ERIC Number: ED362368
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Basic Education in the Lower Rio Grande Valley: Human Capital Development or a Colonial System?
Lynch, Patrick D.
This report describes economic, social, and political characteristics of the lower Rio Grande Valley with implications for the educational system, and presents preliminary findings on how south Texas schools are integrating new immigrant Mexican students. The lower Rio Grande Valley comprises four Texas counties and northern Tamaulipas, Mexico. For economic reasons, the population is exploding on both sides of the border, and the percentage of young people is much higher than in Texas overall. With border restrictions quite loose, the valley is becoming a cultural and economic unit, and schools on the U.S. side are being flooded with new immigrant students. In addition to children who immigrate with their families, many older Mexican teenagers are choosing to cross the border, alone or with relatives, to seek American schooling. Texas schools may not discriminate against homeless students nor probe about their living arrangements. Interviews with recently arrived Mexican students and their English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) teachers reveal that the ESL program allows these students to integrate gradually while preserving aspects of their own culture. Teachers have considerable autonomy in selecting appropriate content for their classes. With first-hand knowledge of their students' situation, many ESL teachers are very supportive and act as student advocates. This paper also examines immigrant students' educational attitudes and student subcultures, and considers questions about the goals and outcomes of education in light of the valley's ambiguous political and economic situation. (SV)
Descriptors: Acculturation, Bilingual Education, Education Work Relationship, Elementary Secondary Education, English (Second Language), Immigrants, Mexican American Education, Mexican Americans, Mexicans, School Community Relationship, Social Integration, Student Subcultures, Teacher Student Relationship
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Reports - Research; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Mexico (Tamaulipas State); Mexico United States Border; Rio Grande Valley; Texas (South)