Cover of Mexican Roots, American Schools by Robert Crosnoe
Mexican Roots, American Schools
Helping Mexican Immigrant Children Succeed
Robert Crosnoe


184 pages.
from $24.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804755221
Paperback ISBN: 9780804755238


Excerpts and More

The children of Mexican immigrant families are the fastest growing population in American schools today. Education can be the key to a better quality of life, especially for a population that faces breathtakingly high poverty rates and few other opportunities for social mobility. But these children are too frequently considered at risk academically. What more can be done to help them succeed?

Mexican Roots, American Schools offers a fresh take on this timely and critically important issue by focusing on the first years of elementary school and the complex interplay of learning with other aspects of children's lives. Its social policy recommendations will be essential reading for educators, policymakers, and parents alike.

Based on the first-ever national study of the school readiness of Mexican immigrant children, this book examines how various aspects of their lives—including health, the home environment, and childcare arrangements—help or hurt their academic performance. Drawing a comprehensive picture, it shows that these children start school behind their peers and only fall farther behind over the years.

The author forcefully maintains that this situation does not need to continue. Crosnoe outlines which factors make the most difference, and recommends policy initiatives that would help change things. In addressing educational inequality, we need to target the earliest years of school and pre-school programs, offer resource centers and services for students and parents, and consider how health and home inevitably seep their way into the schools.

About the author

Robert Crosnoe is Associate Professor of Sociology and Faculty Research

Associate at the Population Research Center at the University of Texas,


"This study provides a valuable new perspective on the degree to which the effects of immigrant status are limited by socioeconomic status in Mexican immigrant families."


"Immigration is transforming the race-ethnic landscape of American schools, and the children of Mexican immigrants are the leading edge of this change. Their success in school and the resulting opportunities in adulthood will have profound implications across American society. This book is likely to become the classic study on the determinants of school achievement among young children of Mexican immigrants."

—Donald J. Hernandez, University at Albany, SUNY, Former Special Assistant, U.S. Bureau of the Census

"Insightful, analytically sophisticated, and beautifully written, Mexican Roots, American Schools provides rich insights into characteristics of children and the contexts of development that serve to influence their transitions into elementary school. Highly recommended for anyone interestedin understanding critical intervention points that could better the educational trajectories of Mexican-origin children."

—Carola Surez-Orozco, Steinhardt School of Education, New York University, author of Children of Immigration

"With immigration across the Mexican border at the center of national policy debates, it is appropriate that someone ask "what of the children?" Crosnoe's book focuses a spotlight on the family and school conditions of Mexican immigrant children. If nothing changes, the patterns documented in Mexican Roots anticipate deepening inequality in our society and challenges for Mexican immigrant children, their families, and their communities. But Crosnoe's message also is a hopeful one. Mexican Roots is a good, if sobering, read, recommended to anyone interested in the well-being of immigrant children specifically or in understanding schools as an engine for social mobility more generally."

—Karl Alexander, Johns Hopkins University