Edward D. Vargas, PhD, MPH
School of Transborder Studies, Arizona State University
Time-Out: Teacher Evaluations of Latina/o Children with Absentee Father
Using a national online web-based sample (n=650), this study uses an experimental design to understand teacher’s evaluations of Latina/o children living in single-parent homes. In this experiment, teachers are randomly given one of three vignettes and then asked to evaluate the student based on standard teacher evaluations and self-reported health measures. In the vignette, teachers are told about a student who just moved into the school district. In vignette 1: the teacher is told the father is not around because he has been deported. In vignette 2: the teacher is told the father is not around because he currently incarcerated, and in vignette 3: the teacher is told the father is not around because he is just not in the picture. We then randomize teachers into one of these three conditions and ask them to evaluate the student. Using various quantitative methods, we find that both children with incarcerated fathers (deported and incarcerated) are more likely to be poorly evaluated by k-12 school teachers. This finding confirms our prior research in which we find that parents who personally know a deportee are more likely to report that their child has been referred or diagnosed with a learning disorder. This work has broad implications given the relationship between anti-immigrant climates and poor health. Given the increased growth of Latina/o children in k-12, this research highlights the need to create policies which keep families together and increase the development of children’s wellbeing.