Essays in Education


The purpose of this study is to investigate and compare steps taken in the United States and Ireland to prevent students leaving school without sufficient qualifications. The study focuses on the context and attitudes towards educational disadvantage in the two countries and the subsequent policies. The Bridging the Gap (BTG) project supported by University College Cork highlights an exemplar case study through which educational leaders in both countries have opportunities to learn from each other. Both educational systems face two endemic questions: 1) How to make the best use of educational research bridging policy and practice? 2) How to incorporate the voice of disadvantaged youth in the decision-making systems that impact their lives? The US system can learn from the Irish in the use of the arts in schools as a motivational tool for and of the use of ICT with disadvantaged populations. Recommendations for Irish schools include investigation of the US model of full service community schools, to work with other offices within Irish government whose policies have implications for educational practice and to base evaluation of school level outcomes on a more rigorous methodological model.

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