Over the Ivy Walls

The Educational Mobility of Low-Income Chicanos

By Patricia Gándara

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, The Social Context of Education
Paperback : 9780791426104, 168 pages, August 1995
Hardcover : 9780791426098, 168 pages, September 1995

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Table of contents

List of Tables




1. The Study

2. Home Influences

3. Family Stories as Cultural Capital

4. Schools and Neighborhoods

5. Peers

6. Personal Attributes and Individual Differences

7. The Women

8. Summary and Conclusions

9. Lessons for School Reform




Explores social factors that lead to academic success for low-income Chicanos.


Unique among literature on minority and Chicano academic achievement, Over the Ivy Walls focuses on factors that create academic successes rather than examining school failure. It weaves existing research on academic achievement into an analysis of the lives of 50 low-income Chicanos for whom schooling "worked" and became an important vehicle for social mobility. Gándara examines their early home lives, school experiences, and peer relations in search of clues to what "went right. "

Patricia Gandara is Associate Professor of Education at University of California, Davis.


"The voices of these young people come through strongly. Gándara has resisted the urge to 'translate' for them and the messages are explicit. I like the breadth of the study and the fact that Gándara went back and compared those who'd completed their higher education during the 70s and 80s with those who finished more recently. This provides information on the impact of social change, and reaffirms those factors that are enduring in their impact on Chicana educational achievement. " — Kip Tellez, University of Houston

"The personal narratives in this book are evocative and poignant. They advance insights into the strengths of minority households, rather than focusing on the 'deficits' which are said to lead to academic underachievement. This book adds a revelatory dimension to unpacking educational experiences. " — Norma Gonzalez, University of Arizona