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The Plight of Invisibility

A Community-Based Approach to Understanding the Educational Experiences of Urban Latina/os


Donna Marie Harris and Judy Marquez Kiyama

The Plight of Invisibility offers unique contributions that inform the use of a community-based research approach that examines educational issues identified by urban, Latina/o communities. It offers a new lens from which to understand the circumstances of Latina/o students in schools as they navigate in social systems that are in opposition to them, thus rendering Latina/o students and their families invisible. Despite these challenges, the book offers examples of community programs and resources that support and address the needs of Latina/o students as they build resiliency and determination to persist. Community organizations and advocates, educational researchers, practitioners, students, and policymakers will find The Plight of Invisibility useful to reframe deficit discourses about Latina/o students and their families. In addition, the book is appropriate for classes including methodology courses focused on community-based research, educational policy and/or college access courses, and Latina/o studies courses.
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12. Conclusion, Resources, and Best Practices

Models of Community Research Approaches


12. Conclusion, Resources, and Best Practices


The chapters in this volume demonstrate the relevance of community-based research as a means of making visible the educational realities of Latina/os in Rochester, New York. The stories conveyed demonstrate that urban school districts such as Rochester, New York, must recognize the complex set of circumstances confronted by Latina/o students and their families when navigating public schools. In this particular setting, our study was able to identify issues regarding circular migration, bilingual education access, gender identity and stereotypes, school safety, and racial/ethnic conflict as playing important roles in shaping the educational experiences among study participants. Despite the obstacles confronted, students and parents were able to draw on local resources through community- and school-based programs to aid in high school persistence. Given our findings, we also offered recommendations that have been continuously sought by the Latina/o Education Task Force since the dissemination of our initial findings (Kiyama & Harris, 2010). Since our work in Rochester is unfinished and continues, we consider alternative ways to deepen efforts for both research and activism that is grounded in the realities of Latina/o students and families.

The challenge with a community-based research approach to advance activism is that there is no single way to go about it. The strategy undertaken in Rochester represents one approach to engage in research designed for social change. As the Latina/o Education Task Force in Rochester, New York continues...

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