The conclusion recaps the importance of coming to know the young on their own terms in the here and now. While children’s views and experiences are sometimes glossed over in theories and policy work, the fact is that children have a pronounced impact, both on adult interactions and on their own experiences. Qualitative research includes tools to bring children’s lives and viewpoints to the forefront. One gripping case is high school dropouts, a group studied too little with child-centered inquiry. A break between a dropout and a school has been conventionally construed using a deficit model, pointing out a student’s flaws in cognition, discipline, or economic position, rather than seeking a student’s ascribed meanings about ongoing, everyday existence at a rejected school. The tools of child-centered research open an appropriate, practical window into dropouts’ lives, not to mention youth implicated in other policy dilemmas.
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