The Road Not Taken: Capturing the Essence of one Family's Experiences with Dropping Out

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Educational Administration

Date of Award

Fall 2013


This qualitative phenomenological study provided a rare opportunity to reveal and analyze the lived experiences of 13 members of one white, working-class family in which dropping out of high school has impacted multiple generations. Ranging in age from 20 to 65, participants were representative of public high school students between the mid-1960s and 2011. This was the first time these family members, six of whom dropped out, had been asked to share their stories. As themes of meaning emerged in their personal life stories, the essence of the phenomenon of dropping out rose to the surface--the need of all students to feel a sense of belonging and self-worth as they enter school and travel the pathway to high school graduation.


Arthur Borgemenke

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Administration and Supervision