For many students, making their way to higher education requires more than hard work and determination. Low-income minority students who overcome obstacles to achieve academic success have usually encountered at least one college-educated adult in their schooling who took the initiative to reach out to them and provide concrete academic guidance.
In this book, sociologist Roberta Espinoza introduces the idea of “pivotal moments”—interventions that point the way toward college, particularly for students from working-class or ethnic minority backgrounds. These pivotal encounters and the relationships that spring from them can help students accumulate procedural knowledge about attending college (cultural capital) and interpersonal support (social capital).
Pivotal Moments introduces a diverse group of students whose experiences highlight how teachers, counselors, academic outreach professionals, and professors can help students circumvent the barriers they encounter in attaining school success. It shows how the timing, duration, and impact of pivotal moments can redirect students’ educational trajectories. The book also translates the theory of pivotal moments into concrete practices that educators at all levels can use to intervene more effectively in the lives of working-class minority students.
This is a timely and important book. Pivotal Moments is filled with practical ideas on how to expand access to college for students who have traditionally been underserved and underrepresented. Drawing on an extensive body of research, Espinoza presents an analysis of what it takes to get more students ‘college ready’ which educators, counselors, and anyone who works with youth will find insightful and illuminating. — Pedro A. Noguera, Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education, New York University
“Roberta Espinoza’s compelling and insightful book helps explain the transformative impact that a college-educated adult—such as a teacher or counselor—can have on the life of an educationally disadvantaged student. The Pivotal Moment of academic intervention in the educator/student relationship has the potential to alter the life trajectory of these students—and our collective well-being.” — Jamie P. Merisotis, president, Lumina Foundation
One of the most significant public policy challenges of the twenty-first century is to figure out how to increase college going for low-income youth. Roberta Espinoza provides clues to how individuals inside or outside the classroom can empower students and put them on the path to college. This is a well-researched book with an important message: yes, individuals can make a difference! — William G. Tierney, university professor, Wilbur Kieffer Professor of Higher Education, and director, Center for Higher Education Policy Analysis, University of Southern California
It is refreshing to read Espinoza’s eloquent accounts of the moments when educational possibilities are created for underserved students. Most important, these are intentional—not chance—encounters, a fact that points toward a systemic, institutional approach to supporting educational equity. — Hugh Mehan, professor emeritus of sociology, University of California, San Diego, and founding director, Center for Research on Educational Equity, Access, and Teaching Excellence (CREATE)