Building bridges and borders with deficit thinking

Jill Koyama, Suzanne Desjardin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Building Bridges and Borders with Deficit Thinking. In this paper, we look at a high school to college transition program intended to prepare Latinx youth living in Arizona, a southwestern US border state, to negotiate, if not cross, borders, including those associated with accessing college. Purposefully, we problematize the at-risk discourses that reify the nature of these border landscapes within neoliberal framings aimed at explaining educational patterns of Latinxs and that infuse the college bridge program we examine. We demonstrate that while the program provides social and cultural capital, as well as additional temporary academic supports that high school students need to navigate college-going processes, it is also embedded with deficit perspectives that frame Latinxs as at-risk because of their culture, ethnicity, and language, or conversely, disregard their heritage entirely. Finally, we offer recommendations for future research of bridge and transition programs. We argue for turning examinations upside down to resituate and reconsider, and potentially dismantle, the enactments of at-risk deficit thinking, which still undergird many programs aimed at mediating borders experienced by Latinxs in the US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere86415
JournalEducacao and Realidade
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2019


  • AVID
  • College transition
  • Latinx
  • US-MX border

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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