Publication Date

Spring 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Marco Meniketti


education, ESL, immigrant, migrant, no child left behind, student

Subject Areas

Education; Hispanic American studies; English as a second language


The educational barriers facing migrant students are examined in this research based on the experiences of teachers and Mexican migrant middle school students in Salinas, California. Through the research, I ask if academic barriers for migrant students differ from obstacles of their peers and if so, what are those differences? The barriers to migrant students’ education were explored through a literature review, examining themes of parental involvement, teacher–student relationships, student self-esteem, and the use of educational programs. Through snowball sampling, semi-structured interviews, and surveys, data were collected from four teachers and 18 migrant students to understand how these themes manifested and affected educational experiences. Research results have shown that positive teacher–student relationships were dependent on respect and understanding of one’s cultural background. Both academic and migration stresses affected student self-esteem and attitude towards schooling. Educational programs organized by various educational institutions helped students develop skills needed to meet state testing requirements despite outside social and cultural factors. Interviews demonstrated parents’ inability to support their children academically due to educational, language, or working restrictions. This research contributes to an increased understanding of migrant education by identifying and analyzing consistent experiences of migrant students within the American educational system.