Bala, Yamini, Class of 2007 – (Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Practicum Summary:

Primary EduCare: Toward a New Model of Education in Detroit

In Yamini’s research initiative, she examines two related topics: a two-year community-based study undertaken by the Detroit Summer Collective to equip youth to speak out on the causes of the “drop-out crisis” affecting Detroit Public Schools, and an heuristic inquiry about the Education in Human Values model as a potential solution to the problems identified in Detroit schools. Nearly 80% of Detroit’s high school students fail to graduate, and 40% of students voluntarily drop out of school. Yamini’s theory of change states that Detroit youth must be meaningfully engaged in the search for solutions for change to occur, and the long overdue repurposing of schooling must include human-values development as a basic function of schools. This study addresses the causes and solutions to the drop-out crisis, as identified and experienced by Detroit youth. Using a Live Arts Media Project, the Detroit Summer Collective discovered the three major causes that Detroit youth attributed to the drop out crisis: 1) a perceived lack of respect among students and between students and teachers, 2) a prevent practice of criminalization of students at schools, and 3) a perceived lack of relevance between the subjects taught at school and the skills needed for daily life. LAMP students offered solutions, including the mandatory implementation of school-wide respected curricula, implementation of restorative justice practices, and programs aimed at teaching youth to employ academic skills toward real world problem solving.