East of…

I’ll be writing about the extent to which Latino students in Whittier, CA are closing or widening the achievement gap. I’ll also be exploring how coming from Whittier affects your perspective in college. I grew up in Whittier and I’ve always felt that the area was nationally unique in that the majority of residents are middle class and upper middle class Latinos. Whittier is a pretty large city. It is home to five public high schools, one catholic high school, one protestant christian high school, and a university and community college.

Census data reported in the Whittier Daily News in 2015 states “ Whittier’s Latino population grew to 60 percent in 2005 from 56 percent in 2000…the city is better educated than it was five years ago, and its residents are a bit older.” I’m curious to learn how well Latino students from Whittier achieve in school when compared to the national average for Latinos.

I will use tools such as Census Reporter and DataQuest to analyze census data in schools. I will also interview administrators and teachers from the Whittier Union School District and well as teachers and administrators from Rio Hondo Community College, in Whittier. My cousin, Lupe Alvarado, is a counselor and professor at Rio Hondo and will be a valuable resource in this area of the project.

With so much data being used I want to add a more personal element to the story by interviewing students. As they enter university classrooms, their race and socioeconomic status may seem at odds with one another as they consider the demographics of their peers. Does coming from the most dense concentration of Latino wealth in the country impact the academic and social justice aspects of their education? Also, after college, do they build their lives in Whittier or move out of the community? I’m hoping interviews with students from Whittier can give a better understanding of these questions.

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