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Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 35; doi:10.3390/socsci5030035

Misalignment of Career and Educational Aspirations in Middle School: Differences across Race, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Status

1
Department of Sociology, Indiana University, Ballantine Hall 744, 1020 E. Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN 47405-7103, USA
2
Department of Sociology, University of Kentucky, 1569 Patterson Office Tower, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
3
Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice, Kennesaw State University, 402 Bartow Ave, Kennesaw, GA 30144, USA
4
Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky, 111 Medical Behavioral Science Building, Lexington, KY 40506, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Carol Fuller
Received: 16 March 2016 / Revised: 21 July 2016 / Accepted: 25 July 2016 / Published: 28 July 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Equality and Social Inclusion: The Role of Education)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [463 KB, uploaded 28 July 2016]   |  

Abstract

Misalignment of educational and career goals (i.e., educational aspirations expressed are inadequate for attaining one’s desired occupation) is associated with lower educational attainment and a lack of college readiness, and may contribute to persistent educational and employment disparities. Drawing on data from 249 sixth graders in low-income schools, this research examines misalignment between educational and career aspirations across racial and ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Findings indicate that students in low-income schools aspire to middle and upper middle class careers, but sometimes lack an understanding of the educational degrees required to achieve their goals. Latinos are significantly more likely than other groups to report misaligned aspirations, as are students in the free and reduced lunch program and those without a college-educated parent. Consequently, early gaps in misaligned career and educational goals for disadvantaged students may set them on a trajectory that perpetuates educational and occupational inequalities in this population. We discuss the programmatic implications of these findings in light of the elevated college and career planning needs of students traditionally underrepresented in higher education. View Full-Text
Keywords: disparities; career goals; educational attainment; socioeconomic status; Latino; race and ethnicity disparities; career goals; educational attainment; socioeconomic status; Latino; race and ethnicity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Perry, B.L.; Martinez, E.; Morris, E.; Link, T.C.; Leukefeld, C. Misalignment of Career and Educational Aspirations in Middle School: Differences across Race, Ethnicity, and Socioeconomic Status. Soc. Sci. 2016, 5, 35.

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