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ERIC Number: ED509551
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 53
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 118
Informing Immigrant Families about High School Choice in New York City: Challenges and Possibilities
Sattin-Bajaj, Carolyn
National Center on School Choice, Vanderbilt University (NJ1)
This paper uses ethnographic data from research in three middle schools in Queens, New York and analyzes school choice publications created and distributed by the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) to answer questions about how the district and school-level communication strategies and materials facilitate and/or complicate Latin American immigrant families' understanding of the choice process. New York City is home to one of the largest and most heterogeneous immigrant populations worldwide. The city's diversity coupled with the fact that participation in school choice is mandatory for all students who wish to attend public high school in the district make New York City an interesting place to examine immigrant families' experiences with this one aspect of educational integration. Three main questions drive this paper. First, what do the central district office responsible for high school choice and middle school personnel do to inform students and families about high school choice in New York City? What materials do they provide, events do they organize, and resources do they dedicate to explain the high school choice process to middle school families? Next, in light of the materials, events, and school-based supports that exist, how might Latin American immigrant parents' language proficiency, cultures, and educational backgrounds impact their understanding of the process and, therefore, their ability to assist their children in applying to suitable and high quality schools? Finally, in what ways, if at all, do district and school-level communication and outreach efforts take into account the range of supports that immigrant families may need to understand and participate in school choice? In other words, is there evidence that the NYCDOE or individual schools consider the possibility that some families, particularly those of immigrant origin, may be unfamiliar with the concept of school choice, may approach it from a distinct cultural perspective, and may require additional guidance? The data for this paper are derived primarily from ethnographic observations, focus groups with middle school guidance counselors, interviews with guidance counselors and school-based parent liaisons ("parent coordinators,") and informational materials developed and distributed by the NYCDOE and the three middle schools. (Contains 1 table and 8 footnotes.) [This paper was prepared for School Choice and School Improvement: Research in State, District and Community Contexts.]
National Center on School Choice, Vanderbilt University. Box 459 GPC, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203. Tel: 615-322-8107; Fax: 615-322-8828; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Vanderbilt University, National Center on School Choice
Identifiers - Location: New York