Harmful or Helpful? School Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Composition and the Educational Outcomes of Mexican Origin Youth

Elizabeth S. Ackert, University of Washington

Mexican origin youth are one of the most educationally disadvantaged racial/ethnic subgroups in U.S. schools. The educational stratification and immigrant assimilation literatures suggest that segregation in high-minority, high-poverty schools may exacerbate educational disadvantages among Mexican origin youth. However, several studies show that subgroups of Latino/a and Mexican origin students exhibit worse educational outcomes as they gain exposure to non-Latino white and affluent students in schools. I use the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 to evaluate the relationships between school composition and the educational outcomes of Mexican origin youth in high school and postsecondary education. Preliminary results suggest a positive relationship between exposure to non-Latino white and non-poor students and Mexican origin educational outcomes. Mexican origin youth in all generational subgroups exhibit lower rates of dropout, higher rates of SAT/ACT completion, and higher math test scores as the percentage of non-Latino white students and average student socioeconomic status increase.

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 Presented in Session P6. Migration and Urbanization/Population, Development, and the Environment