Dissertation

A Human Ecological Narrative: Mexican-American Second and Third-Generation Voices of Unheard Mothers and their Influence on their Child’s Educational Attainment

Educational attainment is not readily available to the fastest-growing minority in the United States: Mexican-Americans and their successive generations. Generational differences in educational achievement are apparent, as Mexican-Americans show limited progress with each successive generation, the only exception being between the first and second generation. Research on family environmental factors for members of successive immigrant generations in U.S. schools provides relatively insufficient insight on how to prepare to meet the demands of Mexican-American students within the context of their third- or fourth-generational differences. This study was an exploration of second- and third-generation Mexican-American mothers’ influence over their children’s educational attainment. The conceptual framework of Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory guided a narrative inquiry into the experiences of second- and third-generation Mexican-American mothers and their children. Keywords: poverty, resilience, opportunities, education, segregation, race/ethnicity, language, inequities, immigrant youth, generational status, generational differences, Latinos, Mexican, Mexican-American

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