Date of Award

Summer 7-19-2016

Author Requested Restriction

Open Access (no embargo, no restriction)

Work Type

Ed.D. Capstone Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Educational Leadership (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Chris Knaus

Second Advisor

Vanessa de Veritch Woodside

Third Advisor

Jerry Flores

Abstract

Undocumented students attend school under the provisions of the 1982 Plyler v. Doe Supreme Court decision that determined states must provide free K-12 education for all students regardless of their immigration status. Despite this legally enforced access to free schooling, 52% of undocumented Latinx adults ages 20-29 in the U.S. are high school dropouts (Fry, 2010) compared with 14% of Latinx born in the U.S. (Krogstad, 2015). Although an estimated 65,000 undocumented students graduate high school each year in the United States, many do not have the practical opportunity to attend college, thereby eliminating one of the few opportunities for economic and intellectual advancement. This study captured the experiences of undocumented Latinx students attending a community college in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, to illustrate contemporary barriers and current policy needs. Through the use of photovoice, undocumented college students, often excluded from both policy and practical conversation about shaping public higher education shed a critical light on continued racism as higher education practice. Participant counterstories challenged dominant assumptions about undocumented Latinx, expressed their own critical, creative voices, and ultimately contested dominant, oppressive public opinion. This research thus extended critical undocumented Latinx voices to clarify the local, state, and national need to reengage in conversations about access to higher education for undocumented students.

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