Graduation Year

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Anthropology

Major Professor

Antoinette Jackson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Messing, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Angela Stuesse, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Camilla Vasquez, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Tara Deubel, Ph.D.

Keywords

Language Ideologies, Education, Race, Ethnicity, Migration

Abstract

Using an applied anthropological approach focused on language, this study investigates the relationship between linguistic, racial, and ethnic identities and school resource access in the context of migration. This project examines how these identities are established, experienced, reified, and resisted by various school actors. Exposing power at its roots through a multi-level analysis, this research informs on how people negotiate socialization into particular identities, propelling them toward positions in school and society of varying opportunity.

Focused on two elementary schools in a central Florida county that has been and is undergoing demographic changes, this work offers applications for educational institutions dealing with migration. One school’s orientation to meeting needs of non-English speaking students significantly impacts its ability to reach and form relationships with parents and improve the educational outcomes for children. The second school’s culturally responsivity makes it possible to meet higher expectations. At both schools, there is a disconnect between how the school and state think about people and how those people think about themselves, which erases groups and raises questions about how well students from those groups are served.

While the ideologies promoted in dominant society are constraining, struggles and resistance do impact and reorganize the system. This study provides recommendations for the research site and similar schools to address linguistic, racial, and ethnic educational inequity. For instance, this project emphasizes the need to provide linguistically appropriate school-home communication. It also offers a means for the schools and state to better serve students by understanding the nuances of identity through more appropriate measures of race and ethnicity.