ERIC Number: ED382414
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Migrant Farmworkers' Perceptions of Schooling, Learning, and Education.
Velazquez, Loida C.
Migrant workers have the highest school dropout rate, larger than any other major sub-group, in the United States, and a very low rate of participation in adult basic education programs. This paper reports on an ethnographic study exploring the early schooling, education, and family support for learning in a migrant community in North Carolina. Data were gathered through informal conversations and semistructured interviews with 27 migrant farmworkers. The migrant adults interviewed presented a common perception of negative schooling experiences. Those who had tried to continue their education through traditional adult education programs had been generally unsuccessful. It was only when they were recruited by a program specifically designed for migrant adults that they were able to overcome negative perceptions and view education as a means to better employment and personal satisfaction. A model derived from the data shows two circles representing the lack of congruency between the home and school cultures. School is seen as a meaningless and painful place, incongruent with home lifestyle and values. The response to this incongruity is dropping out of school. Since learning is valued, an attempt is made to return as an adult to education, as a means of improving employability. Participation in adult basic education programs that are not grounded on knowledge of the migrant population and their cultural norms brings about the same response (negative perceptions and dropping out). A return to education was only successful when the experience was untangled from past schooling perceptions in programs specifically designed for migrant adults. This paper includes a literature review that briefly covers the characteristics of Black, Mexican American, Puerto Rican, and Anglo migrants; aspects of the culture of migrancy; gender and adult-child roles; powerlessness of migrants; and attitudes toward authority. (KS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina