Among the school age population in Idaho, the populations most at risk for not graduating and or dropping out from high school are the children of migrant farm workers. According to data from the 2000 CPS, the dropout rate is 44.2% for Hispanics 16 through 24 who are born outside the United States. Previous research has focused on several contributing factors to the dropout rate such as, socioeconomic status, recent immigration, and linguistic differences, few studies however, have focused on the role of generational context as a possible factor. This study explores the role of generation as a factor influencing the dropout rate of migrant farm working children. It draws on narratives and life history accounts from 22 interviews of migrant workers, a project from the Hispanic Oral History Project conducted in 1991 for the Idaho State Historical Society. It concludes that the dropout rate among farm workers should be seen more accurately as a conflict between the collectivist cultural orientations of Latino farm worker students that clash with an educational system that emphasizes individual competition over cooperation.

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Faculty Mentor

Dr. Robert McCarl