Frances Contreras


Exploring the Pathways to College and Opportunities to Learn for Latinos in Multiple District Contexts

This research stems from a larger statewide study, Proyecto Acceso, conducted in the 2008-2009 academic year for the Washington state legislature. This research represents a mixed-method study that explores the experiences, opportunities, and aspiration of Latino children in Washington state in multiple school contexts, as well as examines the perceptions of parents and teachers—all of whom are key stakeholders in the education of Latino youth, but rarely enter the policy discourse when determining the needs of students. Using survey, interview and focus group data from these key stakeholders, this research project represents one of the first solid attempts to examine the state of equity and access for Latino students as they attempt to navigate the educational system. While the Latino population in the state of Washington is the fastest growing, very little attention has been applied to this group of students, and as a result, Latinos remain grossly underserved and underperforming. With such little investment and attention, the cycle of poverty is likely to persist unless concerted policy efforts are implemented to address the pedagogical needs of this bilingual, low-income population.