Interview with Dr. Patricia M. McDonough in RESEV 615 on May 19, 2008

What its been and how it has evolved?
Housing project in Boston
Things were different at Stanford — students in “my” high school went here and there… students in my hs went to work in the Gillette factory, post office — started to read about class — and my dissertation became the book — what captured my interest in graduate school was Bourdieuian Framework — people are always trying to get ahead – yet the system keeps reproducing itself. Because there are hidden systems of social reproduction. Early on it made sense in a very intuitive way and it took time to get a clear sense of. People always made decisions that were in their best interest. Serendipitously, research on private counselors came out — what we were trying to do is — 5 students in my book talked about private counselors — the Korn Yamasaki piece — spoke with Sandy Astin about the college freshman — the question was added — did you use the use of a private counselor? the book showed qualitative information with respect to private college counseling. It had never been dealt with analytically. It really came from the dissertation — parts — well obviously in the book it was white women, class, and the high school settings — came after a rather protracting fight with her dissertation committee — wanted to have male, female, etc. After this, working with graduate students to help do some quantitative analysis of the information – not just looking at larger numbers — looking at various under-represented groups — over time — ranking systems, college counselors school-based counseling, developing college counselors, action research, try to improve college education and access issues. With Ryan and other graduate assistants — series of papers of socio-cultural approaches how students understand college costs and financial aid.

Chapter with Ryan Looking at College Access as a P-20 program — have you worked with elementary/middle schools?
Action. worked with a local school district — elementary and middle schools that feed into the HS. Invited to a meeting – no clue what she was getting into — I spent 5 years working with them on college access. We did a series of things with college cultures in high school, and we ran middle school awareness programs and studied that phenomen. Gear-up grant — federally funded TRiO program — improve cllege access with coherts of middle school students. California gained a large grant – a 5 year grant. Her particular project was to help develop a curriculum — language arts standards in CA and figure out a curriculum – on how to build college knowledge within the curriculum. Everything geared to the standards. teachers can take the curriculum and not have anything to prepare — 30 mins 3 days, etc. Here are the standards, activities, follow-up activities — knows nothing about anything in K-12. Former middle school teacher (Harvard) and worked together with the project. Worked with our Ed.D. program to develop a full set of materials about fibinoci numbers for math — Forensics curriculum were presented with a scenario with a main college athlete because it was stolen by the other team — the students had to learn about the students — the students had to learn about the quarterback and his backpack — they had to learn about classes, residence halls, etc. All of it was in the curriculum — for 5 years. (??Susan Sumarge Powell??) — her work was focused in on the transition of 5th grade language art teachers in a single school, small district, help their students better prepare their students to transition to middle school – they built a college access curriculum — their development and school age process.

After reading the book, I am from CA, I know the CA system and I am wondering how this sort of stuff transfers to Iowa, or Boston, or… we have an expansive system around CA — how does it translate?

I think it easily translates. If you look at the data nationally — stratification exists in the same patterns of inequality — operate from state-to-state. I was in TX in Houston — same patterns hold true there — hold true with poor students, Latino and African American students. Who end up not going to college or local community colleges — all of them are focused on UT-Austin – for their students — One school district — upper middle class neighborhood — integrated — school within a school. New populations within the school or residence area — stratification kicks in — it is not assumed that everyone will go to college or same types of colleges. This still happens in my old neighborhood, Boston. The same things of inequality of perpetuated.

Follow-up: Have you seen a change in the viewpoint of community college — difference between the colleges in California — are they the same as in 1997.

The system is harder to get in the elite sectors. It is not just the UCs. It is a very competitive process for the various systems. It is just as competitive in Long Beach as it is to get into Riverside. UCLA == we reject the largest number of college applicants in the United States. Shows the selective process. It is much more stratified. When I wrote the book, no one was talking about college culture. We had outreach programs working for awhile, small modest programs. Late 1990s far more policy attention to college access. We have been investing more time, attention to college access — although first cut every year. K-12 had never talked about it — and now it is everywhere. Because of the policy attention — colleges are looking and K-12 are looking…. people are looking at the issue… It happens at the same time as affirmative action discussion, financial aid… people’s efforts have been on a very busy policy agenda and budget agenda. It happens at a time to invest in it. We understand it as a problem, but the outreach budgets have been taken out of the budgets — across the country it is taken out. Private fund raising has happened — high school programs… some has changed… the good news is more people are working on this issue — even in tight budget times — it is a constant discussion – it is a plus.

Interested in ESL College Access — I am wondering — about how it impacts with track placement?

Track placement does impact it. In the upper most track placements are in non-college bound tracks. I am not sure who is doing research in the way you are suggesting it. Ryan is a better resource in it than I am in this area.

You touched on Bordieux within the research question… I am just wondering why it is widely used and significant? Why don’t we see others? It seems privileged in the literature?

First of all, it seems to me…. Have you talked about theoretical frameworks as a paradigm? (Ryan — yes somewhat)
Kuehn — structure of the… He says, theoretical frameworks are paradigms — I think of it as a giant game of king of the hill — we move from one paradigm to the next — inside every paradigm there is an unanswered dilema — that theoretical framework cannot answer… I can tell you when I started this people were not using Bordieux — when I started everything seemed psychologically based… and it wasn’t the way my mind worked… Hosler — in the et all… talked baout the individuals — why were so many individual minds were operating one way..example: working class — community college — how much did financial effect impact it? it didn’t it… they would get into a much more elaborate discussion about the information — not a lot of other option information and how they could afford it with respect to private elite universities… people like me do not go to schools like that… Bordieuian framework helped get to that point… ever
y framework will have its day… and then pushed off the hill… every has weakeness =- they are real… or there is inadequate attention… it can be used in a deficit perspective... It is a virtual impossibility to read the work– you may want to stab your eye out — sentences can go on for over a whole page… people make criticisms without understanding it… cultural capital without knowing of it… it is more than just culture capital it is the framework… poker analogy — cards you have and the cards that are played… people use it in a limited way… what Bordieuian — everyone’s culture has capital — it only has capital in the field… particular forms of capital… if I want to use it in different field — each one has different capital… people have misinterpreted — Bordieuian school’s are advancement — dominant culture’s capital is NOT taught in schools… researchers, including myself… I wish I could have been more precise… more clear about that… frameworks like… salartian… Tariouses…. are bringing in frameworks of cultural wealth — get the insights from both and bring Bordieuian and Culture of wealth to view it all… Ryan’s work is wonderful examples of a whole new example… best advice is to take a lot of courses outside of department of education to increase your toolkit to learn about the methodology, your work will be rich for that and give better depth to your research.

How do you draw upon both qualitative and quantitative — how do you draw upon both? How do you choose?

When you are at it for awhile – you want to mix it up — you want to look around financial aid and college costs… Other times I want to go from qualitative to quantitative… I am better at qualitative. I only take on quantitative when I have a skilled person to work with on it. I need the help on the technical aspects of it — i want to make sure I am not messing it up. It is like using a different hand… I write with my right — and when I am writing with my left I am not as skilled. When I am taking quantitative work and operationalize it with qualitative — and then doing it — in the last five years, I don’t know if I have done any quantitative work. The other thing that has been more productive is to partner a lot with graduate students and alumni with UCLA who i learn a lot from and push me to think about things differently… I like my work with Ryan because I am learning… because he thinks about things differently… he keeps me fresh and scared to hold up my side of the collaboration. It is about the interesting people to think of interesting questions with… the socioculture money perspectives — Ryan can talk more about this… financial barriers are the most intractable getting students in the right courses to see college as affordable — we have not been able to move very far… same level of inequality since the 1960s. that is appalling to me. the stratification continues. Meeting with 9 other people to engage in the research and collectively come together to do the research, push the methodological perspectives, and orientations to gain perspectives.