Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2018

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Immigrant families often view education as the pathway for upward mobility in the U.S. However, the location of schooling for children impacts the quality of the education they receive and their subsequent opportunities for assimilation and upward mobility. The segmented assimilation model does not explain assimilation fully because it ignores the impact of education for English Learning (EL) children. This dissertation integrates opportunity structure literature into the segmented assimilation framework by focusing on the education available to ELs in the location of settlement to examine possibilities for EL assimilation in a more holistic manner. The first study looks at how ELs have historically navigated repressive linguistic policies in their local schools. The second study provides a regional school district analysis of the opportunity structure in place for ELs in a new immigrant destination. The last study examines how place influences the opportunities available to Hispanic and EL students to access the STEM coursework and requirements necessary for college admission in Arizona within their local school districts. All three studies in the dissertation demonstrate that the location of schooling for EL students impacts their potential for assimilation and upward mobility. The final chapter of the dissertation discusses the connections among the three studies and considers the implications for educators, policy makers, and future research.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

William F. Tate

Committee Members

Rowhea M. Elmesky, Mark C. Hogrebe, Michelle A. Purdy, Ariela Schachter,


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