Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Behnke, A. O., Gonzalez, L. M., & Cox, R. B. (2010). Latino students in new arrival states: Factors and services to prevent youth from dropping out. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 32 (3), 385-409.
Title:  Latino students in new arrival states: Factors and services to prevent youth from dropping out
Authors:  Behnke, A. O., Gonzalez, L. M., & Cox, R. B.
Year:  2010
Journal/Publication:  Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences
Publisher:  SAGE Journals
DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1177/0739986310374025
Full text:  http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0739986310374025?legid=...   
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  No

Structured abstract:

Background:  Latino youth are more likely than any other ethnic group to drop out of high school in the United States. Though some research has helped us understand the factors leading to dropout, very few studies have assessed Latino student’s opinions of services and factors that would help them stay in school (e.g., family, school, peers, and policies).
Purpose:  This study presents the results of an in-depth survey of 501 Latino students in North Carolina public schools. Findings suggest that Latino youth drop out because of the difficulty of their school work, personal problems (e.g., pregnancy or problems at home), the need to work to support their family economically, and peer pressure. Students suggest improved academic and personal support in the form of tutoring, mentoring, after-school programs; improved English as a second language classes; and more Spanish-speaking staff/teachers. Recommendations for intervention and policy are suggested.
Setting:  In order to gain a clearer understanding of the issues that Latino youth are facing in North Carolina schools and to assess the reasons why youth feel Behnke et al. 393 their peers are dropping out, ESL teachers were sent a six-page survey to be completed by Latino students in their class.
Study sample:  Approximately 36 teachers received the survey 2 weeks prior to the 2008 Hispanic Achievement Conference organized by the North Carolina Society of Hispanic Professionals because they had expressed interest in attending the event.
Data collection and analysis:  The demographic and closed-ended survey question data were analyzed using simple descriptive statistics. The open-ended questions were analyzed using analytic induction and constant comparison methods, allowing patterns, themes, and categories to emerge from the data (LeCompte & Priessle, 1993; Patton, 1990).
Findings:  The goal of this study was to investigate Latino youth’s perceptions of why their peers drop out, as well as what they think could be done to encourage their peers to stay in school. Five reasons that this sample of Latino youth 398 Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 32(3) gave for why their peers dropped out included (in order of importance) the following: personal reasons (pregnancy or problems at home), difficulty of school work, wanting to work, supporting one’s family economically by working, and peer pressure.
Conclusions:  In conclusion, this study provides important information about what students think will help their peers stay in school. The top three suggestions from youth in this study included (a) academic and personal support in the form of tutoring, mentoring, after-school programs; (b) improved ESL classes; and (c) more Spanish-speaking staff/teachers. A modest number of programs exist that target Latino youth via tutoring, mentoring, or after-school programs. However, more support is needed for groups doing this kind of work, such as Blue Ribbon Mentor Advocates, AIM, Upward Bound, Gear Up, ALAS, ENLACE, and AVID clubs (Gándara et al., 1998; Robledo Montecel et al., 2004). Frum (2007) has posited that programs are needed that “create a seamless K-16 approach that addresses high drop-out rates” among Latino youth while helping youth aspire for a postsecondary education (p. 100). Increased support and evaluation of these and other research based programs for youth would improve the Latino dropout phenomenon in new arrival states and in other parts of the United States.

Populations served:  Transition-age youth (14 - 24)
Culturally diverse populations (e.g., African Americans, Native Americans, and non-English speaking populations)
High school dropouts / functionally illiterate persons
Outcomes:  Other