Why Education in Mexico sucks! (written by a Mexican)
03-07-2013, 08:34 AM,
Why Education in Mexico sucks! (written by a Mexican)
Outstanding article in today's _NY Times_:http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/opinio....html?_r=0

OR type this in:


My US/MX "living on the border experience" was 1996-2008. Volunteering in the Guanajuato school system began in 2005.?We have lived and volunteered in the campo the last five years.

Everything this author said is true. The children copy words, all day, that they do not understand. They just take a word and write it in another place, they do not read the word, they read and copy the l-e-t-t-e-r-s! Their teachers are sincere, but extremely poorly educated, living in poverty themselves, and not well supported by the department of education. Usually, school books are left in the classroom because the roofs leak inside campo homes so books are not "trusted" to travel into children's homes. The 5' long library shelf (one shelf) has books that can only be used in the school during recess period.

In five years of living in the campo, I have seen one man reading the bible and one child reading a book. The latter is now our 9-year old employee who waters our yard 8 hours a week. His educated Dad wants him to learn and yet, Dad is now in detention in San Diego for trying to enter/work illegally in the US, instead of being here tutoring his son. He lost his job when the mine closed. Most people over 30 in the campo dropped out of school after 5th grade - they have no access to books. The author is right; they cannot read.

However, keep this in mind. We moved to GTO to build a rural library. I wrote a book for US teachers on how to appropriately teach Spanish speaking kids or adults. Over 8 years of academic research and over 25 years of working with Latinos went into the book. In 2011, that book got a Best Book of 2011 award in the nonfiction category. In 2012, it won the coveted Ben Franklin Book Award - Gold in education, Silver in professional technical. Finally, it also was awarded first place book for a humanitarian?project. The vow was to use the book sales proceeds to build libraries. However, we spent $20K writing, publishing, and marketing the book (including giving away 300 copies that resulted in enormous praise from Latinos). We have yet to sell 30 copies. Therefore, there are no "proceeds" to build a rural library on donated land in two villages.

Half of the Latino students in the US do not graduate from high school, over 40% of the US speaks Spanish, and yet, an (inexpensive $2.99 as an ebook) award-winning book of solutions has not sold. Therefore, I have to conclude that another issue is that US teachers are not committed to teaching Spanish speaking children how to read either. Regardless of where the kids are attending school, it seems to be a waste of time. The Latino kids, in both countries suffer, from a loss of reading ability.

I think that Education + Opportunity = Self Sufficiency

What do you think?

03-07-2013, 10:53 AM,
RE: Why Education in Mexico sucks! (written by a Mexican)
Jacquie, I can't get the NY Times to open that link. Do you happen to have a copy that maybe you could cut and paste?

I have no experience in the campo. My friends are from here in Gto. I will say that the applicants for scholarships from Brillantes Caminantes and before that, Jovenes Adelante are sometimes from way out in the campo and are motivated, excellent students.

When people say "Mexicans can't read" I think that sometimes means that reading for entertainment is not part of the culture. They aren't illiterate, they just don't read the way we do. And given the price of books here, I don't blame them. But it is too bad to be sitting waiting for a doctor or any number of things and see that nearly all of the Mexicans who are waiting are staring off into space. Once at the hospital and once at Seguro Popular I saw a woman crocheting. Other than that, they are playing games on mobile phones if they are young.

What you mention about memorizing letters rather than reading is somewhat like the way a student who I am helping with English does her studying. She can pronounce very well but only wants help with getting the answers to the workbook questions and not discussing them or trying to actually speak English or take something learned on one page and applying it to a different situation. I think she may actually get a very good grade in her English course because she is memorizing it but I don't think she is able to speak and certainly doesn't want to try. I'd like to change that but she needs to hand in her assignments and that's what she wants to do and nothing more. I guess we do what we can.
03-07-2013, 12:53 PM,
RE: Why Education in Mexico sucks! (written by a Mexican)
Here's the correct link to the NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/06/opinio...ading.html
03-07-2013, 04:11 PM,
RE: Why Education in Mexico sucks! (written by a Mexican)
No, coleen, not memorizing letters. They copy letters one at a time instead of reading a word and writing the entire word.

There is a HORRID lack of teaching critical thinking skills in the academic world. These kids solve very complex problems on the ranch, but in the classroom they are not taught to think independently. The teachers give them every test so they can memorize the right answers (also given to them). But they are not taught to think and act for themselves in school like they do at home.

03-07-2013, 04:24 PM,
RE: Why Education in Mexico sucks! (written by a Mexican)
"I have to conclude that another issue is that US teachers are not committed to teaching Spanish speaking children how to read either."

That is painting with a very broad brush, IMO. I know US teachers that have a mix of high and low ability native English speaking students mixed in with speakers of Spanish, Hmong, Somali, and Sudani, in a single class. Failure to purchase a Spanish book is not reflection on their "lack of commitment," IMO. These teachers are getting hammered on many fronts, and "commitment," by definition, cannot be divided or it fails to be commitment. I do not think they should be criticized for not sharing your narrow focus, since they are obligated to teach a variety of disciplines to a diverse student population.

I live near a community with 30% Spanish speaking families and the children are doing fine in school, speaking English and Spanish, and, if they are like their ancestors, their children will speak English as their primary language. And, much to the dismay of my redneck neighbors, many English speakers in the US are gaining Spanish language skills.

Reading (as opposed to speaking) skills are in lamentable decline among many language/ethnic groups in the US, not only Spanish speakers, IMO.

As far as mindless rote memory, filling in blanks, and copying vocabulary words and definitions as a teaching methodology, it evokes clear memories if my elementary school days, in the fifties, in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Kansas.
03-07-2013, 06:10 PM,
RE: Why Education in Mexico sucks! (written by a Mexican)
I suspect you had access to books after the age of 12; that is one real major problem. No access to books does not reinforce anything that was learned before age 12.

My nonprofit has been offered thousands of free "outlawed" bilingual books. They are in storage by Texas schools. We have free shipping donated to Guanajuato if I have a place to store them. I need $8K to build a rural library. Sad, isn't it?
03-07-2013, 06:10 PM,
RE: Why Education in Mexico sucks! (written by a Mexican)
I'm wondering what made you decide on the goal of building a rural library. It seems that the problem is more that the population is disinclined to read than that they don't have access to reading materials. Wouldn't a rural library just improve access to an unwanted resource?
03-07-2013, 06:14 PM,
RE: Why Education in Mexico sucks! (written by a Mexican)
BTW - I was an Arizona Certified Teacher, birth through grade 12, reading, writing, math, and business. I think that many teachers are so beaten down they have given up. I did. Honestly, I came here to try to help teachers from afar and kids here who wanted a teacher. My offer of help to USA teachers was ignored. If YOU have any ideas how I can help them in the classroom, let me know. $2.99 is not too much even on a teacher's salary.

Maybe I need to do a video?
03-07-2013, 09:51 PM,
RE: Why Education in Mexico sucks! (written by a Mexican)
The "help" that US teachers need is PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT. No matter how great a job they do in the classroom, without parental support, students will suffer. Most Mexican student have lots of strikes against them already when they come to the US: (1)parents don't READ, write, or speak English; (2)parents don't READ, or write Spanish;(3) parents see no need for education, because they never got one and they can't rationalize that they are in the US because of their poor education and skill set; (4)parents don't understand that their children need practice time at home, because they never had this in Mexico; (5)parents can't help their children at home; (6) parents continue to speak Spanish to their children EVERY school day and EVERY day of the Summer Vacation Time,when the children need to hear and speak ENGLISH to get better; (7)I think you get the point by now. Our teachers are asked to do a job that has built-in failure written all over it. Just think of your involvement with your children, I bet you didn't leave them to flounder for themselves. Maybe it would help Mexican parents if someone consulted Asian parents, because continually they perform at the top with the white students. Many, many teachers ARE miracle workers, they plant lots of wonderful seeds that can sprout and grow into something very beautiful, but these seeds need water and an environment where they can flourish , and that's where the parents come in. They MUST provide the environment that encourages these seeds to bloom, and most Mexican parents don't. Don't blame the teachers, blame the parents. Better still, blame the PRI !
03-08-2013, 12:14 AM,
RE: Why Education in Mexico sucks! (written by a Mexican)
Information [general] on Public Libraries in Guanajuato can be found here:

Also prowl around the CONACULTA site as there are many interesting pages such as the link to the State Library in Leon which is in a new and very impressive cultural complex.

[Image: cabecera_.png]

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