Methods: The data for this study come from the study of Lopez (2009) including one sample (N=135) from Texas which mandates bilingual education policy and the second sample (n = 59) from Arizona which mandates structured English immersion (SEI), resulting in a total data sample of 194 children aged 9 to 11. A six item self-reported scholastic competence scale was used to measure students' educational achievement rather than actual grades due to school policies that prohibit the reporting of grades. The degree of a child's cultural identities was measured by the brief ARSMA II (the Brief Acculturation Rating Scale for Mexican Americans – II). The SAFE-C (the Societal, Attitudinal, Familial, and Environmental Acculturative Stress Scale for Children) was used to measure children's perception of discrimination. The dichotomous variable, children's location, was used for the factor of institutional discrimination and was coded 0 for Texas and 1 for Arizona. Linear regression and structural equation modeling analyses were performed with the STATA and EQS 6.1 software programs.
Results:The results of the present study are consistent with the unidimensional acculturation perspective in that more time in mainstream society, more assimilation. On the other hands, higher levels of assimilation negatively influenced Latino children's educational achievement; in turn, more Mexican oriented identity led to higher levels of educational achievement. In addition, educational achievement was not related to the length of the U.S. residence. The path linking perceived discrimination with educational achievement suggested that children with higher degrees of perceived discrimination tended to show poor educational achievement than their peers who perceived less discrimination. The children in Arizona under English Immersion education policy showed poor educational achievement compared with the children in Texas where there is a Bilingual education policy.
Conclusions:This study provides the importance of the minority children's heritage cultural identity in their educational achievement. As they are assimilated into mainstream society, the factors involving discrimination can strongly and negatively influence Latino children's educational achievement while diluting the impact of their heritage cultural identity. Based upon the results, the study discussed research and policy relating to immigration, diversity and bicultural education in connection with social work practices.