Journal of Research in Technical Careers


Achievement, African American, Males, Education Attainment, Rural


Educational Sociology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Race and Ethnicity | Rural Sociology | Secondary Education


This study identified perceptions of education by low performing and college track African American males in a rural town in Southern Kentucky. Through the lens of Critical Race Theory and Symbolic Interactionism, the researchers explored how 16 young men value a secondary and postsecondary education. Selected by their administrator at two high schools, the males were identified as college track or low performing. The findings revealed that both groups identify racial relations as a barrier to educational achievement; however, college track males believed education would assist in overcoming racial divides. Additional findings highlight a difference in perception based upon the presence of a male role model, the home environment, and the felt need for survival. Based on the findings, recommendations include model programs and collaborations among societal groups within the young age; a need for male social programs that foster and encourage positivity throughout a young male’s life; and the need for local resources to assist and encourage young African American males to pursue a postsecondary education.