The Latino Paradox? School Segregation and Latino Student Achievement

Stephanie Potochnick, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Sudhanshu Handa, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Research on school racial composition suggests that Latino students may actually perform better in predominantly Latino schools. These studies, however, confound proportion Latino with targeted school programs and resources that develop in response to a growing Latino and limited English proficient (LEP) population. Using data from the National Educational Longitudinal Study, this paper assesses the relationship between school racial composition and student test performance in the 10th grade. Using OLS regression, we found a positive association between proportion Latino and student achievement for LEP and Latino youth after controlling for SES and overall school quality. This positive association was, in part, explained by predominantly Latino schools’ effectiveness at administering targeted resources that catered to the needs of Latino and LEP students.

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Presented in Session 33: State and School Policies