Structuring failure and success: Understanding the variability in Latino School Engagement

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Why do some low-income immigrant and native-born Latino students do well in school while others do not? Why are low-income Latino students less successful in school than their White peers? What are the effects of institutional mechanisms on low-income Latino school engagement? For the past two decades, the most persuasive answers to these questions have been advanced by the cultural-ecologists, who suggest that differences in academic achievement by race result from minority groups' perceptions of the limited opportunity structure. However, variations within the Latino student population remain - some Latino students succeed and some fail. In this article, Gilberto Conchas describes the results of a study that examined how school programs construct school failure and success among low-income immigrants and U.S.-born Latino students. The results of Conchas's study show that, from students' perspectives, institutional mechanisms have an impact on Latino school engagement, and he links cultural-ecological explanations and institutional explanations. The findings from this study extend our understanding of the fluidity and nuance of within-group variations in Latino student success in an urban school context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-504
Number of pages30
JournalHarvard Educational Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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