Asian American Students, School Choice, and Integration
Elise Castillo

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Trinity College

Primary Discipline

Educational Policy
Research at the intersection of competitive school choice and segregation under-examines the experiences of Asian American students and families, mirroring the longstanding invisibility of Asian Americans in research and policy. Yet as the fastest-growing immigrant group in the nation, and one of the most politically, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse, Asian American students stand to substantially shape the racial politics of school choice and desegregation. Thus, I ask: How do Asian American public high school students and recent alumni make sense of segregation and screened admissions in New York City public high schools? What frames do they employ in their sensemaking? What do their frames reveal about their understandings of Asian American racial identity and the American racial hierarchy? To address these questions, this qualitative case study employs frame analysis, specifically, frames for making sense of race, class, and educational opportunity (Poon et al., 2019; Warikoo, 2016). By documenting how students? diverse and intersectional identities may shape their views, findings will contribute to theory-building on Asian American racialization. Additionally, in demonstrating how Asian American students experience competitive school choice and segregation, findings will hold implications for how choice and integration policies can more equitably serve diverse Asian American communities.
About Elise Castillo
Elise Castillo is an Assistant Professor of Educational Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. She conducts qualitative research on school choice policies, focusing on their possibilities for, and limitations to, advancing equitable, democratic, and racially integrated public education. As an interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Castillo employ concepts from sociology, political science, and critical policy analysis. She has a particular interest in understanding how diverse Asian American students and families experience and make sense of school choice and integration policies, and she has investigated this topic in Greater Hartford, Connecticut, and New York City. Related work examines the COVID-19 pandemic?s impact on school integration organizing in New York City, where school choice has exacerbated segregation over the last two decades; and how progressive and community-based charter schools can advance or hinder racial equity and integration. Her work has been published in various academic journals, including American Journal of Education; Education Policy Analysis Archives; and Race, Ethnicity, and Education. In addition, she has shared her work with broader audiences in The Connecticut Mirror and the Have You Heard podcast. Dr. Castillo taught middle and high school English in New York City public schools prior to earning her Ph.D. in Education Policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

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