Angela Valenzuela 's Educational Achievement Essay

Angela Valenzuela 's Educational Achievement Essay

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Angela Valenzuela engages in an ethnographic three year study at Seguin High in inner city Houston in attempt to explain the educational achievement and attainment of US-born Mexican-American youth and Mexican immigrant students. Her research finds that “schools produce youth as monolingual English speaking, ethnic minority neither identified with Mexico or neither equipped to function completely in America’s mainstream”. (Valenzuela, 3). She describes the schooling process for a majority of the students attending Seguin High to be a “subtractive process” stripping the students from cultural and social resources that inevitably leads to academic failure. In her three years at Seguin she examines the schools role in the academic process of the students’ academic progress and finds that the structure of the school systematically impedes on the cultural identity of the students creating cultural, linguistic and social divisions among youth as well as divisions amongst teachers and students. These divisions are detrimental to the academic success of both U.S born Chicanos and immigrant students and make it impossible for teachers to have a meaningful relationship with the students that will positively affect their education.
Valenzuela finds that the culture among school officials, which are teachers, counselors and other authoritative figures, view the problems with academic efficiency to be as elementary as the students “not caring” and fitting the “uncaring student profile”. On the other hand the students view the teachers as “not caring” towards their wellbeing and often refer to them as being “mal educados”. Since a ponderous amount of teachers at Seguin are Anglo, they do not understand this concept. “Educacion” in the Mexica...

... middle of paper ... among students was also made because I remember looking around and seeing how pissed the students were, but did not know a single student since I was in the honors track.
Valenzuela’s model reveals to me how this problem has not yet been solved. If I could edit the book, replace Seguin with Adamson and change the names of the teachers to the names of teachers that taught me and gave it out to my former classmates, I guarantee that no one will bat an eye and believe the work was from research at my former high school. The issues highlighted by Valenzuela need to be addressed across the entire educational system. And finally, to say that this work is outdated and no longer a problem, is pure ignorance.

Work Cited:
Valenzuela, Angela. 1999. Subtractive Schooling: US-Mexican Youth and The Politics of Caring. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

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