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Civic Inequalities? Immigrant Incorporation and Latina Mothers' Participation in Their Children's Schools

Veronica Terriquez
Sociological Perspectives
Vol. 55, No. 4 (Winter 2012), pp. 663-682
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.1525/sop.2012.55.4.663
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/sop.2012.55.4.663
Page Count: 20
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Civic Inequalities? Immigrant  Incorporation and Latina Mothers' Participation in Their Children's Schools
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Abstract

Researchers often find that Latinos’ racial/ethnic and im­migrant background characteristics are associated with barriers to their incorporation and acceptance into mainstream civic institutions. Using survey data from Los Angeles, this article identifies correlates of mothers’ school-based civic engagement. Findings suggest that Latina mothers are just as involved as white mothers, after accounting for differences in educational attainment and other nonethnic factors. Results also show that after Latina immigrants have lived in the United States for a decade, their participation in their children's schools resembles that of their U.S.-born counterparts. Although Latinas’ English-speaking abilities predict their parental school engagement, their citizenship and legal statuses do not. Evidence suggests that Central American immigrants participate at modestly higher rates than do Mexicans. Findings challenge assumptions about Latina parents’ disengagement from their children’s formal education, while highlighting sources of variation in school-based civic participation among this diverse group.

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