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Voices of Determination tells the stories of ten children who overcame extraordinarily difficult circumstances to get an education and end the cycle of generational poverty. It debunks the myth that children are victims of circumstance. In this moving work, Kevin P. Chavous argues that children can and will succeed if the educational system provides them with the opportunity to learn.
Many of these narratives depict public schools at their worst. Chavous argues that poor communities routinely hire inexperienced teachers, lack resources, and pass kids along until they drop out. Once out of school, these youngsters quickly find out that they are unprepared for the job market. This, he claims, leads many young people to drift into anti-social behavior and turn to gangs, drugs, and unproductive lifestyles. In addition the narratives in this volume also address such social issues as immigration, bad neighborhoods, poor health care, addiction, and child abuse. Chavous highlights how hope for a better future enabled the children whose stories make up this volume to achieve a better life.
There are potential challenges at every stage of a child's development and the adults around them need to be nearby and ready to act effectively. Chavous concludes that the need to strengthen families and to rebuild surrounding communities should be the top priorities for society as a whole.