Unaccompanied Minors

Unaccompanied Minors Immigrant Youth, School Choice, and the Pursuit of Equity

Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj
paper, 216 Pages
Pub. Date: September 2014
ISBN-13: 978-1-61250-709-5
Price: $31.00

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School choice—now a pillar of education reform in the United States—is widely touted as a strategy for addressing educational inequity. Yet efforts to implement school choice can exacerbate, rather than counteract, inequities. Unaccompanied Minors takes a close look at the experience of immigrant students and their families navigating New York City’s mandatory high school choice program.


With a humane and intelligent eye, Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj delivers unparalleled insight into the challenges and opportunities for using choice as a tool to promote greater equity in the era of mass migration. Unaccompanied Minors is a must-read for researchers, policymakers, and educators who care about immigrant students and educational equity in the twenty-first century. — Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, Dean and Distinguished Professor of Education, UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

This timely book explores how faulty assumptions and weak implementation mean that for too many poor children, school choice only reinforces educational inequity. — Charles M. Payne, author of So Much Reform, So Little Change

Unaccompanied Minors reveals critical and fundamental misconceptions about the power of ‘choice’ to transform American schooling. Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj allows readers to peer into the deep chasm that separates policymakers’ assumptions about parents, students, schools, and choice from the lived reality of families engaged in the critical high school selection process. Unaccompanied Minors underscores the important work yet to be done to ensure that the American Dream remains accessible to all. — Erin Horvat, associate professor of urban education, Temple University

Unaccompanied Minors gives us an eye-opening look behind the curtain of New York City’s lauded—and mind-bogglingly complex—system of high school choice. Anyone interested in making choice work for all students should read this important book. — Sean P. Corcoran, associate professor of educational economics, New York University

Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj’s work serves as a template for future ethnographic studies about how schools across the nation meet the needs of immigrant and other minority children. — Esther Maria Claros Berlioz, Miami University of Ohio

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About the Author

Carolyn Sattin-Bajaj is an assistant professor in the Department of Education Leadership, Management and Policy at Seton Hall University. Her research focuses on issues of educational equity and access for Latino, immigrant-origin students and families across the P–20 educational spectrum. Her work on school choice, immigrant students, and educational equity has appeared in a variety of academic journals and popular media outlets including the Peabody Journal of Education, Journal of School Choice, The Huffington Post, and the Schoolbook website. She is co-editor with Frederick M. Hess of Rethinking School Systems: A Vision for Comprehensive Reform in Milwaukee and Beyond (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013) and co-editor with Marcelo Suárez-Orozco of Educating the Whole Child for the Whole World: The Ross School Model and Education for the Global Era (New York University Press, 2010). Prior to earning her doctorate, she worked on secondary school reform at the New York City Department of Education. She lives in Montclair, New Jersey, with her husband and two sons.

Table of Contents

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