"What We Needed to Do” – Exploring Student Understanding of the Value of the High School Diploma From the Perspective of Male, Black, High School Graduates
The purpose of this study is an examination of the experience of schooling and how these experiences inform post-secondary opportunities from the perspectives of eight Black, male, high school graduates in the state of Alabama. Using a qualitative approach, I conducted semi-structured interviews using phenomenological questioning and then utilized narrative analysis to code and analyze the data. Findings reveal the declining value of the high school credential with post-secondary opportunities limited by a student’s store of valued cultural capital. The themes that emerged from the participant narratives included the isolating mechanism of cultural capital, the weight of the myth of meritocracy, and the impact both combined have on the experience of schooling and post-secondary opportunities in low-SES, majority-minority schools.