploma. Moreover, the older siblings were so overwhelmed by all the responsibilities and commitments that they had little energy to reflect upon how they were shepherded into a lifestyle that perpetrated capitalist production of inequalities. For adolescents, the offer of refuge came with several limitations in terms of resources; they were incapable of meeting the fin ancial demands required by an existence in the U.S. and were unable to make long term

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117 education plans beyond the immediate and now. Just as soldiers of Color are termed as cannon fodder in the military industrial complex, th ese findings demonstrate d how re fugees are fodder for 3D dirty, dangerous, degrading jobs (Mills, 1997) Health In addition to school and work, some participants in the study reported that they had to deal with serious health issues at home, which in turn shaped their experiences in school. Health competed for their time and sometimes kept them out of the classroom and serious health concerns in their family and taking care of these concerns directly impacted their and as a result had to be closely monitored by the family: I advise him to just read, I advise him to study more because he has problems (Interview, June 17, 201 4) Due to the recurring seizures Suraj was not expected to work or contribute financially to Less evident and more subtle than physical illness, mental health issues in the family seemed to create stresses and tremendous challenges for some of the participants. was desperate to help her b ut did not know how to. Soon after his mother quit her job, Jeevan had to take on a second job to support the family and postponed his plans to go to

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118 used to go to work he (Interview, June 8, 2014). Rashid lost his father in 2013 and shared that his mother was extremely traumatized by the loss. Additionally, she suffered from severe diabetes and could only wor k part time, thus forcing Rashid to take on additional hours at his job. Myine and Khin, both Burmese refugees, suffered from personal health problems that interfered with their school. Khin stated that he was living with back pain and had sought some tre atment for it but it continued to hurt while Myine stated that she had a un derstand very well, the other students in my class, they understand more than me. Even that Myine struggled with reading and writing and needed to be diagnosed for lear ning disabilities. However, her teacher said that the school was not equipped to test Myine because of a language barrier (Field Notes, March, 2014). Neither of the two high schools that Myine attended in Liberty Town had tested her for any learning issues and slowly Myine had grown to resent school. She wanted to go to college but stated that it would often reasons they did not complete their assignments or did not partic ipate in classroom activities. Myine, Anil and their families did not know that they could have pressed the schools for diagnostic testing and requested special education plans. This would have set both Suraj and Myine on academic trajectories more suited to their disabilities instead of

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119 father had a heart condition that prevented him from working outside the home, it allowed him to be a stay at home parent who helped t he family by cooking and watching her education instead of chores. As stated in the literature on refugees, many refugees tend to have mental and physical health rel ated issues due to the years spent in camps and transition ( Hones & Cha, 1999; Montgomery, 2011; Sinclair, 2001; Tollefson, 1989 ) To make the situation even more complicated was the inability or unwillingness of schools to diagnose and support learning di sabilities special needs evaluation of refugee students ld Notes, March April, 2014). The school would not have been able to make this excuse had Myine and her family been aware of their rights to accommodated learning and forced the school to provide appropriate services. As Freire (1970) frequently reminds us the oppressed are often inundated with ideologies or dominant narratives created by oppressors that they come to see themselves through their ailments only distorted their self perceptions and subtly kept them in their place (Kincheloe, 2008). Myine blamed her bad brain for not being able to do well in school, not being able to pass her driving test, not being able to go to college and eventually be destined for a meat packi ng job like her mother. Inability to cope with their own or incapable and unable to succeed or had to limit their ambitions.

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120 Research literature on refugee resettlement in Western countries is extensive specifically in the field of mental health and counseling ( Hones & Cha, 1999; Tollefson, 1989 ) Although, mental health issues in refugee populations is a well known and a common finding, the participants in the study had no support in coping with those issues in their lives. If we, that is developed Western nations, promise refuge to displaced migrants without adequate supports for health and education we are continuing their trauma while exploiting their labor. Participants in this study had little or no power to advocate for their rights to individualized educational plans and by not offering intervention and treatment schools continued to silence their needs and voices. r parents could have advocated for diagnostic testing or Anil could have asked the school to make special accommodations for Suraj to negotiate with the school dis tricts and they did not know how to begin. At several homes during visits for research purposes, my help was sought in filling out paperwork asked me to fill out applicatio ns for food stamps, Anil pulled out his tax forms and I filled out the college financial aid forms online, Jeevan asked me to interpret letters of me to complete publ education, their la ck of formal schooling and knowledge of U.S. systems contributed to

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121 their struggles around educational supports that were available in U.S. public schools. The types of parental involvement valued in U.S. schools communicating, volunteering at school, and learning at home ( Huntsinger, & Jose, 2009) seemed inaccessible to most parents of participants in this study. The overwhelming majority, eleven of eighteen birth parents of the participants, had never at tended school in their home countries, as shown below in Table 3, with the highest level of educational attainment being high school graduation. Table 3 : Variable Number of participants education attained No school = 5 1 st 5 th grade = 1 5 th 7 th grade = 2 Home or self schooled = 1 No school = 6 1 st 5 th grade = 1 High school = 1 Religious school=1 As shown above, most of the parents lacked formal schooling and this had direct consequences for some of the participants in terms of accessing educational services and opportunities. Furthermore, some parents did not trust the Western school systems and p referred that participants had minimal contact with peers and other school staff. Amina shared that she and her younger sister did not have any friends at school because her parents had warned them about being exploited by other students. Mihir and Myine s aid that they chose not to socialize with any school friends and staff as nobody understood them. This wariness and mistrust of schools and administration kept some participants

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122 away from activities that would otherwise have helped their education such as tutoring, sports, and after school academic and social clubs. Shwe, a gifted and ambitious student, often expressed her frustration with her U.S. academic losses that Shw e considered to be severe. Highly anxious about her performance in college entrance examinations and college visits, Shwe was frustrated because her parents did not allow her to go to school on weekends when many college information and prep sessions were held for high school students. She worried that their mistrust of school would prevent her from achieving her dreams of becoming a doctor and said: ifferent here, the schools ya. Ya, I am worried, I y best. listen too. (Interview, June 15, 2014). Clearly frustrated and anxious about her future, Shwe wished her parents understood the school system so they could be more supportive. On the other hand, Htway explained that she and Aung, her older sister, navigated their own education, and her parents o nly owledge was valued in U.S. schools. She used her skills to seek information from volunteers and case workers and succeeded in enrolling Amina for a summer college class to gain experience.

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123 profit and charity organizat ions and collected portunities. Most of the other parents lacked the social, educational, economic, and navigational capital ( Yosso, 2005) that would have helped advocate for their children at the school or district level. The participants and their families in this study w ere unknowing victims of the as termed by Delgado and Stefancic ( 2012, p. 24). The racialization of minority groups changes over time depending on the needs of the labor market. The racialization of unskilled immigrants specifically from Asia as cheap labor is not a new phenomenon in U.S. history but dates back 150 years when Chinese laborers migrated here to work on the transcontinental railroads. Over the years Asian immigrants have been subjected to majoritarian narr atives ranging from being perceived as threats yellow perils, to asexual males, passive worker bees, and most recently as model minorities T he eight Asian participants in the study and /or members of their families were transformed into 3 D laborers almost immediately upon arrival thus reinforcing and simultaneously falling victim to the dominant narrative of cheap labor. Lack of navigational capital limited employment options in Liberty Town as seen below in Table 4; o f all wo rking parents and siblings ( n=18) D jobs. Conclusion While some American teenagers were deciding which university to attend or where to go for spring break, many teenagers in this study had already assumed adult and

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124 parental responsibilities. Although, each participant had unique family situations most had t o find ways to balance work, home, and school while learning the structures and systems of the U.S. public schools and some were more successful than others. The journey through schools after resettlement was one fraught with many tensions and particularly marked by lack of choice s related to housing, schools, and jobs. M ost participants were assigned to Liberty Town USA by the resettlement agencies working in their refugee camps in Nepal and Thailand and most participants were enrolled into schools chosen by their caseworkers while all families were allocated housing in one of the poorest neighborhoods of the city and were nudged not so subtly to take up low wage employment within a few months of arrival. A worthy transition would have sought to restore se lf confidence, self respect, and freedom of choice. Borrowing from Du Bois (1973) a worthy curriculum would have allowed the participants to see their present condition as a product of history and politics and school s as space s where they realize d th e value of their knowledge Instead, data showed that participants found school difficult to do because of competing commitments and lack of guidance and support from schools and districts The schooling experiences of participants were a result of being o bjects of various agencies, from resettlement to graduation, and being subjected to certain systems that would shape their perceptions of success and career goals which are address ed in the second research question below Research Question 2: How Do Adole scent Refug ee Students Perceive Schooling a nd Success, a nd How Do They Plan t o Achieve Their Career Goals ? This research question is addressed in three parts: how did the participants in the study perceive a) schooling, b) success and c) how did they plan to achieve their career

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125 goals. Education research literature states that the purposes of schooling are main ly to researchers identified the purposes of schooling as the acquisition of kno wledge, the development life and social skills, and to enable the general wellbeing of students ( Widdowson, Dixon, Peterson, Rubie Davies, & Irving, 2014). The purposes of schooling from the perspectives of the participants in this study too aligned with t he definitions offered by education research literature but were unique due to the manner in which the participants came to be in school, through years of migration and transition in refugee camps and sometimes without formal education. Participants believ ed that going to scho ol achieved two main objectives, facilitating upward mobility and as means to support their ethnic community. In keeping with the dominant narrative of meritocracy and Horatio Alger type of success stories, most of the participants fir mly believed that going to school would lead to a better life, where better life meant more money, while schooling as a means to help their community emerged as an act of advocacy and activism. Perceptions of Schooling Schooling as U pward M obility Most of the participants ( n=6 ) lived in one or two bedroom tax credit apartments, also known as low income housing, and their families ranged in size from four to nine members per unit. All participants and/or their siblings were eligible for free lunch at school families ( n=8 ) qualified for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known

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126 as food stamps. Living in poverty ( n=7 ) in Liberty Town created the almost magical belief t hat schooling had the power to transport them out of it. All participants in the study were keenly aware of and often mentioned the struggles their parents had faced before resettlement and continued to face in the U.S The major struggle was related to fi nances and navigating new systems of support with limited English language skills. For parents, the transition from agrarian and subsistence farming backgrounds ( n=10 ) to urban, U.S. capitalism meant that few of the skills brought from other countries were useful and most of the m had to start in low wage and unskilled 3 D jobs that were often monotonous as shown below in Table 4. Table 4 : siblings Parent Jobs held before U.S. Jobs h eld in U.S. Mother Food distribution in refugee camp ( n=1 ), school teacher ( n=1 ), stay at home ( n=6 ), work at a food truck ( n=1), subsistence farming ( n=7 ) Meat packing ( n=3 ), stay at home ( n=4 ), refugee outreach services ( n=1 ), assemble packages at a shipping company ( n=1 ) Father Construction ( n=2 ), religious priest ( n=1 ), stay at home ( n=2 ), subsistence farming ( n=3 ), mechanic ( n=1 ) Restaurant work ( n=1 ), stay at home ( n=2 ), meat packing ( n=1 ), door assembly ( n=1 ), sewing factory ( n=1 ), religious pri est ( n=1 ), deceased ( n=1 ), separated ( n=1 ) Older Brother(s) Restaurant work ( n=3 ), janitorial ( n=1 ), taxicab driver ( n=1 ), religious services ( n=1 ) Older Sister(s) Restaurant work ( n=1 ), janitorial ( n=1 )

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127 Seeing their parents and older siblings work in some of the lowest paid jobs in the U.S. evoked strong emotions of sadness and determination among participants. In the participants by parents and older siblings that staying in school was one of the first and immediate steps that needed to be taken, that completion of high school meant participants were poised to achieve greater heights than their parents, and that schooling would enable the participants to move one rung up the ladder towards the American dream. Participants learned that the way out of poverty and unskilled jobs was through they are r her and told her that it was her job to finish school and have a goo Khin believed in why I can reach my goal, my dream. I bored but y ou know I try to go to school. In the Htway shared that she and her sister Aung must go to school because the other you come from or who are you. No one can stop you to reach for your dream. You wanna therefore, was a way to honor the struggles and hard work of their parents and

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128 participants felt it was incumbent upon them to study espe cially since their parents had been deprived of educational opportunities. you finish h Schooling and graduation from high school was perceived as a pre requisite to economic to f June 13, 2014). Conversely, some participants felt that not finishing high school would relegate 13, 2014). Myine feared that if she did not graduate from high school her only option was I am thinking that is only and economic mobility are closely connected (McMurrer & Sawhill, 1998) was evident among the participants in the study along with the firm c onviction that going to school would provide them with an increase in economic status (Haskins, Isaacs, & Sawhill, 2008). Many immigration journeys are motivated by new possibilities and fresh starts while some are defined by separation and loss. For the participants in the study Liberty Town, US conditional refuge. If only they completed school they would be richer, if only they had

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129 come earlier they would have gone to college and learned more English, if only they worked harder they would be richer and happier; however, very few realized that although Horatio Alger anointed America as the land of opportunity financial success did not automatically follow high school graduatio n The firm belief that a high school diploma had the possibility of plucking their families out of poverty was unfortunately grounded in a dominant narrative that the participants accepted as truth. Schooling to S upport C ommunity Going to school and getti ng an education had wider and deeper implications for some of the participants than just upward mobility; although the participants did not articulate it as such, knowledge and education gained from schooling was viewed as a resource that was to be used to degree of community self confidence and self efficacy. The most noticeable and deeply embedded community participation was found among the Burmese Buddhist participants (n=2) The Burmese participants were divided into three religious groups: Buddhist (n=2) Christian (n=2) and Muslim (n=1) The Burmese Buddhist participants, Shwe and Htway, were deeply involved with the local Buddhist temples as well as with local Burmese refugee support groups. Through their association with the temple and support groups, Shwe and Htway had traveled around the country for dance performances, Buddhist community service projects, and sports matches. Furthermore, the Burmese Buddhist groups in Liberty Town had decided to invest in literacy projects for children and adults and each family contributed in terms o f service, money, materials, and support

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130 and took time to teach to kids and spend a lot of money for the food that we get in break times and the books that we need. My dad, we went shopping and bought books and activist and advocate for the Burmese community in Liberty Town and had organized several cultural and sporting events for youth. Htway was actively involved in most activities initiated by her aunt such as volleybal l, dancing, and jewelry making with other Burmese refugee students. Liberty Town and her parents had been successful in bringing a few more since their n community leaders in Malaysia and they continued community and was looked upon as a revered elder. Amina explained that their house was always full of people who came to see k advice and guidance from her parents and her own free time was spent in accompanying other Rohingya Muslims for medical and other appointments. Active involvement in their ethnic Burmese groups had led these three participants to think of their identitie s as closely linked to their community. When (n=3), Mihir spent a considerable amount of his free time in helping newly arrived refugees from Nepal. He arranged various appointments for the m with Social Services, school district admissions, and health check

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131 what White people say. I go alone to Social Services offices. Sometimes I even translate for other people. [To new r efugees] I will say come safely; when you get here call me. Amina, Shwe, Htway, and Mihir, all viewed themselves as being more knowledgeable than incoming new refugees and used their various skills in hel ping the newcomers. These participants were also the first or second in their family to receive formal schooling and possessed English language competency that their parents did not. Skills acquired through their schooling, such as speaking English, using public transport, completing applications, and using technology were resources used for the benefit of other refugees. Many skills learned at school were used to help the community navigate a new country and systems. Participants who came to Liberty Town a s young refugees with little or no English had over time assumed leadership roles in their community and were seen as helpers and guides to newer refugees. At times they were hailed as being more knowledgable than their parents and elders due to the fact t hat they went to school and interacted with people outside their ethnic communities. All participants were is some ways acting as cultural brokers (Gentemann & Whitehead, 1983); cultural brokers are persons who understand and sometimes live in two differen t cultures and are able to interpret cultural symbols from one frame of reference to another (Gay, 1995). Whether they were actively involved with their communities or not, all participants were learning how to establish links between their homes and vario us institutions and systems they encountered through school. Beyond merely interpreting to and from English to their parents and elders, the participants were learning to mediate between cultural

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132 backgrounds that were distant from each other thus acquiring valuable experience and building their own navigational capital (Yosso, 2005). By using schooling to uplift their communities, participants were actively creating a refugee counternarrative that challenged the indivi dualistic culture of capitalism. Meaning of S uccess In dominant narratives, success is often visualized as a rag to riches story by way of hard work; however, success has a contextual meaning based on what one has experienced and what one holds dear. In the case of the nine participants i n this study, at the outset, success was broadly visualized as high school completion, going to college, getting a good job, buying a house and car, and having enough money for family needs. When they were asked to define success in personal terms and what it meant for their lives, the nuances started to appear and participants revealed what was most important to them in their new country. For some participants, success was defined as spending less time at work, which would leave more time for family and sc hool while for the others it meant keeping the family unit intact and not having to endure the pain of separation. Two of the participants articulated that for them success meant going to college no matter what. These different visions of success were not difficult to understand in the light of the W ork Less Play More For Rashid, Jeevan, and Anil who worked at least 40 hours a week while in school, success was defined as not having to work as much. Although all three of them wanted to go to college, it was more important for them to find a balance between work, school, and home. All were frustrated by the amount of hours that had to be worked at

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133 minimum wage or lower to make ends meet. Anil and Jeevan feared that if they cut back over h minimum wage then they believed they would be alright. Jeevan aspired to be as su of poverty but from his perspective it would be more stable than his $5/hour job at a restaurant packing food for take out. Rashid stated that he would be successful w hen he Rashid, Jeevan, and Anil were overwhelmed and exhausted by their routines and tried hard to give school more time and importance. However, since they always had to rush from school to work and from work to school, they defined success as being able to scale back their working hours in order to focus more on school and family, and maybe even some soccer. Intact Families For families torn apart by decades of separati on, living with parents forever was deemed a success. Several participants expressed their wish to never be separated from their parents even after they had established their own homes and families. When specifically asked to define success, three particip ants, Myine, Shwe, and Anil stated that it meant not separating from their parents:

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134 separate from my parents (Anil Interview, June 17, 2014). I just want to look after my p arents as long as they are alive. When they pass on I will decorate their headstones well (Myine Interview, July 3, 2014). I want to be with my parents and give them [happiness] (Shwe, Interview, June 15, 2014). Although contrary to Western culture, livin community. All three Bhutanese families were joint families, where grandparents, parents, children and their spouses all lived together under a single roof. Furthermore, was married with a baby on the way and his second brother was about to get married. In order to create more living space, two f amilies had rented a second apartment in the same planned for early 2015. Thus, it wa s not unusual for participants to define success as being together, pooling income and resources and supporting each other in their new country. C ollege Bound Although all participants wished that some day they could go to college and were in various stage s of envisioning their careers, only two participants equated success as

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135 going to college. Amina stated that getting into college would mean that she had been June 6 2014). Mihir defined success as staying on track to start college in Fall 2014, becoming a U.S. citizen, and securing a place in the police academy; he defined success and 2014). to the question of what is your dream or how do you define success, and all participants said that they wanted to do so. However, many were aware that going to college would not be as easy as going to high school and there were several formalities that needed to be completed before they could be enrolled. Jeevan and Myine stated that they would like to go but would not be able to do so due to various constraints while Shwe and Htway took it for granted that they would. College as a dream and stepping stone to success was a notion that certainly all participants be lieved in but few knew how to make possible. could control and have opportunities to achieve. Needs and need satisfaction were in tandem with what they perceived to be their status in U.S. society (Bowles & Gintis, 2011) where working less and living with parents were achievable goals that did not require the participants to venture too far outside their current spheres of participation. Consciousness develops through the ind social life (Gintis, 1974; Schutz & Luckmann, 1973; Berger & Luckmann, 1966), which

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136 success and also limited the m from going beyond. Plan to A chieve G oals Turning a dream into reality requires several skills and resources and for the participants in the study, the most important and acute need was guidance and information as compared to the average American high sch ool senior. Just as the notion of success meant something unique to each participant, their career goals too varied based on their past and current experiences in school. It would be helpful to learn about their short and long term goals, as shown in Table 5 below, before understanding how they planned to achieve them. Table 5 : Name Short term goal Long term goal Anil Certification as Nursing Assistant and enroll in a community college Degree in nursing Jeevan Find a second job Learn computers or go to business school or become a cook Mihir Start college in Fall 2014 and find a part time job Become a police officer Khin Graduate high school Become a doctor or nurse specializing in food and nutrition Myine Graduate high school and find any job Become a soldier and liberate her ethnic community Amina Graduate high school and find a job in a pharmacy Become a doctor specializing in family practice or cardiology Shwe Graduate high school Become a doctor

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137 Name Short term goal Long term goal Htway Graduate high school Maybe become a teacher or sports coach Rashid Graduate high school Study computer science and own software business At the time of data collection, it emerged that the majority of participants ( n=8 ) had not thought of their long term plans in concrete terms. Most of them expressed their ultimate career goal more as a wish or a dream but had not taken steps towards these long term goals. However, in the case of their short term goals, all participant s were on track to achieve them and were actively involved in doing what was necessary to either graduate high school or find a job. Anil had already found out that he needed to enroll in a short course that cost $1100 and if he passed the final test for t hat course he would receive his certification as a nursing assistant. Mihir had completed all formalities including financial aid and was enrolled at a local community college for 17 credits starting in Fall 2014. However, when asked about their long term s plans, none of the participants, except for Mihir, knew of the various formalities that would need to be completed. It was during our conversations that some of the participants learned of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA, Colorado O pportunity Fund or COF, pre requisites, and remedial classes. The lack of information and absence of planning, especially for students who had recently graduated ( n=3 ) and those who were seniors ( n=4 ), indicated the possibility that the long term goals wer e just that, long term, and did not require immediate action or attention. All except Mihir were highly focused on the immediate

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138 have a baby, Myine was trying to get a driving license, Amina was trying to get enrolled in a summer class, and Rashid was trying not to be late for summer school and work. A closer analysis of the types of careers envisioned by the participants showed that some of the long terms goals were re life experiences. For example, Amina wanted to become a cardiologist as she had seen her father suffer from multiple hea rt attacks and Khin wanted to specialize in nutrition as he was concerned about a growing obesity problem in his Burmese Karen community. Mihir and Myine wanted to work in law enforcement and the military to help their communities while Htway wanted to bec ome a teacher or sports coach because her favorite teacher was a volleyball coach. Although the short term career goals were focused on survival, given a chance most participants aspired for careers that would lift their family into middle class and also s erve the larger community. However, it must be noted that while some participants such as Amina, Rashid, and Mihir, were extremely determined and eager to make their lives in the U.S. others like Anil, Jeevan, and Myine, were weary and tired from endless hours of menial work and never ending need for money. Achieving their goals, short or long term, required a support network that consisted of family, friends, teachers, and acquaintances that were familiar with the educational systems and structures in the U.S For families and participants who came from agrarian backgrounds ( n=8 ), navigating urban cities and schools required large amounts of grit, perseverance, and self advocacy navigational capital that they simply did not possess.

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139 As participants settle d into new lives and routines in Liberty Town schools, schooling became an important part of their lives that served not only to introduce them to educational systems but also where they came into contact with students and teachers from other racial and et hnic groups. This interaction with other Americans was important for the participants and many stated that they enjoyed being with other English language learners and immigrants. Some participants mentioned that close relationships with at least one or two of their teachers were valuable suppor ts for them at school and they c ould turn to these teachers for guidance and advice. Besides academic outcomes, schools offered many of the participants some time and space to learn skills such as communication, plann ing, and organization that they would need as they graduated. The fact that participants did not know how to achieve their long term goals and that planning for a career needed to start in early high school were unsurprising findings if examined critically Schooling fostered development of compliance capacities and skills in the participants that did not allow them to focus on anything but the immediate future by keeping them busy with school attendance, completion of tasks in the classroom and at home, an d hours of English language practice that in turn tailored their aspirations and formed their identities that were in keeping with their social contexts (Bowles & Gintis, 2011; Massey & Denton, 1993). Some suburban schools start college and aspiration pla nning as early as in the elementary and middle school years for their students, while these schools for newly arrived immigrants neglected to do so even in the junior and senior years of high school. If one were to ask why schools did not do so, one critic al explanation is that social inequality was a device that was unconsciously and consciously accepted by societies and

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140 schools, which ensured that the participants did not deserve the most qualified jobs or even the opportunities to prepare themselves for the best jobs (Davis & Moore, 1945). Older refugees were seen by the educational system as unworthy of investment in terms of career counseling and planning and designated to acquire only enough skills to make ends meet. Conclusion The counternarrative th at emerged from the purpose of schooling and the meaning of success for the participants in the study was grounded in collectivism. Collectivism is defined as a social pattern of closely linked individuals who see themselves as parts of one or more collect ives and are willing to give priority to the goals of these collectives than their own personal goals, which is the opposite of individualism where priority is the st udy believed that their futures were closely connected to those of their families and communities and being successful meant that they continued to belong and serve. Where capitalism reveres the notion of working as much as one can and prioritizing work ov er other aspects of life, some of the participants desired nothing more than to work less and keep their joint family structure intact. An education system that takes into account their collectivist mode of living would create an environment where they can succeed more than an individualistic one where participants are expected to continually self advocate and self promote their needs and requirements to school staff in ways that they did not know how. The last research question moved away from the perspect ives of the participants to the implications of their experiences. The data, in the form of interviews and

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141 observations, told a story about how the U.S. public school systems handled an influx of young adolescents who had been living in refugee camps for m ost of their lives. Several control and they had none or minimal power to change them. Factors such as refugee assistance policy, school choice, structure of English languag e acquisition departments in schools, and district monitoring of MLLs and their teachers had lasting effects on the future of the participants and in some ways performed the work that they were set out to do that of hiding or justifying the exploitative na ture of the U.S. economy (Bowles & Gintis, 2011). Research Question 3: In what ways do education practices, systems, structures, and institutions impact the perceptions and experiences of adolescent refugee students? From the time a refugee family is accepted for resettlement in the U.S. until they become U.S. citizens, within five or more years after arrival, there are several state and federal agencies and policies that play various roles in deciding when and where a family will be relocated, which schools will be responsible for their education, and what kind of work will be awaiting the parents and adolescents. All together several federal and state agencies collectively and individually make decisions about refugee s wherein the refugees had little power to do anything but be willingly accepting and compliant. When Western countries accept refugees within their boundaries it is perceived as a humanitarian and moral gesture for which the refugees and the rest of the w orld should be grateful. However, 2013 statistics show ed that eight of the ten countries with the largest refugee populations were located in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East and that all 10 countries with the highest number of refugees in relation to their GDP were in

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142 developing regions (UNHCR Global Report, 2013) with Western nat ions accept ing a very small number of refugees as compared to other countries. Furthermore, once in the U.S. refugees do find refuge from sectarian or religious violence and war that drove them out of their homelands but are faced with an ongoing battle wi th extreme poverty and years of working in 3 D jobs. Part of the motivation to accept refugees is the U.S. labor that must be fulfilled by low skilled immigrants who would be willing to work in jobs and industries that average A mericans typically shun and some of the systems and policies implicitly and/or explicitly steered the participants towards these jobs. Major U.S. policies such as school enrollment, structure of English language acquisi tion classes in the schools, availability of educational resources for participants and families, and the pressure to become financially independent shaped School Choice Participants ar riving in Liberty Town were allocated housing in poorer sections of the city by resettlement agencies where neighborhood schools were poor and financially disadvantaged with large numbers of students living in poverty who qualified for several free service s. Some of the neighborhood schools had increased their resources and funding to accommodate the influx of new immigrants over the past decade but were still grappling with the changing demographics. On arrival in Liberty Town, participants were enrolled a t the local elementary, middle and high school while those who were 18 years of age were first enrolled at an alternative school along with the adult refugees. Three of the participants, Amina, Jeevan,

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143 and Anil, who arrived in the U.S. at 18 years of age, started their education at an alternative school while Khin and Rashid went directly to Salamat High School. Myine Htway who came to Liberty Town in elementary school were e nrolled in schools that advertised strong English language programs. At the time of data collection, all participants were enrolled in either Salamat High School or Alafia High School. Data revealed that case managers and refugee volunteers did not automat ically guide the adolescent students to enroll at Salamat or Alafia High Schools, which were better equipped for refugee students than the other traditional high schools. Some of the case managers were not even aware of these two schools and their speciali zed supports. Amina said that her case manager told her she could not be enrolled in the traditional thought I will do my GED. My case manager only knew about [the al ternative school] for high school for being too old but was not automatically guided to Salamat High School; he heard about Salamat High School from another student and enrolled himself. Had it not been for their resourcefulness and self advocacy, Amina, Jeevan and Anil would not have had a chance to graduate from high school at all. Unfortunately, for Myine, by the time she found her way to Salamat High School, she had experienced bullying, racism, freshman in the traditional high school that had over 2250 students and she described her year there as the worst ever:

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144 In [my first high understand they just leave you no help. me (Interview, July 3, 2014) That year and a half of painful experiences, in hindsight, could have been avoided had Myine been directed first to Salamat or Alafia High Schools. Based on the data collected, instead of what the participants needed or what would be the best fit for them. The Colorado Department of Human Services (2015) lists 10 partn ers on its website as vendors for Colorado Refugee Services. These 10 different partners include several non profit and religious organizations that help resettle refugees for a fee and one partners also mean s that there are at least 10 persons who work specifically on school enrollment and should have the information about schools that would be best suited for adolescent refugees. However, data indicated that adolescen t refugees were not automatically steered towards Salamat or Alafia high schools but mostly ended up where they were led by their case workers. Restriction of Movement and Access Once enrolled in a school, middle or high, the students had very little cont rol over how, where, and for how long they would learn English. In Alafia High School, the newly arrived multilingual learners were segregated from mainstream students in a few classrooms at the end of the last hallway of the building and also in trailers outside the school buildings. Inside the school building, two sets of large and heavy wooden doors separated the MLLs from the daily humdrum of school while the trailers functioned

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145 independently of the main building. The classrooms at the end of the hallwa y were medium sized rooms with very high ceilings and windows at the top edge of the ceilings. These windows had been covered with butcher paper and as a result there was no daylight inside the two classrooms that I visited. The small groups of students ra nged in age from grades 6 to 8 and the majority were from Bhutan and Burma, with a handful the classroom from the doorway and one had to be at least two feet inside th e room to see any students. In the trailer classroom for MLLs, students ranged in age from grades 9 to 12. This classroom was noisy and filled with conversations in several languages and several times the English language teacher appealed to me for help wi th content and behavior and classroom management (Field Notes, November 2014) indicating a lack of experience in teaching newcomer MLLs. Administrators at Alafia High School assigned one classroom with one teacher at a specified time for my observations. T his was a social studies class for grades 9 and 10 and although the teacher was welcoming, the layout of the desks discouraged interaction with students. All desks were facing towards the front and the space between the rows was too narrow for circulation. (Field Notes, December 2014). I usually sat at the movements and presence were almost as strictly monitored as those of the students at Alafia High School. The time at Alafia High School was spent only in one classroom in a predetermined time slot and there were no opportunities to interact with the general student population. I signed in, went to the assigned classroom, finished the observation, signed out and left the building. The refugee students in the social studies class were

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146 proficient in English and had been in the U.S. for over four years. Access to newly arrived refugee students at the end of hallway and in the trailer was denied and unfortunately there were no occasions to meet or observe them. Salamat High School shared its building with a community college and was a long, two storied, old structure. The main entrance door was manned by a security guard at the beginning and end of day. The building enjoyed ple nty of daylight from glass doors and windows and classrooms flanked each hallway on both floors. Access to classrooms was unobstructed and activities could be observed either through open doors or through glass panels on closed doors. In between classes th e hallways were filled with laughter and chatter in several languages and teachers were seen outside each classroom beckoning their students, chatting or checking hall passes. I carried out observations in two classrooms where student seating was organized either in clusters of four or five or in a U according to ability or native language and in the other they could pick their own seats (Field Notes, December May, 2014). Ad ministrators at Salamat High School allowed me classrooms at Salamat High School invited me to move freely among the groups and help or chat with any of the students With the exception of one security guard at the main entrance, students were able to walk along the hallways, floors, or hop across to the community college cafeteria. I witnessed several games of football at Salamat High School and some where teachers joined student teams. I was also invited to join the occasional water fight, jam session or slam poetry recital in some of the classrooms. It was evident from the

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147 testimony that they enjoyed the freedom and camaraderie at their school and tho ught it ow, they work hard, they are hard workers. They try to make a life for the students; they try to give The difference in access to students and classrooms at the two school s indicated a difference in their policies towards education, research, student interactions, and specifically schooling of MLLs. Although both schools are within the same school district, Salamat High School was run by a board of members and was on its wa y to becoming a charter. Its principal explained that Salamat High School had more autonomy over their day to day running, curriculum, and policies, unlike Alafia High School, which was closely monitored by the district administrators. Students at Alafia H igh School, including MLLs, were subjected to mandatory State and Federal academic testing and its outcomes were high ly importan t in determining the With 70% of its populations as MLLs, the teachers and staff were working hard to meet their school wide objectives. Although it would be impossible to state conclusively, Alafia High School had an environment where schools and teachers were continually evaluated based on student performances, which led to MLLs learning under tightly controlled and monitored circumstances and being physically isolated from the mainstream population. The darkened windows and heavy doors served the purpose of insulating mai nstream students and newcomers from each other. Isolating MLLs and their teachers runs contrary to

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148 building inclusive communities for language learners and sends a message to other students and staff that teaching of MLLs can only occur in closed classroom s without input from other members of the schools (Brooks, Adams, & Morita Mullaney, 2010). Furthermore, needs of MLLs and specifically refugees, cannot be met by English language teachers alone but must be a shared responsibility of content teachers and a dministrators. Cummins (2001) argued that all teachers and administrators in schools must change their views of the language and cultures of MLLs and focus on teaching critical thinking skills where students learn to question the world around them, which c annot be done in isolation. The isolation of MLLs in both schools was different but sent a similar message that segregation was necessary and by concentrating MLLs in certain schools and classrooms a social context for low expectations was created (Massey & Denton, 1993). The educational practice of isolating MLLs from the mainstream and forcing them to spend hours in language acquisition classes also initiated the participants into an economic system that values and rewards English language skills first an d foremost over any other capacities that they had (Mitchell, 2012) Intense Shame Alafia High School isolated their newly arrived MLLs while Salamat High School had a population that was entirely MLLs. Both groups of students ended up being segregated fro m mainstream students whether it was intentional or not. On enrollment in schools, all nine participants were immediately tested, classified, and started to receive English language instruction. At the time of data collection, English language skills among the participants varied from the highest Level 6 or Bridging, to Level 1 or

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149 Entering as described by the WIDA Can Do Descriptors used in the schools (WIDA, 2014). Shwe had been exited from special English language instruction while Htway was in the highes t class for English language learners. The other seven participants ranged from Level 1, beginning or entry level skills to Level 5, some metacognitive and negotiation of meaning skills (WIDA, 2014). n their new country seemed to be the single most difficult hurdle they faced. The notion that if English was conquered then every other hurdle would disappear was a recurring theme in their narratives. Six participants had studied English as a second or th ird language in their previous countries but had little or no practice speaking it. Some wondered if their eventual career choices would be determined by their mastery of academic English Even Htway, who was fully er] depends on if I know a lot of English, then it their own strengths and weaknesses in learning English and knew precisely what supports were needed to increase the ir competency and fluency. Mihir knew he needed help in reading, Myine in comprehension, and Amina in grammar. However, overwhelmingly participants stated that they were too shameful to ask for more and targeted help. Shame originated from the fact that in spite of learning the language for several years they were unable to speak it fluently. They stated that these feelings of shame prevented them from reaching out to teachers, peers, and more proficient younger siblings for help for fear of being mocked. I f asked whether he turned to his younger siblings for help with

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150 Eight participants in this study felt that they were reduced to English language beings and thought of themselves as more or less competent and worthy based on their fluency in English. Even though some were strong in mathematics and science and other cont ent areas, it always came down to their level of English. Feelings of self worth and ability to attain the American dream were judged through a simple lens that of English language proficiency. Language was also the biggest source of anxiety in the context of higher education and success as shown below in Figure 3

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151 Some o f the emotions and thoughts associated with being multilingual learners in a monolingual society as expressed by the participants are mapped in Figure 3 below. Figure 3 Feelings associated wi th being a multilingual learner. Education research shows that systematic tracking of English language learners results in a lack of access to high quality content area instruction, which in turn has linguistic and academic consequences (Callahan, 2005). The contention that course placement is not completely meritocratic (Lucas, 1999; Oakes, 1985) but a result of social and individual factors gives rise to equity issues in the schooling of refugees. Although Anil came with a strong background in mathematics and economics, he found Feelings and thoughts associated with being a Multilingual Learner Fear Confusion Frustration Anxiety Academic English as gatekeeper No English means no college Shame Reluctance to seek help

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152 himself moving towards a care er as a health care aide. Anil had taught mathematics and economics in Nepal and was interested in a career in accounting. However, he had been working as a health care aide since his arrival in Liberty Town and felt that was his best option given his poor competency in English. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013), the median pay for health care aides was $20,820 per year and the education required was less than high school. Although one of the fastest growing low skill occupations in a count ry that has an aging population it will continue to anchor Anil in poverty. Jeevan came into Salamat High School loving math and wanting to study computer science. On arrival, he found himself stuck in a low level mathematics class and the teacher was unwi lling to move him to an advanced level; this single event may have possibly had a lasting effect on his future, as he explained: I went to school for two months and all she taught was graphs for two whole ime. Go sit down, and do things like 2x2, 3+3, 7+5 was what she was teaching. Or she made us do graphs, class and he said go get a pass from her and I will put you in another class. I asked attention. Then I kept quiet. I thought okay you be like that and I will be like that dance. (I nterview, June 8, 2014) Inability to communicate effectively with his teachers forced Jeevan to stay in a low level mathematics class even after asking for re assessment and eventually to drop out of the llection was still in computer science, restaurant work I will like to work as a cook, it is more money like $3000 per month. I just need to learn on the job, they will te Bureau of Labor Statistics (2013) the median wage for a restaurant cook is $23,440 per

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153 year, which would also line (Poverty Guidelines, 2014). Notwithstanding their multilingual backgrounds and abilities to adapt to new countries, the message that English was the gatekeeper had been transmitted loud and clear. Eight of the nine participants had extremely negative and deficit ridden images of them selves as English language learners and noted their segregation from one another based on fluency in English. Interestingly, the rhetoric that academic English was a pre requisite for higher education in the U.S. had been accepted unquestioningly by the pa rticipants, even those who had arrived fairly recently. This acceptance was indicative of the way schools framed the notion that any further education was accessible only through English in the U.S. irrespective of the fact that many participants were alr eady knowledgeable in several content areas but were unable to demonstrate their knowledge in English. Shame, coupled with the message that academic English must be mastered prior to content was imbibed quickly and eventually to the detriment of some parti cipants. Furthermore, when English language acquisition became the focus of their schooling, participants suffered from consequences that included low self esteem, shame, anxiety, low self advocacy, and in some cases a push towards 3 D jobs, which needed t he cheap labor. Critically speaking the monolingual education system had achieved its purpose of creating lowered expectations and aspirations for MLLs by devaluing their multilingual backgrounds and abilities to learn in several languages and adding to a much needed minimum wage workforce (Galindo, 2011; Mitchell, 2012).

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154 S elf (In)S ufficiency The limited cash assistance for eight months in combination with the push for economic self sufficiency was one of the most important factors that propelled adolescent refugee students to seek paid work as soon as they arrived in the U.S. and was also a major source of stress and preoccupation for parents and older children who were eligible to work (Martin & Yankay, 2013). Moving from dependency to self suffi ciency meant several difficult transitions for some of the participants as self sufficiency could only be achieved through employment in minimum wage jobs. Being pushed into working as much as possible was difficult for the families of all participants. Fo ur of the five males worked at least full time and some more than 40 hours a week and two of the females became primary caregivers as parents worked long hours and were absent from home. The U.S. has a history of building its prosperity on the backs of ext remely cheap labor (Sands Orchowski, 2008) from slavery to indentured servants followed by immigrant labor. The availability and supply of cheap labor in the form of young refugees ensured that other citizens enjoyed better living and working conditions bu t data indicated that it took a tremendous toll on the participants. Two of the participants repeatedly said that they regretted coming to the U.S. and in hindsight should have stayed eat, here if you Instead of moving from dependency to self sufficiency some of the participants found themselves trapped into low wage jobs that not only demanded all their time and energy

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155 but continued to anchor them in poverty. Self sufficiency was no longer restricted to sustenance of the family. Free Falling Although, all participants said that they dreamed of going to college to escape dreams were unrealistic or unachievable partly because of lack of timely information and support. A shocking reality that e merged from the findings was that eight of the nine participants had never had a single meeting with their high school counselors or career guidance coaches. All of the participants indicated that there was at least one teacher at their school they could talk with regarding college but none of them actually did so or were invited by the teachers to discuss their futures. This finding c ontradicted the claims made by both schools on their websites of new immigrants, English language learners, and academically underserved students with the educational tools and support to maximize their potential and live the American knowledge, skills and habits of mind required to become college educated men and (Alafia High School Website ). It was even more disappointing in the case of Salamat High School as it shared a campus with a community college and its students frequently walked over to the college cafeteria to buy snacks ; furthermore, the school also empl oyed a team of teachers who helped students with the college process such as financial aid, applications, and scholarships The seniors ( n=4 ) and recent graduates ( n=3 ) had all prepared a

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156 PowerPoint presentation on their college goals and I had attended th e presentations. All participants had picked a career ranging from engineering to business but only one, Mihir, had met with a counselor. Mihir had met with counselors six to seven times in the five years he was living in Liberty Town and was also the only one enrolled in college at the time of data collection. Mihir planned on becoming a police officer and had enough information to map out the various formalities he would need to complete in order to enter the police academy. He had enrolled in relevant cl asses at a community college and was preparing to take the U.S. citizenship test within the next year. On the other hand, Amina and Khin both wanted to become doctors but had no idea how to get there except for stating that becoming a doctor would require a lot of science. It would have been helpful for both to have met with counselors either at Salamat High School or the adjacent community college to learn about the prerequisites and other core classes that they would have to take in order to become docto rs. Amina she stated that international doctors are doctors you can go to for any ailment, just like After several long discussions with me in the following weeks, Amina realized that she meant family practitioner or general practitioner and then changed her mind and stated that she would h Amina indicated that she did not have a vocabulary to name her dream and did not have the relevant information to make it true. Additionally, she was hesitant to approach the staff at her school.

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157 Similarly, Anil stated that he would become a CNA (Certif ied Nursing Assistant). When asked what CNA meant, he was unable to explain but was shocked that I did not laughed at my ignorance. He explained: It means to take care of r esidents, like nursing ya. Nursing is giving medicine for the resident but the CNA is just take care. When they need to go to their room or bring them to the dining room just that is CNA. They take care of temperature. You need training for that. You can d o that with Indian guys over here you know. You need to pay $1100 for that and after that we need to take a test and if we pass in that only then we can take a job (Interview, June 17, 2014). Again, Anil was unable to name his goal but had cobbled together some information from by me for its meaning, he explained that bein reating my was about to graduate from high school and had not discussed these plans even a si ngle time with his counselor. He believed that becoming a computer scientist was similar to playing video games and he would not have to work once he became a computer scientist. Lack of information, specifically timely information, about the pathways int o any career can lead to unrealistic expectations, sometimes even disappointment and failure. Data indicated that it was a combination of reluctance and lack of awareness among the participants that they needed to plan and organize their move from high sch ool to higher education. Conversations about careers and pathways to college with counselors would have been useful even if all participants did not plan to enroll right after high school

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158 graduation. Some of the reluctance to have these conversations could be attributed to a lack of confidence and shame associated with language skills and fear of saying something inappropriate during these conversations. Some could be the simple lack of time and energy and a more pressing focus on survival. However, some of the responsibility firmly lay with the schools. Schools that claimed to support newcomer immigrant students needed to ensure that their advising services reached the targeted populations of the participants and their parents. It was evident that the messa ges communicated by the school about availability of support had not been effective in reaching the parti cipants in the study and career ad vising should have been the rule instead of the exception as this group of students deserved to have timely informati on about the college process just as any other high school student in the U.S. Conclusion Participants in the study came to the U.S. to seek refuge from years of conflict and discrimination in their home countries and hoped to find a permanent home, acces s to education and a chance at the American dream. However, what awaited them w ere poverty, 3 D jobs, and no cultural, social or economic capital to wade their way out of it. The first encounter with systemic racism for many participants was at the time of school enrollment where they had little choice. Coupled with isolation and segregation as MLLs and intense shame that accompanied it, many participants slowly became trapped in a vicious circle of poverty along with their families. The education system co uld have been more proactive in addressing some of the issues that led to inequitable education for the participants such as offering mental health support and guidance, skills and timely information about higher paying jobs and careers, access to grade le vel content in science

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159 and mathematics by removing the barrier of academic English opportunities to explore neighboring community, technical, and trade colleges, creating mentoring partnerships with diversity departments of local universities to name a fe w. More importantly, a socially just education would have ensured that the Pierson, 2011) and schools as locations of social stratification (Anyon, 1981) that would have helped participants understand their histories and circumstances as a product of social, political and economic systems and possibly find some ways of pushing back. S could have been developed as a mea ns to explore and disrupt the educational inequities they ha d experienced Understanding the root causes of their oppression and that of their communities not only would have increase d their ability to critically view the world but would have also intentio nally develop ed skills and a commitment to action to rectify those unjust systems (Watts, Williams, & Jagers, 2003).

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160 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION Several researchers (Christie & Sidhu, 2002; Ferfolja, 2009; Kanu, 2008; McBrien, 2005; Sidhu & Taylor, 2007; Rutter, 2006) discussed the need to create a portrait about refugee students that accounted for their unique histories and journeys while Pinson and Arnot (2007) called for more education and sociological research on refugees to learn how ma rginalization has affected and continues to affect refugees in the Western host countries. This study responded and focused specifically on a group of students not hitherto studied in education research, namely adolescent refugee students from Burma and Bh utan. The present study attempted to document the journeys and challenges of adolescent refugees from Burma, Bhutan and Sudan and while several of the findings documented in the literature review were confirmed by this study some new ones were also reveale d. This chapter will draw similarities and differences between findings from the current study and the literature reviewed, connect the findings to the theoretical frameworks used, make recommendations for stake holders, outline the limitations of study, a nd describe opportunities for future research. Literature Review and Findings The present study confirmed some of the findings reported in earlier literature on refugee education and documented some newer ones. This section will draw attention to similarit ies with earlier research. Overall most research found that refugee students tend to arrive with little or no preparation for attending U.S. schools and that U.S. schools are vastly different from the ones they attended earlier. Similar to the refugee stud ents in the Portes and Rumbaut (2001) study, the students in the present study had varying levels of

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161 literacy and schooling and most of their parents were unable to provide academic support to children as also shown by Ascher (1985) and Timm (1994). McBrie education and mostly trusted teachers to do their best as confirmed by this study, which also found that parents of participants were highly supportive o education but lacked the tools and experience to successfully advocate for them with administrators and teachers. Not all parents were unconditionally supportive as two families expressed feelings of mistrust and fear of being exploited by peers and staff at schools, a finding supported by two separate studies by Hynes (2003) and Igoa (1995). Both studies had posited the same findings that not all refugee parents trusted the school system and parents and students alike were distrustful an d fearful of people in authority, including teachers that prevented them from seeking educational supports. and obstacles of 30 Sudanese refugee students using a mixed met hods approach. Their study used an acculturation model and revealed that racism, interrupted schooling, and English language literacy were the most difficult barriers faced by the students but also revealed the resiliency, determination, and humanitarian m otivation in their choice of careers that mostly involved helping other people in Australia or Sudan. Similarly eight participants in this study revealed that English language acquisition, academic English or English fluency were some of the most pressing obstacles in their education along with lack of information and guidance about higher education. how policies at the school and district level contributed to either the exclusion o r

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162 inclusion of refugee students within the school culture. Confirming Dooley and that reinforced positions of marginalization and o thering of refugee students by placin g the newcomers in a corner wing, behind large and heavy wooden doors and in darkened rooms that isolated them from mainstream students and staff. Although Salamat High School did not segregate newcomer refugees from other students, almost the entire popul ation of students at that school consisted of newly arrived immigrants. This resulted in a whole building populated by MLLs with only teachers and staff as native speakers of English. This isolation from native English peers at both schools meant that ther e was no socialization or interaction with them, which is detrimental not only to language acquisition but also to the social and emotional development of the students. re identities. This study indicated an interesting similarity with two of the participants. Anil and Mihir rejected the refugee label and preferred to re qualify themselves as immigrants green card and 5 Interview, June 17, 2014). This move towards being an immigrant was in some ways a rejection of the dominant narrative about refugees, which was replete with stories about victimization, terrorism, poverty, and pity.

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163 Some of the findings of this study th at have contributed to research on refugee students have been discussed in detail earlier and are briefly listed below in no particular order and: for schooling. Family re sponsibility and obligations were important and top priorities for some participants. confidence and motivation. Participants had very little guidance or communication with high school career counselors. Participants were unaware of the amount of planning and organization that Western higher education requires. Participants harbored feelings of intense shame about being MLLs. Theo retical Frameworks and Findings The use of master narrative to represent a group is bound to provide a very narrow depiction of what it means to be Mexican American, African American, White, richness of a group 294) This study set out to center the narratives of adolescent refugees and privilege their perspective on education and schooling using CRT and sought to counter the dominant narrative about them. Majoritarian stories distort and silence the experiences of P eople of C olor (Sol rzano & Yosso, 2002) and tell us that darker skin, poverty, lack of English language fluency correlate with low educational achievement, unsafe

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164 neighborhoods, lower intelligence, lack of discipline, lack of personal responsibility, tendency to depend on welfare and generally all that is bad and immoral, thus positioning Whites as good and moral. In majoritarian stories, refugees are overwhelmingly portrayed as victims (Elliott & Segal, 20 12; Ferfolja & Vickers, 2010; Harrell p. 12), illegals (Clyne, 2003), terrorists (Pickering, 2001), queue jumpers (Gelber, 2003) recipients of aid (Harrell Bond, 1999), and burdensome and threatening (Gitlin et al., 2003; Klocker, 2004). Refugees are referenced using language either of victimization, fear or pity. This monovocal narrative justifies and maintains the low status of refugees and helps uphold White privilege by relegating refugees to the margins of humanity and thus deeming them unworthy of privileges that are taken for granted by Whites such as good education and housing, access to health and wellness resources. Count ernarratives only make sense in relation to something else that which they announces its positionality as an opponent of dominance. Since positions are created by humans and history, they are not permanently carved in stone and are subject to change and shifts, what is dominant today can be counter tomorrow. However, this change in position will not happen automatically or simplistically, but must be pushed and deliberately c reated. The dominant or monovocal narrative about refugees is largely negative, study w as

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165 opp ortunities for siblings, trying to find a balance between work, school, and family and they still intended and strived to do their best to create a stable life for thei r families. There was no evidence of terrorism or criminality, on the contrary three of the participants narrated their encounters with racism in Liberty Town and how they chose to walk away from any confrontations. Far from being illegals and queue jumper s, the refugee students in this study were proud of their legal status. Unfortunately, due to lack of English skills and information about the process some of the families would never become citizens in spite of having fulfilled all other necessary require ments. However, a grim aspect that can be added to this emerging counternarrative is that of vulnerability young refugees are highly vulnerable to exploitation (Vachon, 2013) in Western countries as explained in the following section using Postcolonial the ory. Postcolonial theory is a vital tool in education research that has the ability to track where and how the dichotomy of Us and Them is created and reinforced, wherein the dominant majority White population is represented by Us and the foreign immigrant from third world countries is Them. A premise that the creation of a Third World within the First as a project of ongoing colonization is posited herein. Earlier, imperialism created wealth for the West through slavery and colonization and now, in the cur rent postcolonial era, it is created on the backs of low wage labor. This low wage labor in the form of refugees, unskilled immigrants and illegal immigrants creates a Third World within the boundaries of the First. Third World countries are characterized by poverty, underdeveloped and inequitable healthcare and education, sweat shops, and poor infrastructure among other

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166 things. Refugees in the U.S. are faced with similar issues as they attempt to resettle in neighborhoods and schools that are accessible a nd affordable to them. Housing that barely meets code, crowded living conditions, underfunded schools, and people that struggle to make ends meet though low wage jobs. Already at a disadvantage and in a new and strange place (Vachon, 2013) refugees end up filling jobs that many Americans will not consider. In her legal analysis of corporate responsibility, Larson (2002) describes the work conditions of refugees as replete with long hours, language problems, and pressure to work faster leading to increased d anger. Federal policy that pushes refugees towards self sufficiency within four to six months forces them to accept unskilled jobs and these jobs usually involve manual labor at minimum or less than minimum wages in subpar, unsafe conditions. Although the U.S. is a land of opportunities, the opportunity for many refugees is often to work in a meatpacking plant (Pipher, 2003). Young refugees ages 14 and up are eligible to work immediately on arrival in the U.S. and find themselves working and living in this internal Third World (Larson, 2002) amid conditions that are illegal and inhumane. From the moment refugees arrive they are offered ideas about how to spen d their time, energy, and money (Pipher, 2000) and as vulnerable people in need of jobs they find themselves working for corporations in manufacturing, meat packing, or poultry facilities (Vachon, 2013). In their study of vocational education programs in Europe, Chadderton and Edmonds ( 2014) stated that some workplace barriers faced by refugees Corporations in the U.S. view refugees as a resource that c an replace illegal immigrants as evidenced by various events. For example

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167 in 2006 six beef processing plant s w ere raided in Midwestern U.S.A. and hundreds of undocumented Hispanic workers were imprisoned; for several months the plant s w ere barely operatio nal as the surrounding rural area s had no local workers until Burmese and Somali refugees were bused from several miles away (Jordan, 2008). The Third World within the U.S. reinforces and replicates historical patterns of dominance, power, control, and inf luence where the economic and social mobility is available and concentrated within the confines of White middle and upper class lives while those outside are pushed even further into the margins society into pockets of cities where low wage labor, inadequ ate housing, and poor schools are the norm. These clusters of human settlements should be viewed by researchers as pockets of Third World whose presence are indicators of education apartheid (Kozol, 2008) among other inequities. The presence of the Third W orld within minutes of our daily lives and commutes becomes normalized through exclusion; most Americans do not have to make contact or enter this Third World and can spend their li ves without encountering these disparities unless they choose or wish to do so. Given the colonial history of this country and its addiction to cheap labor, the notion of a Third World inside the U.S. is not so unbelievable. While in the previous centuries the colonizer did not have to encounter the colonized, in the current era both have learned to inhabit the same spaces while avoiding each other. The arrival of the other the non English speaking, usually Brown or Black, unskilled, foreign immigrant or refugee, creates spaces of discomfort for the colonizer or the dominant Whi te population and the process of turning the other into mimic men begins.

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168 In colonial and postcolonial studies, mimicry (Bhabha, 1984) is described as a phenomenon when the colonized people start imitating the behaviors of the colonized including their la nguage, attitudes, and culture. However, the catch is that the colonized will never become as good or as accomplished as the colonizer and will also be left with feelings of resentment and inferiority throughout the process of becoming mimic men or women. The U.S. education competition. The demands made by the education system from refugee students that they are not equipped to recognize such as academic English knowledge of self advocacy, navigating school enrollments and college applications ensures that the status quo of White supremacy is maintained and schools become tools of colonization. Implications for Actionable Change Findings from this study have implications for all the stakeholders in the education system, from English language teachers and administrators to policy makers within districts and departments of education. Stakeholders with the most agency and power are t he schools and school districts as compared to the refugee students and their families. In the current environment of accountability, administrators and teachers are under various federal and state mandates to meet standards and are continually evaluated f or their performance. While constraints with budgets and evaluations make it difficult for administrators to drastically change policies or find funding to launch new initiatives, smaller changes can be made within existing structures that will benefit the schools and students in the long run. Equitable education in the U.S. has never been the norm and will not be handed on a platter to refugees unless inequities are named and conscious efforts

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169 to redress them are made as outlined below. Improving the flow of information to and from schools to refugee families and creating educational spaces where refugees can contribute and succeed are some changes that can be effectuated to improve outcomes and move refugee students away from a lifetime of poverty. I nforma tion Flow The flow of information, from schools to students and from students to schools was revealed to be crucial in this study. Data revealed some important gaps in the flow of outgoing information from schools and districts to the refugee community in several important issues. Enrollment in high schools was dependent primarily on the location of neighborhood high schools or directed to an alternative school, this proces s could be streamlined so that older refugee students are enrolled in the best possible high school that matched their needs. However, the existence of Salamat and Alafia High Schools that were better prepared to teach refugee newcomers and were also locat ed in the neighborhood was unknown to those who facilitated school enrollment for the Services. Information about supports and resources available for refugee students at vari ous schools can be made available to caseworkers and volunteers so they in turn can offer families and students the available options. Increased enrollment of refugees in schools that are prepared for them would be beneficial to the students as well as the schools. Along with increased information about schools, an increase in transparency about the school system will help in building trust and confidence among the parents of

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170 refugees. Taking into account the lack of parental experiences with formal schooli ng, decades spent in refugee camps, persecution and violence witnessed or suffered it was not unusual for parents to want to protect their children from outside influences. As seen in the data, some parents were distrustful of the schools and staff and wan ted their children to come home as soon as school was let out. Although, this would not be harmful in elementary grades, in middle and high schools many activities tend to take place after school hours. For example homework assistance, youth clubs for spor ts, debate, art, theatre, college prep classes, and other activities are organized on the school campus but after the school day is over. When parents limited the contact their children had with schools they also inadvertently deprived them of much needed tutoring, academic guidance, and opportunities for social interaction with native English speakers. Increasing the flow of information to parents about school structures such as open enrollment, school choice, advanced classes, IEPs, learning disability as sistance either through community organizations or activists will help build relationships and foster trust between schools, students and parents as fear and mistrust could be harmful to the ts who may have witnessed indoctrination and deliberate inculcation at the hands of repressive regimes in Bhutan and Burma may influences. However, a lot can be done to dispel these concerns by increasing transparency in schools. Encouraging parents to accompany their children to some of the academic activities or opening up the schools for parallel literacy or social activities for parents would allow parents to experience positive interactio ns with school authorities.

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171 Reassuring parents and learning about their fears and reluctance to engage with schools would be one of the first steps that could be taken by schools. June 10, 2014) about how to succeed at school that they shared only with students deemed worthy of it, which indicated another lacuna in outgoing information from schools and districts to participants which was the absence of communication between high school counselors and juniors and seniors. Although both schools stated on their websites that they provided supports to immigrant and refugee students, only one of the participants had met with a counselor for advice on higher education. It is possible th at the counselors or student advisors did inform the participants about their availability for discussions but the participants did not receive or interpret the information as intended. The end result was that six of the seven seniors and juniors had not m et with any counselor or advisors even once. This lack of information about career options after high school was highly damaging to the futures of the participants. Even though all were not college bound, information about vocational colleges, financial ai d, scholarships, and other relevant details were not received by these participants. Part of the gap in communication could be attributed to the students and they could have been more ences indicated that they had been schooled in teacher centered classrooms and instruction coupled with strict discipline including corporal punishment. This implied that participants had no prior experience with approaching authorities in schools for guid ance and this was a behavior that needed to be taught. Whereas in the U.S. an average high school student can set up a meeting with her counselor, bring a parent along if desired and all three can

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172 discuss college options and formalities. Unfortunately, ne wly arrived refugee students did providing them with relevant supports and schools ca n modify the way interactions between students and counselors could be promoted. Incoming information that needs to accompany a refugee student to school can be collected from a variety of sources such as caseworkers, volunteers, communities, students, and educational journey s prior to resettlement in the U.S. are shared with teachers and staff. Vital information about the number of years spent in and out of school, type of school, a nd medium of instruction will help with accurate placement in classes and in providing relevant support services. Knowing that the Bhutanese students studied in English medium schools in Nepal but never spoke English, or that the Burmese students studied i n Karen with English as a third language in their schools would allow teachers to provide targeted English language services. This targeted delivery would also decrease some of the feelings of intense shame that the adolescent Bhutanese and Burmese student s harbored regarding English. The Bhutanese students were habituated to accessing content in English and explaining it in Nepali to their teachers; knowing this detail could increase their access to higher level content area classes such as mathematics and technology in the U.S. instead of being relegated to basic levels until a certain proficiency in English is achieved. districts provide opportunities that are relevant and useful. The fact that most of the

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173 participants in the study were primarily responsible for looking after their families directly impacted their schooling. Moreover, the Bhutanese students tended to be married earlier than their American counterparts; Bhuta nese males were often married at 18 years data was collected and both had dropped out of high school. All Bhutanese participants ( n=3 ) also lived in joint families with grandparents and married siblings. This study confirmed prior research on Southeast Asian children that their relationship to the family is of utmost importance and carried obligations and responsibilities towards parents and siblings (Morrow, 1989; Slote, 1972). Therefore, time and energy of the participants had to be divided between several competing and equally important issues such as family, work, and school. Schools that understand these constraints will be able to better create environments where Sou theast Asian adolescent refugees too can succeed. Besides increasing the flow of incoming and outgoing information with students and families, schools and districts can act as facilitators of communication and interactions between students and other stakeh olders. Isolation, Interaction and Facilitat ion Large amount of research and empirical studies have demonstrated that English language acquisition for second language learners needs native speakers as peer partners to practice and learn different aspects of the language (de Jong & Harper, 1995). Isolation of MLLs from native speakers of English until they reach a certain acceptable standard of socialization deemed fit by the school or district is unfair and inequitable. Newly arrived refugee students at Al in classes with their grade level peers and spent long hours in darkened classrooms with

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174 other newcomers and their English Language teacher. Learning not only a language but a new way of b eing and knowing in isolation can only have limited positive outcomes. Newcomers should have enough interactions with native speakers during a school day to learn and share knowledge and experiences with each other. Newcomers at Salamat High School too end ed up being isolated from native speakers of English due to the fact that the school was created specifically for newcomers and no average American high school students enrolled there. The only native speakers at Salamat High School were the teachers and s taff while the students were from countries around the world. Schools and districts must be able to find spaces where the newcomer MLLs can interact regularly and naturally with peers who are native speakers of English to facilitate language learning as we ll as to learn about American ways. As facilitators of opportunities, schools that have or anticipate a sizeable number of high school refugee students can work together with the diversity and inclusion departments of the local colleges and universities. R efugee students are not usually included in diversity initiatives as a distinct minority group and classification of refugees as either Black or Asian students is misleading and detrimental. The Asian refugees ( n=8 ) in this study may phenotypically resembl e other Asians in the U.S. but that is where the similarities ended. The Southeast Asian refugees did not fit the currently prevalent model minority stereotype and did not know how to navigate the education systems in the U.S. like other Asian Americans wh o have well established social and academic networks. During the course of this study, I helped three participants to positive results. Similar efforts can be made s ystem wide by the schools to enlist

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175 stakeholders that need to diversify and increase access to their services for minority populations. Hybridization of Educational Spaces Bhabha (1994; 1996) defined the concept of hybridity in postcolonial studies as cult ural mixing between the colonizer and the colonized where both sides are changed and influenced by each other. Hybridity is not a simple mixing of two cultures to produce a third, but is a space that is continually negotiated by those with power and withou t. Bhabha argues that all social collectives, nations, cultures and small ethnic groups are continuously chafing against each other and jostling for space; a notion that Anzald a (1987) applied to the borderlands between Mexico and the U.S. traditional students encounter a traditional system of education that has no hybrid spaces, they will either fail or leave the system. With the assum ption that the larger project of education is to create knowledgeable and democratic citizens and not mimic men, then hybridity becomes essential. The current absence of hybrid spaces in education ensures the status quo upholds White privilege, and create s a class of mimic men and women who can survive in the U.S. but always in poverty, who can find employment but often only in dirty and dangerous jobs, who can speak English but only enough to get by and who eventually become merely a steady source of chea p labor. Insisting on near native proficiency in English language or mastery of academic English before allowing students access to higher level content is an act of imposition for students who do not want to learn English with the purpose of integration ( Modiano, 2001). The pressure to attain fluency and proficiency in two or three years of schooling is

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176 harmful to their own self image and acts as a pathway to cultural indoctrination. The notion that a successful student is an assimilated one, who talks and walks like any average American is rooted in coloniality. In a hybrid space, English should be viewed as a language that belongs to several peoples and cultures with different purposes ranging from an indicator of complete assimilation to a tool that allo ws access to certain types of knowledge. In another form of hybridity in education for immigrants, acknowledging their contribution to the economy in the form of hard work would be socially just. Several participants in the study spent long hours working in low wage, menial jobs in restaurant kitchens, meat packing plants or in health care. These are the jobs that other Americans avoid as far as possible for themselves and their children. Academic credit for on the job experiences would not only acknowledg e their contribution but also help in raising their self worth. The experiences that the participants received at their work place helped them understand the structures and systems of their new country in more concrete ways than through textbooks and essay s. Academic credit should also be accorded to the students for the work they carry out in their own communities for it ultimately will benefit everyone. Several participants found the time and energy to help other newly arrived Bhutanese and Burmese refuge es and data revealed that their active participation in their communities led to greater self confidence and self advocacy. The Western system created to address the child student dynamic (Ferfolja, 2009) needs to be modified when adolescents who are almos t adults are schooled. Newer student profiles require more relevant policies that can address the economic realities of living in a Third World inside the First and some of the recommendations made above

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177 can be a starting point in creating equitable and ac cessible education for the changing demographics of our nation. Limitations of the Study The findings of this study are important given the continual influx of refugees from various Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries into the U S. However, some li mitations and delimitations in the study should be considered in interpreting the findings. Delimitations are choices made by the researcher that describe the boundaries of the study while limitations are potential weaknesses that may affect the outcomes of the study. There were two delimitations to this study; firstly, t he study was non experimental and therefore no causal connections could be drawn and secondly, it was my position as an immigrant, college educated woman who could never completely understand the oppression an d traumas suffered by refugees One limitation of the study related to the sample, which reflected perspectives of late arrival adolescent refugees from Burma, Bhutan and Sudan who had resettled in the Midwest. The nonrandom, sm all, and limited sample of participants implied that the findings of this study cannot be generalized or applied to younger or older refugee students from other countries. Additionally, the interviews were conducted at a single point in time, from June to August 2014, instead of longitudinally, which would have provided richer information on how the meaning of education and success evolved as participants graduated high school and went on to lead adult lives. Moreover only students who volunteered were participants in the study, hence it will be unknown if and how findings would have been different if non volunteers woul d have been interviewed.

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178 Implications for Future Research In a recent article on civil rights in the U.S. Dr. Ga ry Orfield (2014) asked educate our changing population and prepare the young to live and work together in our nges in our communities that he was referring to was the division of the country into low wage service industry jobs and a disappearing middle class. This article drew attention to multiple layers of inequalities and multiple dimensions of research that needs to be carried out in our increasingly diverse and multiracial communities. In getting to know the nine participants o ver a year, I have borne witness to intimate family details, struggles, and triumphs and am also called upon by the participants to help with issues that range from best beauty products to application for asylum and student visas. Writing from a place of p rivilege as compared to the participants compels me to search for hybrid spaces that can move adolescent refugees away from low wage labor into careers that match their dreams and honor their hard work. The creation of these hybrid spaces in education woul d be a joint project with participants that I would like to initiate. A group of refugee students and their teachers would be able to come together and create a curriculum that is responsive to the mum wage labor. What are the characteristics of effective hybrid spaces for older MLLs? What would the curriculum look like? What would be the federal and state supports required? What types of policies

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179 would need to be created? What would the role of Engl ish be and how would it be taught? I would also like to follow as many of the nine participants as I can over the years and see how they juggle all their roles; Will Mihir become a police officer? Will Myine be forced to work in the meat packing plant? Wi ll Jeevan ever move out of restaurant work? What are some of the problems they will encounter and how will they be resolved? A longitudinal study of the participants in this study will provide deeper insights into their resettlement experiences and the piv otal role played by schooling. Another related perspectives in working with refugee students. What are some of the issues they face while working with these students? What sup ports would be most useful? What kind of professional development would suit their needs? What should schools and districts do to support teachers of refugee students? In conclusion, this study attempted to fill some of the gap that exists in research abo ut refugee students and also tentatively approach the topic of educating older MLLs living in poverty. Some of the complex layers have been peeled back while many remain untouched. As researchers continue to understand the intertwined relationship between capitalism, imperialism, colonization, and schooling, hopefully some of the recommendations made herein can help schools and districts address and redress inequities in education.

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204 APPENDIX A SEMI STRUCTURED INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Demographic D ata Participant 3 4 5 Age Gender Religion Country of birth Country (or Countries) of displacement prior to the United States Number of years spent in school prior to the United States Type of schooling prior to the United States (homeschooling, public, private, parochial, etc.) Languages spoken Language(s) of instruction prior to the United States Number of older siblings (if any) Number of younger siblings (if any) Part I) Background information relating to educational experiences of adolescent refugee students prior to being resettled in the United States? Question 1) Can you tell me about your school in (country of origin)? Probes: What was your elementary school like? Middle School? What languages were used in your school? What was the teaching like? What was the study body like? Did you go to school every day? What were the teachers like? etc. Question 2) Can you tell me about your school in (first country of refuge)? Probes: What was your elementary school like? Middle School? What languages were used in your school? What was the teaching like? What was the study body like? Did you go to school every day? What were the teachers like? Did you take any exams? etc. Ques tion 3) Can you tell me about your school in (second country of refuge or refugee camp)?

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205 Probes: What was your elementary school like? Middle School? What languages were used in your school? What was the teaching like? What was the study body like? Did y ou go to school every day? What were the teachers like? etc. Question 4) What grade were you in before you came to the United States? Question 5) What was the language of instruction in each school? Part II) How do adolescent refugee students conceptualize schooling, education, and success and how do they plan to achieve their career goals? Question 6) Do you think school and education is important? Why/Why not? Probes: What do you think of your English Language (EL) classes? Do you need them? Do you spend too much/too little time in them? How helpful are they? If you did not have to attend EL classes what other courses would you take? How will you learn if you are not fluent in EL? etc. Question 7) What subjects are you most interested in? What is your favo rite class at school? Question 8) If you did not have to be at school what would you be doing? What would you like to be doing? Do you like coming to this school? Why/Why not? Question 9) Have you thought about your plans after high school? If so, tell me more. Question 10) Most immigrants come to the United States of America with a dream. Do you have one? If so what is it? Question 11) What does success mean to you? What does it look like? Question 12) Do you think you will be successful? How will you do it? Question 13) Do you think that your school experience would have been different if you were White/Male/native English speaker? etc.

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206 Part III) Which factors influence their decisions about careers? Question 13) If you do not attend school what will you r family say/think? Question14) What does your family say about education? What would they like you to become? Question 15) What are some of the biggest obstacles in your path to success? Question 16) What will you tell your friends back home about coming to the U.S.? Question 17) What can schools and teachers do to help you achieve your dream? Question 18) Do you think your school would have treated you differently if you were White/Male/native English speaker? etc. Question 19) What can parents and commun ities do to help you achieve your dream?

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207 APPENDIX B CASE LEVEL DISPLAY MATRIX FOR ORGANIZATION OF INTERVIEW DATA Case A Research Question 1 Finding 1 Finding 2 Finding 3 Finding 4 Finding 5 Finding 6 Case A Research Question 2 Finding 1 Finding 2 Finding 3 Case A Research Question 3 Finding 1 Finding 2 Finding 3 Finding 4 Finding 5 Case A Other information Source: Stake, R. E. (2006). Multiple case study analysis New York, NY: Guilford Press.

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208 APPENDIX C CROSS CASE META MATRIX Themes based on theoretical framework and research questions Case A 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Finding 1 Finding 2 Finding 3 Finding 4 Case B Finding 1 Finding 2 Finding 3 Finding 4 Case C Finding 1 Finding 2 Finding 3 Finding 4 Source: Stake, R. E. (2006). Multiple case study analysis New York, NY: Guilford Press.

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209 APPENDIX D CROSS CASE META MATRICES WITH FINDINGS Table D1 : Participant I nformation by B road T hemes Name Resources Obstacles College Knowledge Immediate Goals Anil Grad HS Parents, brother, wife, Nepali community, Ms. L at school, Manager at work Thinks of self as immigrant, not refugee Determination Car and license Oldest, first in family to HS, lack of time to study, 30 40 work weekly, fatigue, lack of sleep, household chores du ring time off drive, grocery, Laundromat Family health issues Stress, tension Lack of guidance and information, No college visits can describe CNA work w/o knowing what it stands for Nursing/Accounts? to live with parents, get from parents, buy house, Not work all the time Jeevan Grad HS Mother, Wife, baby girl, siblings, Nepali community, Friend Mohammed Mom literate 7 th grade + English Car and license Oldest, first in family to HS, head of family, sole earner, 70 80 hours work weekly, fatigue, lack of sleep, household chores during time off drive, grocery, Laundromat Family health issues Anger, frustration, stress Lack of guidance and information, No college visits Not thinking of college for 1 2 years due to confl icting priorities Find different ways of earning money Earn enough money to Earn $17 18/hour future Not work all the time Mihir Grad HS Youngest Parents, 2 older brothers, sister in law, grandmother, Nepali community, friends, mentors Entire family earns, except grandmother Thinks of self as immigrant, not refugee Determination, Self advocacy, self efficacy, Time to pursue hobbies Work as community activist Car and license, own home Tired, lack of sl eep 30 hours work weekly Felling rushed all the time work school HW home Already enrolled at Community College completed financial aid paperwork, has a plan to move from community college to police academy Ready to get loans Brother at University Become a police officer serve community Marry to get double income Drive to all 50 states Khin Senior Family loves to read Does not talk much Often bored at school Lack of guidance and information. Minimal college information. No college visits to have good income, good job, own home, car, transportation help community members by improving nutrition Myine Senior Family mom, dad, 5 siblings, Burmese community No pressure to marry No pressure to study Fighter, fiercely protective of fami ly Learning disability, low literacy lack of self confidence Sadness, anger, frustration, feeling of not belonging Missed 2 years of schooling due to wrong DOB on passport Primary homemaker, caregiver for disabled dad, Mom only earning member Family and self health issues Negative experiences at first HS; ignored by Ts, bullied by peers Never discussed college with anyone Does not think she will ever go Become a soldier and fight enemies (Burmese liberation) Wants to spend her life looking aft er parents and decorate headstones after they are gone

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210 Name Resources Obstacles College Knowledge Immediate Goals Amina Senior Youngest but one Family support, Mom taking GED classes and working with community, Dad community leader of Rohingya Muslims, stay at home, Community helper No pressure to marry Self advocacy, self efficacy, positive, happy, determined, hardworking has built a network of mentors at school and outside Student Aide at school No formal schooling, low literacy First in fly at HS Spent years in Malaysia at home out of sight Tired, fatigue About to age out of HS Family health issues Will go to college at any cost Attended a summer class at Community College has researched online about college will work part time at a pharmacy to put her on track for medical school Will go to college at any cost Become a doctor to go from zero to full credit in life Shwe Sopho more Family, Burmese community, extended involvement in temple and dancing, Fluency in English, teaches literacy to elem kids, Small school and support at current HS Own home, stay at home mom Gained 1 year of schooling due to wrong DOB on passport Parental pressure to succeed, parents lack of understanding and trust about school and college, An xiety that parents lack of cooperation will hold her back, demands Parenting of brother Discomfort in talking to school counselors Cannot share Burmese identity with school friends Wants a small school needs scholarships and grants May visit colleges through school if parents permit Achieve parents dreams to finish HS and go to college have a good life Live with parents and give them happiness Go to medical school Htway Sopho more Youngest of 9, family, relatives, Burmese community, temple and dance travel with dance troupe Second at HS One sister at University Athlete, volleyball player and coach Small school, deep bond w Ts, Happy, sunny, positive personality No schooling in family history, lack of guidan ce Sister at University starting to think about college Teachers at school are talking about college No idea how to pay for it Is always changing, teacher coach Rashid Senior Family brother, mom, siblings Mom studies till 7 th grade. dad HS and English fluent Fluency in English Role models in community Determined, positive, chatty, funny (class clown) Self confidence Car, license Second born, head of family, Dad no more, keeper of culture and language in family, Must wor k tired, fatigue, full time work Lives on energy drinks, Missed 1 year of schooling due to wrong DOB on passport Conflict between education and responsibilities Family health issues Will work for a year no college visits has walked around a Community College has not discussed college with anyone researched online and talked to uncle is planning to talk to counselor Finish HS get good income and good job Own software company Take computer classes Feels caught in school work school cycl e

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211 Table D2 : Demographic and Background Information Name Date of Birth real Date of Birth on passport Place of Birth Parents POB Came to the U.S. Religion Anil 1992 1992 Nepal Dori camp Bhutan Oct 2012 Buddhist Jeevan 6 8 93 same Nepal Dori camp Bhutan 2011 Hindu Mihir 7/2/95 same Nepal Dori camp Bhutan 2009 Hindu Khin 1995 ? Burma Burma Aug 2012 Christian Myine 1995 1993 Burma Burma Jul 2009 Christian Amina 1992 ? Thailand Burma 2012 Muslim Shwe 2 1 98 2 1 99 Burma Burma 2007 Buddhist Htway 5 27 99 ? Thailand Burma 5 th grade Buddhist Rashid 10 27 94 1 27 94 Sudan Eritrea Sep 2011 Muslim Table D3 : Demographic and Background Information continued Name Order of Birth HS Status Gender EN Level Health Issues Anil First Graduated M Low Medium Seizures Sib Jeevan First Graduated M Low Medium Depression Mom Mihir Youngest Graduated M Low Medium None Khin First or second Senior M Low Back pain Myine First Senior F Low Bad brain/Disabled dad Amina Fourth Senior F Medium Heart Dad Shwe First Sophomore F High exited ELL None Htway Youngest Sophomore F High still ELL None Rashid Second Senior M Medium Trauma, depression Mom, sib Table D4 : Demographic and Background Information continued Name Languages Education Journey Work history Current employment Anil Nepali, EN (DZ, Hindi) In Dori till 10 th Nepal: construction, teaching, housework, pig rearing Aide at adult and senior care center Jeevan Nepali, EN (DZ, Hindi) In Dori till 10 th Nepal: construction Restaurant: food packing, cleaning, bussing, dishes Mihir Nepali, Hindi, EN (Sanskrit, DZ) In Dori till 7 th Restaurant, meat packing Khin Burmese, Karen, EN 0 5 Burma 5 16 Thailand graduated HS Myine Burmese, Karenni, EN In Thailand till MS Housework, cutting wood, rearing pigs Cooking, cleaning, caring for siblings and disable father Amina Hindi, Burmese, EN No formal schooling homeschooled by mother Cooking, cleaning, housework Cooking, cleaning, housework, caring for nephews, Student Asst. Shwe Karen, Burmese, Mon, EN 0 5 Burma Homeschooling Helped mother at food stall in Burma Summer job, cooking, cleaning, caring for younger brother Htway Poe Karen, Karen, Burmese, EN In Thailand till 3 rd grade Asst. Volleyball coach at school Rashid Tigriniya, Tigray, Bilen, Arabic, Hausa, EN In Sudan till 11 th grade Sold vegetables and produce, cattle rearing, farming Restaurant

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212 Table D5 : Family Background Name Mother Father Spouse Siblings Anil Past: Food distributor in refugee camp Current: Meat packing Past: Construction Current: Sewing factory HS dropout Homemaker 1 brother 9 th grade seizures Jeevan Past: Teacher in Dori studied till 7 th grade, EN Current: Depression, trauma, no work Divorced no contact since childhood HS dropout Homemaker Pregnant (baby girl) All younger and in school HS to elementary Mihir No school Current: Assembles packages at FedEx Some school for becoming Past and current: Religious Hindu priest 2 older brothers 1 st no school works in a hotel 2 nd in college and works at airport Khin 4 th or 5 th grade in Burma 4 th or 5 th grade in Burma Current: Restaurant All younger and in school Myine No school Current: Meat packing No school Disabled 2 older brothers married 4 younger sibs in school Amina Some school Current: preparing GED works with refugee outreach at apartment complex No school Not working Heart condition 1 st brother no school dishes and laundry at hotel 2 nd brother no school works at mosque 3 rd sister no school separated 2 children dishes and laundry at hotel Younger sister in HS Shwe Past: owned food stall, meat packing in Greeley Current: Homemaker Past: Meat packing Current: Door assembly factory Younger brother in 6 th grade Htway 1 st grade Current: Looking for work No school Current: Meat packing 8 siblings, 6 no school, 1 sister preparing GED, 1 sister at University Rashid Till 7 th grade in Sudan part time work HS graduate EN fluency Mechanic Deceased Older brother Limo driver All 5 younger siblings in school HS to elem Table D6 : Career and Role Models Name No. of times met counselor Role Model in Community Immediate Career Goal Long Term Career Goal Anil 0 None Know s some Nepalis who are going to college Become CNA Nursing or Accounts Jeevan 0 Aunty who is a CNA Refugee friend from Africa who works at airport and goes to Metro State Look for a 2 nd job Learn computer or business; if stuck in restaurants maybe become a cook Mihir 6 7 S everal Nepali refugees Uncle has PhD from Nepal & is teaching in Ohio Close friend is a school paraprofessional Look for a part time job after college starts in Fall 2015 Become a police officer help community

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213 Name No. of times met counselor Role Model in Community Immediate Career Goal Long Term Career Goal Khin 0 None Finish HS Become a doctor or nurse help community specifically in food and nutrition Myine 0 Some Karenni people who are translators Find any job Become a soldier to manage Burma and chase enemy Devote life to looking after parents Amina 0 Burmese friend who studied in Malaysia and went to the UK Some Burmese Muslin girls from Thailand who are studying nursing Walgreens pharmacy Become a doctor cardiologist or family practice Shwe 0 daughter in nursing school Doctor Htway 0 Cousin is a MS teacher Aunty is a local community leader Peers who dance and are in HS Changing teacher, sports coach Rashid 0 Aunty (Eritrean) pharmacy related work in the U.S. U ncle teaches computers in the U.S. Uncle fixes computers in the U.S. Cousin gra duated U.S. college Study computer science and own business