The social mobility journey: key factors in education attainment of at-risk Hispanic students of Mexican ancestry

Given the current demographic profile for Hispanics in the United States, academic underachievement is of increasing concern. This study investigates factors that promote and impede academic achievement of Hispanic students of Mexican ancestry in postsecondary education. Chapter 1 highlights the research questions used to guide this study: (1) What does research reveal about the relationship of the living conditions, traditions, and habits of Hispanic students of Mexican ancestry and their educational attainment?; (2) What does research reveal about the key socio-cultural factors that keep at- risk students of Mexican ancestry from getting a college education?; (3) What does research reveal about key factors in the K-12 educational systems that contribute to underachievement?; and (4) What does research identify as key features of successful educational programs implemented for students of Mexican ancestry at the community college level? In responding to these questions, the study emphasizes the social, economic, cultural, and educational factors that affect Hispanics living in northern California. It addresses educational attainment as it relates to living conditions, with an emphasis on home and family, and focuses on social mobility, cultural capital and class stratification. The study then highlights conditions in the K-12 that contribute to underachievement, and addresses successful practices and program characteristics.