Her research focuses on educational equity and access for low income and ethnic minority students, language policy, and the education of Mexican origin youth. She has just completed a study (with R. Rumberger) entitled Resource Needs for California's English Learners, as part of the statewide adequacy project funded by four major foundations. She is the author of numerous articles and several books, including the forthcoming, Understanding the Latino Education Gap, Why Latinos Don't Go to College, with Harvard University Press.
Professor Gándara, together with Professor Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project, received two new research grants since June 2007. The first initiative, funded by the Ford Foundation, is called "Breaking the Chain of Failure: Moving from Weak High Schools to Strong Community Colleges for Students of Color. "The second study, funded by the Eleanor Foundation of Chicago, is entitled, "The Future Rests on Working Moms: Unequal Opportunity and Policies to Help Them Realize Their Dreams for Their Children."