How do children of immigrants achieve success despite daunting obstacles? Poverty, language barriers, parents' long work hours, and limited resources work against immigrant children's efforts to do well in school. Yet some of these students manage to beat the odds, graduate from universities, acquire advanced degrees, and achieve careers in the professional sector.
Exceptional Outcomes is a pioneering contribution to the understanding of the factors enabling impoverished children of immigrants to succeed in education and employment. The authors in this volume combine state of the art quantitative and ethnographic research conducted in various parts of the United States to create the most comprehensive portrayal of the ways in which immigrant families and their children overcome a multitude of challenges in their course to assimilation.
The research in the volume is based on third survey of the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study (CILS), which followed a large sample of second-generation minority youth – from early adolescence into adulthood – and found that less than 1 percent of the sample managed to enroll in college and graduate from a four-year institution in early adulthood. Using qualitative research methods, a further study was conducted to determine what part of their life histories were shared by the subsample and where they diverged. Contributors to this volume found that the events leading to positive outcomes were neither random nor unique to each case. A series of common patterns emerged of great significance to theory and policy design.
The articles in this volume have been organized in three major sections:
· Theory and Facts – identifies life events and institutional factors that can lead to alternative and exceptional outcomes.
· Social Mechanisms – investigates the systems that model educational achievement and make differences in individual lives.
· Places and Locations – provides situational context for the institutional and family contingencies that condition patterns of achievement.
This fascinating volume of The ANNALS is a must-read for students, scholars, and policymakers concerned with the low representation of immigrant and minority students among college graduates. Although its focus is on the children of immigrants, the book is eminently relevant to the understanding of factors that increase the likelihood of success in education and employment among impoverished children in general.