Smyth, John (2010) Young people speaking back from the margins. Education Canada, 50 (5). pp. 23-26. ISSN 0013-1253

The diminished educational opportunities and subsequent life chances of many marginalized young people have been dramatic, even to the point of being catastrophic. But they are not hapless victims, nor are they passive recipients of deficit categories like "at riskness", placed upon them by the media, politicians, agencies, and some academics. Rather they are active agents exercising choices and making decisions about their lives in situations that amount to speaking back. When we listen to them, they tell us quite clearly what turns them into exiles from the social institution of schooling. They also have some extremely perceptive views on the very different conditions that can and need to be created for them to learn. Only a political and policy re-alignment that allows for the voices of marginalized youth to be heard and acted upon will create the changes necessary to make schools places where they can re-engage with learning.

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