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Schools, Justice, and Immigrant Students: Segmented Assimilation, Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Perceptions of Fairness and Order


by Anthony A. Peguero & Jennifer M. Bondy — 2015

Background/Context: Students’ perceptions of justice, fairness, and order within their schools are arguably key building blocks of socialization to participation within a democratic society. The ideals of justice, fairness, and order within their schools are particularly imperative because the educational system is founded on a belief of democracy and meritocracy. It is also known that students’ perceptions of school justice can vary by race, ethnicity, and gender. What remains uncertain is how the fastest growing segment of the United States, students in immigrant families, perceive the school justice, fairness, and order within their school.

Purpose: The aim of this study is to explore if straight-line assimilation, segmented assimilation, and immigrant optimism hypotheses explain the relationships between schools, justice, and immigration, as well as the potential role of gender, race, and ethnicity in immigrant youth perceptions of justice, fairness, and order.

Participants/Subjects: This study utilizes the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS), a nationally representative sample of high school sophomores.

Research Design: This study’s research design includes statistical analysis of secondary data.

Findings/Results: Findings do suggest that the students’ perceptions of justice, fairness, and order are indeed moderated by immigrant generation, race, ethnicity, and gender.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Educators and educational researchers who are seeking to better understand the schooling experiences of immigrant youth might benefit from questioning assimilation and Americanization as processes that inevitably promote educational progress. Given that immigrant youth are and have historically been marginalized within U.S. schools, it appears that socialization, Americanization, gender, and immigrant generational status are germane to creating democratic education for all students. Attentiveness to democratic school justice, order, and fairness is, therefore, imperative.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 117 Number 7, 2015, p. 1-42
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17945, Date Accessed: 11/20/2017 6:04:04 PM

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About the Author
  • Anthony Peguero
    Virginia Tech
    E-mail Author
    ANTHONY A. PEGUERO is an associate professor of Sociology and research affiliate of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention at Virginia Tech. His research interests involve youth violence, socialization and marginalization, schools, and the adaptation of the children immigrants. He serves as a consultant on the Cartoon Network’s campaign against bullying, and the editorial board for the journal of Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, Journal of Criminal Justice, and Sociology Compass, Crime and Deviance Section. He is also a National Institute Justice W.E.B. Du Bois Fellow, 2014 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Tory J. Caeti Outstanding Young Scholar Award Winner, 2013 American Society of Criminology Coramae Richey Mann Award Winner, and member of the Racial Democracy, Crime, and Justice Network which holds the dual goals of advancing research on the intersection of race, crime and justice and of promoting racial democracy within the study of these issues by supporting junior scholars from under-represented groups.
  • Jennifer Bondy
    Virginia Tech
    E-mail Author
    JENNIFER M. BONDY is an assistant professor of education in the Department of Teaching and Learning and Virginia Tech. Her research interests include gender, immigration, and education, as well as transnationalism and cultural citizenship in education. She has published research in such journals as Race, Ethnicity and Education, Education and Urban Society, and Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy.
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