Interests and Representation: Ethnic Advocacy on California School Boards
by Luis Ricardo Fraga & Roy Elis — 2009
Background/Context: Researchers have found that school districts with greater representation of Latinos and African Americans on their school boards tend to also have higher percentages of Latino and African American administrators and teachers. This increased presence of coethnics in the educational bureaucracy was then found to predict more favorable educational outcomes for these students.
Purpose: We determine if these relationships hold for Latinos in California, which has the largest Latino population in the United States and where Latino students make up just under half of all students enrolled in public schools.
Research Design: Using an original data set of all California school districts in the 2004–2005 school year, we tested these relationships for Latinos in California using multiple regression.
Conclusion: Contrary to previous research, we found that Latino representation on California school boards was not greater in systems of single-member district election. We did, however, find that the greater presence of Latinos on school boards did increase the likelihood that Latinos would be hired as administrators, but only in Latino-majority districts. After appropriate controls, districts with more Latino administrators also tended to have more Latino teachers. Last, and again contrary to previous research, we found no systematic impact of having more Latino teachers and administrators on enhancing student outcomes for either all Latino students or for English language learners.
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