The hidden persistence of immigrant "dropouts": Distortions, blank spots and blind spots in research on schooling careers

Donald A. Hansen, Jo Ellen Fisherkeller, Vicky A. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

High dropout rates of Hispanic students have been documented repeatedly in recent decades. Nationwide, the percentage of 16- to 24-year old Hispanics who are reported as dropouts is almost four times that of nonHispanic Whites, and over twice that of African Americans. The analysis of first- and second-generation Mexican immigrant students presented in the first section of this chapter suggests that these estimates may be inflated and in other ways distorted. The persistence of a number of youths in the face of discouragements is hidden by methods of documentation that generate distorted estimates of dropout rates. In the second section of this chapter, we suggest that it is also hidden by a tendency, common in both documentation and substantive studies, to employ broad classifications that are insensitive to fundamental differences in ethnicity, to the character and conditions of immigration and emigration, and to family and community relationships. In the third section of this chapter, we suggest that the ways we conceptualize schooling careers help blind us to schooling persistence, as we tend to see failure in causal terms ("because of" statements) and success in terms of individual agency ("in order to" statements). In a final section, we consider the rather staggering demands that we face if we hope to reduce our ignorance of immigrant schooling in the many blank and blind spots represented by our few examples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-105
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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