Effect of border proximity on school performance in imperial County
Education in Imperial County, from the elementary to the high school level, always ranks among the lowest in the state. This constant underperformance might be due to the high level of minority enrollment throughout the county. This paper uses census and other government data along with school accountability report cards to show that border proximity negatively impacts the performance of a school. While economic and immigration factors are probably not the only reason for this, this paper uses state testing reports and population demographics to compare the schools side by side and account for the difference ...view middle of the document...
All of them have a single school district. This paper will also take into account the economic dependence of the area with the Mexican border city of Mexicali, which shares a border with Calexico.
The remainder of this paper is as follows. Section 2 will provide a brief history of the Imperial Valley and the main employment sectors. It will present and compare income levels in the area with those of California. This will lead to Section 3 that will examine the differences in academic achievement between Calexico, El Centro, and Brawley. Although other socio-cultural factors are sure to be part of the equation regarding constant underperformance, this paper will solely consider population demographics and school test scores to come to the conclusion that border proximity negatively affects academic performance. Finally, Section 4 will provide a conclusion and propose possible topics for further analysis of the area.
2. Imperial County
2.1 County Overview
Imperial Valley County is located on the southeastern border of California, with Mexico bordering to the south, Arizona to the east, Riverside County to the north, and San Diego County to the west. The population as of 2010 stands at 174,528, up 22.4% since the year 2000, with 80.4% Hispanic or Latino. The area experienced a population growth of 30% from 1990-2000.
The region is a desert, with summer temperatures reaching up to 115 degrees. The city of Mexicali is to the south, sharing an international border with Calexico with about 60,000 people crossing each day through its two entry points. While Mexicali is considered prosperous by Mexican standards, Imperial County has a large population living under the poverty rate. However, Mexicali is the state capital and has a number of resources an area like the Imperial Valley lacks. With a population of over one million, Mexicali provides museums, a zoo, nightclubs, restaurants and an international airport. It receives a significant number of American tourists due to the lower drinking age of 18, and it also provides a lot of medical and dental services due low prices in comparison with American services. Most doctors and dentists in Mexicali are concentrated within walking distance of the main port of entry.
Figure 1: Imperial County Map
2.2 Analyzing the three main cities: Calexico, El Centro, and Brawley
Calexico, El Centro, and Brawley are the three main cities in Imperial County. The area is largely made up of immigrants, with 45% of the population identifying as foreign born in Calexico, 35% in El Centro, and 24% in Brawley . Imperial County has a significantly higher poverty rate compared to the state. The area saw itself severely affected at the time of the housing crisis. Many workers switched from agriculture into higher paying construction jobs at the peak of the bubble; this likely attracted many new immigrants. However, a large number of...