Drawing from extensive oral history interviews with five Chicana women, Malagon and Alvarez (re)conceptualize the way educational scholarship defines “high achieving.” As attendees of California continuation high schools, all five women defy societal expectations by moving from these alternative educational spaces to community colleges, then transferring into four-year universities and going on to enroll in graduate programs. The article highlights the resistance strategies these young women employ through their critique of social oppression, with the authors using critical race theory, Latina/o critical theory, and Chicana feminist epistemologies to make sense of the women’s narratives and their journeys through the educational pipeline.
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Maria C. Malagon
is a doctoral candidate in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her dissertation research focuses on the educational trajectories of Chicano male continuation high school students, providing a socio-historical understanding of how the social construction of racialized masculinities affects the experiences of marginalized students in remedial schooling institutions. Her teaching and research areas include critical race theory, Chicana feminisms, and racialized masculinities in education. Her work can be found in such journals as the Contemporary Justice Review
, Journal of Educational Foundations
, Seattle Journal for Social Justice
, and the Nevada Law Review
. She is currently a research associate and dissertation fellow for UC/ACCORD (All Campus Consortium on Research for Diversity) at UCLA.
Crystal R. Alvarez
is a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, with a concentration in race and ethnic studies in education in the Division of Social Sciences and Comparative Education. As a scholar-activist, her work focuses on the experiences of Chicana and Chicano continuation high school students and their pathways to and in postsecondary education. She engages critical issues of access, equity, and institutional factors related to student navigational strategies. Her research interests include critical race theory, Chicana Feminist Epistemologies, and multi-ethnic gendered identities. Her work with Latina/o students and California community colleges has appeared in a policy report and a brief published by UCLA’s Chicano Studies Research Center
. She is currently a faculty lecturer in the Ethnic and Women’s Studies Department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.