Guided by Governance: New Perspectives on the Political Dynamics of Latino Education
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In the United States, it is widely recognized that racial and ethnic minorities now constitute an ever-expanding share of the general population. While this growth has catapulted minorities to the forefront of the public sector’s clientele, its implications for how bureaucracies serve these groups remain understudied. Using the Latino demographic and educational organizations as a policy setting, I estimate a series of statistical models to assess the determinants of group access to positions of authority in publicly governed school districts and what this access portends for minority student outcomes. While I find that a strong numeric presence in surrounding communities dictates Latinos’ access to school district leadership, I also find that institutional design moderates the extent to which their numeric strength translates into organizational influence. Contrary to conventional wisdom, statistical analyses herein indicate that citizenship status and patterns of in-school policy implementation are related in a manner that underscores unique behavioral incentives. The findings also indicate that once Latinos become leaders in the policy-making process, performance-related pressures influence their decision to improve certain policy outcomes over others. Through these findings, my dissertation sheds new light on the ways in which representation in locally elected governance and bureaucratic hierarchies shapes Latinos’ footing in the American education system. Importantly, the results of this dissertation also lead to the conclusion that Latinos’ prospects for political incorporation is a function of institutions that shape the composition of governmental bureaucracies, along with organizational pressures to improve the performance of governmental programs.
Molina, Angel Luis (2015). Guided by Governance: New Perspectives on the Political Dynamics of Latino Education. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from