Addressing the Hispanic Dropout Crisis: Predicting the Educational Persistence of Mexican-Descent Students Using Demographic and Process Variables
DiPaula, John Joseph
Lucas, Margaretha S
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ABSTRACT While there has been a concerted effort to close the achievement gap and decrease school dropout rates for more than 30 years, Hispanic students are still dropping out of school at two and a half times the rate of black students, four times the rate of white students and almost eight times the rate of Asian students (Kaufman, Alt & Chapman, 2002). The Hispanic dropout crisis has been recognized as a national problem and was addressed by the federal government through the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, through its focus on closing the racial gap in graduation rates. Regrettably, data continues to suggest that this situation is not improving (U.S. Census Bureau, 2000). A more thorough understanding of the relationship between race/ethnicity and educational persistence is necessary to help create policies and practices to increase Hispanic graduation rates and close the graduation gap. Investigating deeper into this issue of Hispanics drop out, census data disaggregated by national origin, reveal that there are strong differences between nationalities and that Mexicans have the lowest rate of educational attainment among all Hispanic groups (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004). Due to the disparity in performance within the larger Hispanic population, this study will focus on the sub-group with the lowest educational attainment and highest drop out rate, Mexican youth. The purpose of this study is to investigate those input and process variables that may be influenced by school personnel in order to help increase Mexican-descent students' ability to persist in school toward graduation. The current study, in essence, will contribute to a better understanding of students' social support from adults at school (social capital) and the effect this has on students' educational expectations, attendance and persistence. The current study utilizes the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002/2004 (ELS:2002/2004) dataset sponsored by NCES.