20th and 21st Century Hispanic Settlement Sites: Three Essays on Place, Schooling, and Student Outcomes

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Johns Hopkins University
The explosive growth of the U.S. Hispanic population since 1990 to newer and more non-traditional areas is the result of political, economic, and environmental instability across the world as well as a declining quality of life in large urban U.S. cities. Understanding the effects of this population growth and dispersion to less traditional areas across the U.S. on schools and students is critical for the future of educational institutions. Using six large-scale datasets comprising population-level and survey data, the three papers of this project attempt to advance our understanding of how Hispanic settlement sites in the late 20th and early 21st centuries are distinct from one another and the ways in which these distinctions shape the schooling experiences of Hispanic students. Beginning with an exploration of place, the first paper lays the foundation for how Hispanic sites of settlement could be categorized to account for the various causes of migration and dispersion in the 1990s versus the 2000s. The second paper explores how sites of settlement may shape the achievement of Hispanic students. Finally, the third paper probes the effects of a specific school-level mechanism – within-school stratification – on student outcomes. It also considers the extent to which this effect varies by place to emphasize how institutions might reinforce racial and social hierarchies based on the social and legal contexts, co-ethnic status, and racial and ethnic diversity of an area. The findings of this project indicate that there are distinctions in both the population compositions and institutional characteristics of 21st and 20th century sites, which offers support for the need to distinguish between these areas. Furthermore, there are diverging stories of achievement and post-secondary educational attainment, such that student achievement in newer sites is higher than in established sites, while post-secondary attainment and success of students is far lower. Finally, I find that within-school stratification as a racialized system broadly reflects the stratification of place and is negatively associated with college enrollment. The contributors to post-secondary attainment, particularly for Hispanic students, many of whom might be immigrants, is a far more complex process that may extend beyond the functions of secondary schooling.
Hispanic Settlement, New Destinations, Demographic Change, Schooling, Place-based Effects, Stratification, Racialized Organizations