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ERIC Number: ED395743
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
The Contrast between the Pathological Attributes and the Status/Aspirations of Mexican American Youth.
This paper analyzes the literature pertinent to the educational and occupational aspirations of Mexican American youth. Following a historical account of the Mexican American presence in the Southwest, this review focuses on social science literature, primarily of the 1950s-70s, that viewed Mexican Americans as having culture-based pathological attitudes and behaviors that interfered with educational attainment and upward social mobility. This cultural determinism model blamed the failures of Mexican American youth on "deficiencies" of Mexican American culture and suggested that the role of the school should include the socialization of Mexican American students to the values of the dominant American culture. This view overlooked the deficiencies of Mexican American education, particularly in the Southwest, which included segregated schools, underrepresentation of Mexican Americans among school personnel and on school boards, inequitable school funding, and devaluing of cultural differences. Since 1970, a number of studies indicate that school practices, teacher attitudes, and irrelevant curriculum inhibit learning and create a negative school experience that alienates Mexican American youth. Although the research pertinent to the status aspirations and expectations of Mexican Americans is limited, the findings suggest a trend of upward mobility projections and provide evidence that Mexican American youth, regardless of migrant background or sex, have high aspirations. Schools must respond to the needs of these youth with holistic intervention strategies that draw on the strengths of students, families, and communities. Contains 69 references. (SV)
Descriptors: Aspiration, Cultural Differences, Educational Attainment, Elementary Secondary Education, Ethnic Stereotypes, Hispanic American Culture, Hispanic American Students, Mexican American Education, Mexican American History, Mexican Americans, Social Science Research, Student Attitudes, Youth Problems
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Cultural Deficit Theory
Note: Paper presented at the National Migrant Education Conference (South Padre Island, TX, April 14-17, 1996).