There is research spanning the 20th century on student disengagement. Despite all the research, the problem remains. It is time to adopt a different perspective. This article attempts to make transparent the influences on disengagement in schools by applying Jean Gebser’s (1985) empirical phenomenological study of cultural consciousness. What differentiates this approach from previous arguments is the basic premise that the “problem” of disengagement lies not with an individual or group, but with the cultural consciousness.