This article conceptualizes the crucial social and developmental features impacting Mexican-descent youth and adolescents in low-income communities in southern California. All youth in these neighborhoods must confront and come to grips with the many environmental, socioeconomic, racial, and cultural forces they confront. However, it is the poorest of the poor and most culturally conflicted individuals and groups that must command people's attention. It is these street-socialized youth who are most prone to being subjected to disconnection and becoming gang members. To date, the various school-based strategies that have been formulated, and are constantly being reformulated, often miss the street-socialized segment. Based on extensive anthropological and sociological research, this article pushes researchers to critically examine the education of low-income youth through a multiple marginality framework. It suggests a holistic understanding of street socialization that impacts all youth, from those that are completely disengaged and in gangs to those who are succeeding despite the odds. This approach will significantly inform educational policy and practice to bring marginalized youth back on track toward a productive adulthood.
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