‘Cooling out’ Hispanic immigrant youth : an analysis of math course placement in middle school
Though immigrant youth and families may view education as a path to social mobility, immigrant youth face a variety of barriers to academic achievement. While school programs, like language learning programs, should help students overcome barriers in education, like English fluency, these programs may also dampen educational prospects for youth. Youth already at a disadvantage and recent arrivals may be at the highest risk of experiencing disparities in K-12 education. This paper aims to analyze how schools shape the K-12 educational experiences of immigrant youth based on their time of migration to the U.S. through programs like Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Using data from a predominantly Hispanic Texas school district, I find that immigrant youth who arrive after first grade have less access to advanced math courses and, as a function of their LEP designation, are overrepresented in remedial math courses. Theoretically, the findings suggest that recently arrived immigrant youths' educational trajectories may be dampened by their LEP designation in ways that have lasting effects on their educational prospects.