Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Chicano Studies

Reader 1

Supaya Portillo

Reader 2

Roberta Espinoza

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Rights Information

© 2017 Gabriela R. Ornelas


My study explores the underlying factors that allow systemic structural issues to exist within continuation high schools which result in the low educational performance of low-income Latinx continuation students. My study focuses on educators’ experiences, as I conducted 20 in-depth, semi-structured interviews with Southern California continuation high school teachers. I focused on the following areas of study: the teacher’s career, the teacher’s interactions with students, and the teacher’s opinions regarding their accessibility to funding and resources. My findings indicate that teachers, the outer community, and school-board administrators utilize cultural deficit thinking and stigmatization as tools of total erasure to exchange low-income Latinx students’ social identities with racist and classist stereotypes; in consequence, these mechanisms allow the district to impose invisibility on students’ academic and emotional needs in order to justify the formation and maintenance of institutional challenges for administrators’ fiscal benefit. Overall, these results reaffirm that our educational system reproduces social inequality; the total erasure of low-income Latinx continuation students’ academic and emotional needs permits the persistence of systemic structural issues informed by racist and classist stereotypes. My research calls for avenues of communication between administrators, teachers, and the outer community to address institutional barriers and, subsequently, establish equitable funding distributions to promote continuation high school students’ educational success with an understanding of the increased academic, emotional, and social needs of low-income Latinx students.