Learning by Dispossession: Objective Violence and Educational Failure

  • Alexander J. Means
Part of the New Frontiers in Education, Culture, and Politics book series (NFECP)


Ellison Square and CHS are located several miles south of the landmark buildings and lakeshore attractions of Chicago’s downtown. The neighborhood and school are marked by concentrated poverty and ethnoracial segregation. They also contend with persistent issues related to violence. Indeed, when I first arrived in Ellison Square during the first week of September 2010 to begin this research, I found a school and community under emergency conditions because of two recent shootings involving students from CHS. One of these shootings took place on school grounds in full view of students, police, teachers, and parents, the other in a vacant lot near the school. Neither incident was fatal, both were gang related.

Maya (African American freshman): I was in my class. I was in my division. I was right there because we were looking through the window. It was hot so we had opened the windows and we were looking out the window and we just saw the boy had just got shot and he was just lying there and somebody was like, “Get help.” And that’s when the teacher told us to sit down. All I saw was a car pulled over and the boy was just walking and they shot him. And that’s when the teacher was like, “Sit down, stop instigating” and stuff like that…I just felt hurt. Because it was like, it’s probably because of the gangs and the bad decisions he chose and stuff like that.


Sexual Harassment Charter School Security Guard School Closure Youth Worker 
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  1. 1.
    For more on the practice and effects of predatory mortgage lending in minority communities see Matt Taibbi’s (2010) Griftopia,Google Scholar
  2. David Harvey’s (2010) The Enigma of Capital,Google Scholar
  3. and David McNally’s (2011) Global Slump. Google Scholar

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© Alexander J. Means 2013

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  • Alexander J. Means

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