Ronald E. Hallett

University of the Pacific
Educational Administration and Leadership

Benerd School of Education
3601 Pacific Avenue
Stockton, CA
95814 |  Visit Personal Website

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My research primarily focuses on public policies that influence access to education for marginalized student groups. Currently, little is known about the effects of policy on the lived experiences of underserved students. I use a sociological approach to understand how social structures influence students' ability to navigate educational institutions. I believe that universities play a vital role in building partnerships with K-12 schools in order to increase access to college. My research involves tends to fall into three different areas: college access, homeless and highly mobile students, and action research. Currently, I am involved in research related to the development of action-oriented programs that assist schools and districts in supporting low-income students and families as they prepare for the college choice, application and transition processes. Of particular interest is how to empower parents to guide their children through these processes. In addition, I have been working in collaboration with Linda Skrla on a study of the role school districts play in supporting homeless students. Little is known about how district policy and interpretation of state and federal laws influences the opportunities that exist. I intend to build upon this work by looking at how homeless and highly mobile students experience the transition to college.

Hallett, R. E., & Skrla, L. Forthcoming 2015. "That Is Not What Homeless Is: A School District’s Journey Toward Serving Homeless, Doubled-Up, and Economically Displaced Children and Youth." International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
Abstract: School districts play a key role in identifying, supporting and educating homeless students. This qualitative case study of a school district in Northern California illustrates how district leadership serves as a bridge between federal policy and local school sites. In this case study, federal funding funneled through the state served as the incentive for the district to reeducate itself on what homelessness is. Four themes emerged concerning the role of districts in serving homeless students: (1) serving the needs of all students includes those who are homeless; (2) state and federal policy incentives can be an important aspect of reculturing a district; (3) once a district adjusts policy, it much make concerted effort to integrate and align other aspects of other district and school site functions; and, (4) once issues of access have been addressed, districts need to consider how to support the educational success of homeless students.
Tierney, W. G., & Hallett, R. E. 2012. "Social Capital and Homeless Youth: Influence of Residential Instability on College Access." Metropolitan Universities Journal 22 (3):46-62.
Abstract: This article examines the experiences homeless youth face and the influence of social networks on their education. Using a social capital framework, we analyze the experiences that are different for poor youth in general and those homeless. Data used include interviews with 123 homeless youth and more than 40 policymakers, school counselors, and after-school program coordinators. Youth identified three aspects of their lives that influence network development associated with college access: mobility and stability, meeting basic needs, and anonymity and shame. The temporary nature of their residential stability requires a systemic response by educational institutions.
Hallett, R. E. 2012. "Living Doubled-Up: Influence of Residential Environment on Educational Participation." Education & Urban Society 44 (4):371-391.
Abstract: Homeless youth face many barriers that limit success in the educational process. Subgroups of homeless youth frequently experience the educational process differently depending upon their residential context. In recent years, the federal government expanded the definition of homelessness to include youth living doubled-up. This residential formation involves multiple families forced to live together as a result of economic crises. Although the largest subgroup of the homeless youth population, they are the least studied. This seven month multiple case study of four adolescents living in Los Angeles used data gathered from interviews, observations and document analysis to explore how this residential context shapes educational participation. In particular, the division of labor and presence of a head of household influenced how youth participated in school. Findings suggest that: (1) families have multiple ways of arranging doubled-up residences; and, (2) how the families structure the doubled-up residences influences educational participation.
DOI: 10.1177/0013124510392778
Tierney, W. G., and Hallett, R. E. 2010. Writing on the Margins from the Center: Homeless Youth and Cultural Politics. Cultural Studies ßà Critical Methodologies 10 (1):19-27.
Abstract: Research with homeless youth requires negotiating with Institutional Review Boards (IRB), school districts, and social service agencies. Youth that are homeless live a life different from the researcher, thus issues of trust and caring need to be considered before asking a vulnerable young person to share his or her story. The authors share insight learned from a qualitative study of the educational barriers of homeless youth that highlight these issues. The overarching finding is that homeless youth are invisible and silenced in a social service system overwhelmed with red tape and bureaucratic procedures. The authors suggest that program developers, researchers, and policymakers give voice to homeless youth by listening to the stories they tell and then enacting policies that build on their recommendations.
Hallett, R. E. 2011. Educational Experiences of Hidden Homeless Teenagers: Living Doubled-Up. New York: Routledge.
Abstract: Homeless youth face countless barriers limiting their ability to complete a high school diploma and transition to postsecondary education. In particular, this book focuses on the educational experiences of youth living "doubled-up". First-hand data from interviews, observations, and document analysis shed light on the experiences of four doubled-up adolescents, their families and others living in the residence. The author demonstrates how complex these residential situations are, while also identifying aspects of living doubled-up that encourage and discourage educational success. The findings give researchers and policymakers a look at how this understudied segment navigates their education.

Substantive Focus:
Education Policy PRIMARY
Social Policy SECONDARY
Urban Public Policy

Theoretical Focus:
Policy Analysis and Evaluation