Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2019 Issue »

    Reconsidering Organizational Habitus in Schools

    One Neighborhood, Two Distinct Approaches to Advanced Placement

    Suneal Kolluri
    Rigorous learning opportunities at high schools in low-income neighborhoods are limited and ineffective, and in these settings the Advanced Placement (AP) program has mostly eluded successful implementation. In this study, Suneal Kolluri analyzes two schools in the same low-income, Latinx neighborhood that, despite comparable numerical gains, have adopted very different approaches to AP. One school emphasizes competition and dominant cultural norms, while the other stresses collectivism and community cultural wealth. This analysis elaborates the theory of organizational habitus to suggest that schools can look beyond local postsecondary opportunity structures when designing policies and curricula. Ultimately, Kolluri argues, a school’s organizational habitus will profoundly impact how students engage with AP classes.

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    Suneal Kolluri is a PhD candidate at the University of Southern California. He researches college readiness and social stratification in high schools, and his work has appeared in journals, including the Review of Educational Research, Urban Education, and Phi Delta Kappan. Kolluri was a public school teacher in Oakland, California, for nine years.
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