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Old 02-24-2009
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from Gustavo Arellano's "Ask a Mexican" column

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Dear Mexican:

I realize your column is tongue-in-cheek, but you also perpetuate a myth that I have come to find enabling of a serious problem. That is, the myth that all Hispanics are somehow “hard-working” because they’ll do manual labor. Or, as I’ve heard many claim in defense of illegal immigration, “They’ll do anything to earn a living.” That’s a lie. There’s one thing the majority of Mexican and Central American immigrants won’t do to make a living: think. I teach in Los Angeles. The majority of students in the district are Hispanic—Mexican and Central American. The majority are failing—they’re relatively illiterate. They fail because they are lazy. They will not do the work. They will gladly tell you that. What I have come to find, sadly, is that the majority of Hispanics from Mexico and Central America would rather do manual labor than use their brains. This is why Hispanics in the Southwest constitute a growing and perpetual servant class: because they have a visceral hatred of education. It’s part of a white liberal myth that manual labor makes for “hard work” when it comes to illegal immigrants and their children. Manual labor makes for sweat, nothing more. Intellectual effort is far more difficult, makes for success and competitiveness, and why the majority of the Hispanic students I work with are headed for little better than their illegal immigrant parents: manual labor. The reason: not oppression, and not racism, but because, as so many of them proudly exclaim, they’re lazy. So, define “lazy gabacho,” most of whom can do better than work in the fields, in contrast to “lazy Mexican,” many of whom can’t muster the intellectual effort to imagine anything better.
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Quote:
Gustavo, This is Debbie--from the Centro Cultural? I'm not sure if this will have value or not--but I'd like to respond to this note from a teacher as a teacher myself also in Los Angeles County of prediminately Mexican and Central American youth for the last 5 or so years.


I teach the same "lazy" students that our "disgrace" teacher speaks of. I have heard my students tell me the same thing--admit straight out that they are "lazy" or do not care about their studies.I have given or seen failing grades by a wide majority of our "of color" youth. It's true.


But I have also seen those same students get ignited by something that sparked their interest, heart, or imagination. I have seen those same "dead beat, lazy" students wake up when they see even so much as a single person in this predominately White school system establishment who actually sincerely gives a shit about them. This is not to say that the teacher with the complaints of our disgraced one is or has to be ethnically white--it is to say that our students are placed into an entire school system designed by European immigrants to this continent (myself included as a European immigrant), designed for the success laid out by idiotic fools such as George W. Bush in his "No Child Left Behind.
"

I have seen these same students try to explain how betrayed they feel by the system and even by their schools. I don't mean to say that any one teacher can or should be Edward James Olmos or, god forbid, Michelle Pfeifer. But--I do mean to say that--every single teacher out there has the opportunity to see past the outward appearance of perhaps the poor tracking records of their students and choose to meet them with respect and dignity.


In my few years of often flawed & still developing teaching experience--I have seen many self-proclaimed student failures take a courageous turn to believe in themselves, filling out college applications even if their GPA is barely a 2.0 or even if it's 4.0 but they don't have legal papers here in the country. Either way, I have been completely convinced by evidence of my own students that each teacher's belief in their students can make a tremendous difference.


I have seen gang bangers with straight F's become my highest scoring student and find alternatives to the streets; I have seen my lowest achieving students at some point during the year just suddenly--wake up, and start answering questions and realize for the first time in their years of schooling that they love science go on to score well on tests--yes, even the ridiculous standardized tests. I have seen the chola who cussed me out the first week of school go on to tell me what a difference I made in her life and helped her write her college applications.


A teacher cannot create or destroy the success of their students. But they can be an ally. Whether the teacher is "Hispanic" themselves doesn't really matter if that same teacher has already bought into all of the ideals, rules and belief systems of the general white middle class.


Don't give up on our youth, especially not our Mexican and Central American youth. If they are failing academically--find out why. If there's something you can do to help them achieve better in school--then do it. If they're a student who no matter what is offered to them is not going to achieve well in high school--then believe in them anyway. Just because someone does not succeed in the ethnically biased schools of this country with California even among the lowest-achieving at that, does not mean that person does not like to "think" or use their mind. Sounds like somebody's been living in the suburbs for too long.

Last edited by tecpaocelotl; 02-24-2009 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

errg, this bugs me. as some one who has a degree in teaching and now currently works at a Latino Resource Center with k-6th graders in an after school program, this really bugs me.

First off, how many children really like school, come on. Most teachers make school so dry and boring. They are kids, they want to be active, play, be creative, not sit in a desk as they are spoon fed information which is only later supposed to be regurgitated to them. Point blank they are kids.

2) Many faults with this community lay with the school system and the faculty/staff. Teachers fail to really work with kids, engage students, and go out of their way. Those teachers that do many times are over worked, in a class room with too many students so this isn't effective, receive no help or recognition from the school or parents in what they do accomplish. Schools fail the community and look only at each child as a pay check from the state and really do the bare minimum to benefit the community. The State and Federal government fail how school systems are funded.

3) For those parents that are not proficient in english. The school doesn't include them. they many times are not able to help their kids with their homework. Example I have a young girl that comes to my program, her reading is lower level for her grade, her teacher writes a note to the parents to listen to her read the story then discuss it. Her parents do not speak english. If it wasn't for this program she wouldn't likely even completed the homework. It is difficult situation and embarrising to the children. What are they goin to blurt out in class I don't understand the material because my parents can't speak english and help me with my homework or 'I'm Lazy' We fail to recognize the preasure from peers, even if a majority of their peers are experiencing the same thing.

I can go on and on but yeah. the one responce was a pretty solid one
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

^^^agreed.

yay for the response!
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

well said Celestino!
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

I see this a lot with white kids that I went to school with. They go to high school, hang out with the bad kids and become potheads/crack heads and they can give a shit less about school. After all, their parents are going to hook them up with a job at the office later when they rebound. Or when asked some say "Oh I'm going in construction" - you still need some education to work in construction. You need to know math.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

...
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

^^ Sorry I went to school with mostly white kids :l

Regarding the Mexican kids I went to school with - most of them could also give a shit less.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

^^Don't be sorry. Just didn't see how that applied to this thread but it's whatever.

And those students that don't give a "shit less" probably care more than people give them credit for. I know this firsthand, I mentor a lot of these type of students, and one of the things they say to me is how they feel like the system has failed them. How they don't feel motivated because the faculty doesn't believe in them. All it takes is for one person (not necessarily even a teacher or administrator) to tell them that they have the ability to do something with their lives. Not everyone has that...and it's about time they all did.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by xicanachick87 View Post
^^Don't be sorry. Just didn't see how that applied to this thread but it's whatever.

And those students that don't give a "shit less" probably care more than people give them credit for. I know this firsthand, I mentor a lot of these type of students, and one of the things they say to me is how they feel like the system has failed them. How they don't feel motivated because the faculty doesn't believe in them. All it takes is for one person (not necessarily even a teacher or administrator) to tell them that they have the ability to do something with their lives. Not everyone has that...and it's about time they all did.
No, most didn't care. Want to know why? Because they went to an alternative school and didn't care about their education. In fact, a lot of kids from neighboring cities came to my school - they significantly lowered our test scores and started trouble at our school. They are the reason our tutorial period was taken away because they would start fights during this half-hour. Most of these kids were Mexican and Black. I call it how I see it. I get it though - its easier to blame the system rather than the students themselves.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

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No, most didn't care. Want to know why? Because they went to an alternative school and didn't care about their education. In fact, a lot of kids from neighboring cities came to my school - they significantly lowered our test scores and started trouble at our school. They are the reason our tutorial period was taken away because they would start fights during this half-hour. Most of these kids were Mexican and Black. I call it how I see it. I get it though - its easier to blame the system rather than the students themselves.
You don't know that. Do you know why they had to go to an alternative school? I knew a couple of people back in HS that had to go to alternative school because they fell behind while dealing with shit at home; drunk drug-addict dad, absent mom, vice-versa, taking care of siblings and more. It wasn't that they didn't care. It just didn't take precedent over their issues at home. Yeah, I admit that you're right that a least some of those kids didn't give a shit about school. Some really don't. But it's unfair to bunch them all together just because they're Mexican and Black. I call it how I see it too...but I see it up close because I work with these kids as opposed to observing from a distance. It is easier to blame the system, but you can't disagree that the school system is flawed.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

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Originally Posted by xicanachick87 View Post
You don't know that. Do you know why they had to go to an alternative school? I knew a couple of people back in HS that had to go to alternative school because they fell behind while dealing with shit at home; drunk drug-addict dad, absent mom, vice-versa, taking care of siblings and more. It wasn't that they didn't care. It just didn't take precedent over their issues at home. Yeah, I admit that you're right that a least some of those kids didn't give a shit about school. Some really don't. But it's unfair to bunch them all together just because they're Mexican and Black. I call it how I see it too...but I see it up close because I work with these kids as opposed to observing from a distance. It is easier to blame the system, but you can't disagree that the school system is flawed.

No, I do know that. They CHOSE to go to the alternative school because "they just wanted to get a diploma" - not because they were dumb. I know they weren't dumb, they were just too lazy. I knew their problems, and their problem was genuine laziness. I am not, however, bunching them with the kids in elementary schools who's parents cannot teach their kids because they also lack the education and/or language. Some kids in my graduating class went to Harvard, to Yale, to Stanford, yet we are in the same education system. Some did well, others did not fair so well. The opportunities were there, and some didn't take them.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

Maybe Californio was the guy who wrote to ask a Mexican?
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

I used to read 'Ask a Mexican' every chance I got...dude's funny.

Lol and how he hates on Guatemalans.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

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No, I do know that. They CHOSE to go to the alternative school because "they just wanted to get a diploma" - not because they were dumb. I know they weren't dumb, they were just too lazy. I knew their problems, and their problem was genuine laziness. I am not, however, bunching them with the kids in elementary schools who's parents cannot teach their kids because they also lack the education and/or language. Some kids in my graduating class went to Harvard, to Yale, to Stanford, yet we are in the same education system. Some did well, others did not fair so well. The opportunities were there, and some didn't take them.
I beg to differ. You make it sound like this applies to all those students. You might have known some individuals that went to alternative school just to "get a diploma" but that isn't necessarily true of all students in alternative school. Additionally, yes, the opportunities are there, but that does not mean that they are offered wholeheartedly to all students, regardless of race. Why is it that college prep courses, financial aid workshops, etc are offered even pushed upon some students but not others? True, some are offered those opportunities and don't take them. But I would have to think that the majority of the time, that is not the case.

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Maybe Californio was the guy who wrote to ask a Mexican?
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

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Maybe Californio was the guy who wrote to ask a Mexican?
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

Why are so man "Hispanic" students so lazy?
Great question. I hope we find an answer, and soon.
Feel-good rhetoric can only do so much.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

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I beg to differ. You make it sound like this applies to all those students. You might have known some individuals that went to alternative school just to "get a diploma" but that isn't necessarily true of all students in alternative school. Additionally, yes, the opportunities are there, but that does not mean that they are offered wholeheartedly to all students, regardless of race. Why is it that college prep courses, financial aid workshops, etc are offered even pushed upon some students but not others? True, some are offered those opportunities and don't take them. But I would have to think that the majority of the time, that is not the case.


I never said it was true of all students to go to alternative school just to get a diploma. I said it was true in my experience. There was this Mexican dude from Hayward in my English class which was placed in my school and had to keep a 2.5 GPA minimum just to come to my school since he was kicked out of his other school. I saw him 3 times in that class the entire semester. The opportunity was handed to him, he did not take it.

You know when they say that if you're parents went to college, you're most likely going to go as well statistically? Maybe these kids see that their parents didn't go to college, therefore, why should they? Maybe their parents are making an honest living, and they feel they should settle for that rather then getting ahead. The circumstances are there, and different people have different situations. Some might be lazy, others might be working to support their family. Other's might be drug addicts. Others feel they that don't feel a high school diploma to succeed. Others might feel that school is "not for them". In any case, THEY are the ones who have greater chances of becoming the people who live in day out working to pay the bills.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

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I never said it was true of all students to go to alternative school just to get a diploma. I said it was true in my experience. There was this Mexican dude from Hayward in my English class which was placed in my school and had to keep a 2.5 GPA minimum just to come to my school since he was kicked out of his other school. I saw him 3 times in that class the entire semester. The opportunity was handed to him, he did not take it.
Ok. Well you made it seem like that's what you were saying. But either way, you talk about individual cases, while I am trying to emphasize the disparities on a larger scale.

Quote:
You know when they say that if you're parents went to college, you're most likely going to go as well statistically? Maybe these kids see that their parents didn't go to college, therefore, why should they? Maybe their parents are making an honest living, and they feel they should settle for that rather then getting ahead. The circumstances are there, and different people have different situations. Some might be lazy, others might be working to support their family. Other's might be drug addicts. Others feel they that don't feel a high school diploma to succeed. Others might feel that school is "not for them". In any case, THEY are the ones who have greater chances of becoming the people who live in day out working to pay the bills.
I agree. But those students are sometimes the ones who need that extra help the most, because they don't have anyone to help them along the unfamiliar road. The ultimate issue is not what they end up choosing to do with their lives, but to ensure that they are at least presented with all the opportunities that are available to them.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

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Ok. Well you made it seem like that's what you were saying. But either way, you talk about individual cases, while I am trying to emphasize the disparities on a larger scale.
Yeah, I added on to it.
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Old 02-24-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

Here's an interesting and insightful article on the question as
why don't Hispanics, in general, perform as well as other students.

Morphing Outrage Into Ideas

Quote:
It was presented as good news.

In front of a group of student leaders at Alhambra High School, Assistant Principal Grace Love spoke in February about the school’s recent gains on state tests.

Alhambra, she said, had narrowed the gap in test scores between Asian and Latino students. Overall, Latino test takers had improved their composite scores on state tests faster than any other group over the last four years.

Robin Zhou, an 18-year-old columnist for the Moor, the school newspaper, listened skeptically. He had trouble seeing any reason to celebrate.

To him, the real news in Love’s statistics wasn’t the small gains she was pointing out, but rather the wide gulf that still existed between Asians and Latinos.
The composite scores for Asians at Alhambra High were still far above those of Latinos. According to Love’s presentation, 57% of Asian ninth-graders passed the state’s English Language Arts standards test, but only 28% of Latino ninth-graders passed. It was even worse in algebra, with only 12% of Latinos passing the test as compared to 49% of Asians.

To Zhou, the data raised a question: “Why was the gap there in the first place?”

With the next round of state tests looming, Zhou decided to examine the subject in his newspaper column. He said he did so out of a desire to get people to focus on solutions. That’s not what happened – at least not at first.

That there are gaps in test scores among racial and ethnic groups is an uncomfortable truth in modern day education.

The achievement gap, as racial disparities in test scores are known in education circles, exists at schools throughout the nation. It also exists across class lines.

Examining the issue requires traversing a political and cultural minefield. Every possible explanation is likely to offend, which may be why the subject rarely provokes the kind of discussion that might eventually lead to change.

Using test scores as a measure, Latino students are “not pulling their weight,” the article said.

Zhou then went on to try to explain the gap. The first reason, he wrote, was largely cultural, in that Asian parents were more likely to “push their children to move toward academic success, while many Hispanic parents are well-meaning but less active.”

The editors and reporters in the room crowded around co-editor-in-chief Lena Chen to read the draft. They understood that Zhou’s article touched on dangerous ground; they agreed that he needed to tone down his language, even though many of them thought he had made some valid points and had thoroughly researched the subject.

“My first reaction? Robin’s gonna get beat up,” recalled Sara Martinez, a 16-year-old Latina, who was the only non-Asian student to read the article that day.

The paper’s advisor, Mark Padilla, agreed that the story could use some qualifying. But he reminded the editors that this was a column, and therefore offered more leeway. It was important, he reminded them, for journalists not to shy away from sensitive but important subjects.

No one could accuse Zhou of that.

‘Racist’

On March 22, the paper was distributed.

Anastasia Landeros, 18, was in her first period English class when a friend turned to her and asked, “Did you hear about the article about how Latinos are not pulling their weight?”

She hadn’t. She got a copy and started reading.

Zhou’s article seemed to suggest to her that Latinos were slackers whose parents didn’t care about their children’s education.

Who was this guy, she wondered. If Zhou thought Latino parents didn’t push their children, he ought to come to her house and listen to her mother nag her about homework.

And how could he say Latinos weren’t achieving? She was getting A’s in music and drama, and B’s and C’s in her other classes.

For days students talked about the article, often angrily.

Some teachers tried to use it as a tool for teaching cultural sensitivity. Other teachers were simply incensed. One math teacher scrawled “racist” across the article and posted it on the blackboard.

Heading home on the day the article came out, Landeros wondered what her mother, a 45-year-old nurse and certified diabetes educator, would think.

Rosa Linda Landeros had always told her three children to be proud of their Mexican heritage and prove that stereotypes about lazy Latinos were wrong.

As soon as Linda Landeros walked through the door that evening, Anastasia handed her the school newspaper.

“Mom, you gotta read this article,” she said.

‘Hecho en Mexico’

In the days that followed, Zhou’s friends told him that Latino students he didn’t even know were talking about beating him up or pelting him with paintballs at graduation.

The dean and the principal called him in to discuss his reasons for writing the article. They reassured him that they would look out for any hint of trouble.

On March 30, those who disagreed with Zhou made a show of solidarity. Almost all the Latino students and a few white and black students wore shirts that were brown or made statements of Latino pride, including “Hecho en Mexico.” Landeros wore a T-shirt with the words “Stay Brown Chicanas”

Zhou walked onto the stage that week at an assembly for an academic award. He heard boos.

“I did some soul searching as the controversy continued – whether it was right to have confronted the issue head-on like that,” he said.

Different Expectations

Researchers who study the issue of racial disparities in academic performance say that even they have to be careful how they present data.

Laurence Steinberg, a psychology professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, and his colleagues wanted to look at factors, including race, that affected student achievement several years ago. “We were nervous about how people would react, that we’d be accused of being prejudiced,” he said. “There’s nothing nice you can say about this that’s going to make people feel good.”

Steinberg and his colleagues found that even after economics were controlled for, Asian and Asian American students performed better on tests than any other racial group. Latinos and African Americans performed the least well.

Steinberg’s research further suggested that an “attitudinal profile” influenced academic success, and that Asians tended to have the most students that fit the profile.

The first variable wasn’t parental involvement, as Zhou concluded, but something more subtle: parental expectation. Steinberg asked students what was the worst grade they could get without their parents getting angry. For Asian children, it was a B-plus; for Latino and African American children, it was a C.

Another factor was that Asian children in the study were more likely to associate with peers who valued high marks in school, whereas Latino and African American students were more likely to have friends who put less stock in good grades.

Steinberg found two other differences that seemed linked to success. Asian children were much more likely to attribute their grades to hard work rather than aptitude. They also were more likely to believe that doing poorly in school would harm their chances for success in life.

“If you have these four things, it doesn’t matter what ethnic group you’re from, you’ll do well in school,” Steinberg said. “It’s just more common among Asian kids and less common among black and Latino kids.”

Pedro Noguera, a sociologist at the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education at New York University, believes class plays more of a role than Steinberg does. He points to a mostly Asian high school in San Francisco with a high dropout rate. “They’re not dropping out because they’re not sufficiently Chinese, but mainly because their parents put an emphasis on work.”

Noguera also suggested that Latino parents may be less adept at navigating the American school system and advocating on their children’s behalf.

“It’s not that they don’t value education,” Noguera said. “They’re putting too much trust in the schools. That’s a big mistake.”

Noguera wasn’t surprised to hear that Zhou’s article created a stir. “If Asian and Latino students are not communicating with each other, or if there were already strained relations,” he said, “then there was no context for a thoughtful discussion, and the article merely served as a catalyst for more conflict.”

‘Another Attack’

As Landeros’ mother read through Zhou’s column, she thought: “Here’s another attack on my people. Here’s another person stepping on our neck.”

She knew that average test scores for Latino students at Alhambra High School were lower than average test scores for Asian students. But she hated how Latino students were hit with a constant stream of news reports about how badly they performed in school. That wasn’t making things better, just lowering expectations.

Linda Landeros was proud of the letter her daughter sent to the school newspaper. It was published April 12.

“As if it weren’t enough to worry about academics, the entire Latino student body apparently also has to worry about racial profiling by our school newspaper,” Anastasia Landeros wrote.

“My issue is not with the ‘facts’ that are present, but with the facts that are missing regarding a community and a culture he apparently has no knowledge of,” she wrote. The article was “inflammatory” in singling out one ethnic group based on a stereotype.

“It would be wrong to write, ‘Because of Asian drivers, insurance rates in Alhambra are high,’ ” Anastasia wrote. “Wouldn’t the article be seen as a one-sided, non-researched piece?”

Food for Thought

It was obvious that Zhou’s article polarized students and parents. But it also got them thinking and talking about race, culture and achievement at Alhambra High.

Several Latino students said they were nervous when they walked into Advanced Placement classes and saw a sea of Asians. But this turned to disappointment when some teachers seemed to expect less from them.

“When we answer a question wrong, they say, ‘It’s OK. You’re really trying hard,’ ” said Perla Trejo, 17. “It’s like, OK, but what’s the answer?” Trejo said teachers don’t treat Asian students the same way in her class.

Saul Pineda, 16, said he almost quit one of his AP classes last summer because it was difficult and he felt uncomfortable. But now that the article has come out, he said, “I want to try harder.”

“Mostly just to prove them wrong,” Trejo added.

Russell Lee-Sung, 41, who was principal of the school at the time, says he felt torn about the turmoil Zhou’s article sparked.

Lee-Sung had not only thought about the issues raised in Zhou’s column, he had lived them. Lee-Sung’s father, who is half Mexican, grew up poor in Texas. His mother was born in China and grew up wealthy.

In his own home, he had seen cultural differences in attitudes toward education. His father, he said, “was very encouraging about what [grades] I got. If I tried my best, that would be fine.

“My mom, on the other hand, said, ‘You need to get good grades. You need to go to a good school.’ If I came home with all A’s and a B, she’d question me. ‘What’s the problem?’ ”

But it would be a mistake to say his father cared less about his schoolwork, Lee-Sung said. “They both valued education,” he said. “They just communicated in different ways.”

Lee-Sung knows the subject is difficult to discuss. “This is one of those issues in education that is so taboo to talk about,” he said.

But talking about it was what he had to do in the weeks after Zhou’s column. He said more than 30 parents contacted him. Some commended Zhou for bringing up a point that needed to be addressed. But most were critical of the student, the newspaper advisor and even the principal.

Lee-Sung tried to use the controversy as a teaching tool. He held several discussions with the school staff. He created an “Action Planning Committee” of parents, students, teachers and administrators.

Lee-Sung also invited students who were upset by the article to the first of several “student committee” meetings so they could meet Zhou and other newspaper staffers.

At the meeting, students had a lot of questions for Zhou: Why had he used such offensive language? Why was he stereotyping people? What business did he have talking about the Latino community when he was not Latino?

Zhou told them he was trying to be straightforward with his words. He explained that he grew up in Echo Park, with mostly Latino friends and that his baby-sitter was Latina.

Some students weren’t satisfied, and one Latina student said the conversation didn’t make her feel any better about the article.

But near the end of the first meeting, which lasted about an hour and a half, the students started coming up with ways to close the gap, Lee-Sung said. Their questions were trying to clarify, not accuse.

Suggestions included holding periodic student-moderated dialogues on topics including students’ relationships with teachers and administrators, and cultural assemblies to discuss historical differences, not just food and dancing.

At the second meeting a few weeks later, more solutions were proposed.

The school should expand a program, which has benefited mostly Latino students, that prepares students to attend a four-year university and take some AP and honors classes. Latino students should be encouraged to join more after-school clubs and to take more AP and honors classes.

In the May 10 issue of the school newspaper, Zhou wrote a letter about what he had learned from the experience. “I realize that pointing out a disparity between two of the major student groups on campus has the potential to divide us, to turn students against classmates and neighbors against each other,” he wrote.

He went on to offer “my deepest regrets to those who have been hurt,” saying that “it was not my intent to make anyone feel they are inferior or unable to succeed, but rather to address an issue in desperate need of attention.”

He didn’t apologize for the points he made in his article.

A Lasting Change?

It remains to be seen whether the controversy will result in lasting change.

Most of the key students have graduated. Zhou left for Stanford University. Landeros is studying at East Los Angeles College. Lee-Sung accepted a job as principal of Walnut High School.

But Lee-Sung still has hope.

By the end of the school year, more Latino students had applied for AP classes, though he couldn’t say how many. Students founded a chapter of the Mexican American student group MEChA. And Latino parents formed an organization to support their children.

When the state released scores from the spring 2005 standardized testing, the percentages of Latino students passing the English Language Arts exam and all but one of the math tests had improved from last year. Lee-Sung thinks the awareness spurred by Zhou’s article played a role.

“I think some students who may have had the thought that nobody cares and nobody looks at these scores realized that people do look at them,” he said.

“I would imagine for some students, there was a sense of pride. ‘Know what? I don’t want people to think this way about me, and I’ll work harder on the test than in the past.’ ”

Linda Landeros says she and her daughter are still angry about the article. But she acknowledges that it may have spurred her daughter on as well. Near the end of the school year, Anastasia Landeros wasn’t doing well in her high-school math class.

Her mother brought up Zhou’s column, saying, “See, he’s right in this article.”

The daughter blew up, but her mother’s taunt made her pull up her grade.

Zhou is philosophical about what happened. “You can’t expect to write something like this without taking a few lumps,” he said. But, he added, “If nothing happened, I’d be feeling even worse.”

Last edited by Observer; 02-25-2009 at 12:02 AM.
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  #21  
Old 02-25-2009
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Ralo El Dorado Ralo El Dorado is offline
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

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Originally Posted by Celestino View Post
errg, this bugs me. as some one who has a degree in teaching and now currently works at a Latino Resource Center with k-6th graders in an after school program, this really bugs me.

First off, how many children really like school, come on. Most teachers make school so dry and boring. They are kids, they want to be active, play, be creative, not sit in a desk as they are spoon fed information which is only later supposed to be regurgitated to them. Point blank they are kids.

2) Many faults with this community lay with the school system and the faculty/staff. Teachers fail to really work with kids, engage students, and go out of their way. Those teachers that do many times are over worked, in a class room with too many students so this isn't effective, receive no help or recognition from the school or parents in what they do accomplish. Schools fail the community and look only at each child as a pay check from the state and really do the bare minimum to benefit the community. The State and Federal government fail how school systems are funded.

3) For those parents that are not proficient in english. The school doesn't include them. they many times are not able to help their kids with their homework. Example I have a young girl that comes to my program, her reading is lower level for her grade, her teacher writes a note to the parents to listen to her read the story then discuss it. Her parents do not speak english. If it wasn't for this program she wouldn't likely even completed the homework. It is difficult situation and embarrising to the children. What are they goin to blurt out in class I don't understand the material because my parents can't speak english and help me with my homework or 'I'm Lazy' We fail to recognize the preasure from peers, even if a majority of their peers are experiencing the same thing.

I can go on and on but yeah. the one responce was a pretty solid one
I knew a Chicana teacher in high school who taught me some of these things you said after the homies told her that some of the born again, racist NeoCon high school teachers were saying Mexicans are lazy, stupid, etc.. So it's good to read what you typed because it reminds me of her and how she enlightened me with words of self-love, power and knowledge I had never heard before.

She would always say that the key for bilingual Chicano students of migrant backgrounds to achieve in school is for their parents to get involved with their child's education. She said by being actively involved with their children's education, kids tend to perform well by frequenting their schools, talking to their kids teachers and meeting with school officials to address concerns and making them accountable to the students they are supposed to educate. Unfortunately, she said not many parents get involved because of language barriers, immigration status, and their own lack of education, literacy. and understanding the value of a good education
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Old 02-25-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

I see.
If the conclusion isn't one you share, then it's "simple."
Brilliant.
Of course, the gap between the two groups (Asians & Hispanics) is at the
same high school. It would seem that the class reasoning is weakned by
that fact.

Last edited by Observer; 02-25-2009 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 02-25-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

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Examining the issue requires traversing a political and cultural minefield. Every possible explanation is likely to offend, which may be why the subject rarely provokes the kind of discussion that might eventually lead to change.
Tragically, this is probably the most prophetic sentiment within the article.

This type of discussion, one that seeks useful answers, will not only bring to the top the cream, but the muck. There are those would try to keep the discussion simple: look for excuses that fit their political biases. Rather than focus on the idea(s) put forward, there are those would prefer to spend their time attacking individuals and calling their opponents "ignorant," "racist," and/or "culturally insensitive," instead of intelligently and usefully discussing the merits of the ideas presented. Unfortunately, this bigotry has a way of snow-balling and taking over useful discussion.

In many key areas, Latinos are in much more useful positions than they were four decades ago. There are more Latino politicians, teachers, school administrators, and yet, high school drop-out rates among Latinos have stayed largely unchanged. Why is that? Racism, "institutional racism," and lately, classism have been cited as reasons. But how is that Asians--a group that has suffered just as much from these repugnant social phenomenas-- have managed to climb the academic ladder at a pace that is far quicker than that of their Latino counterparts?

As the article points out, these are students in the same high school; both groups have many of the same resources, and yet the Asian students have managed to greatly outperform the Latino students. As the old reasons (i.e. racism)--which are often taken as axioms--are shown to be baseless, it becomes harder and harder for those (typically on the Left) to churn out new excuses. Of course, that difficulty doesn't dissuade the most devout of excuse seeker. (S)he'll likely look to some other excuse to cling. Some four decades after the '68 Walk-Outs, with high school graduation rates not improving, so many are still holding onto old notions that the main causes for this academic disparity lay anywhere but with the family and student. Sadly, given the popularity of these trends to look for outside causes, I have little doubt that the question of Latino poor academic performance will be around for another 40 years, at least.

Last edited by Observer; 02-25-2009 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 02-25-2009
Celestino Celestino is offline
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralo El Dorado View Post
I knew a Chicana teacher in high school who taught me some of these things you said after the homies told her that some of the born again, racist NeoCon high school teachers were saying Mexicans are lazy, stupid, etc.. So it's good to read what you typed because it reminds me of her and how she enlightened me with words of self-love, power and knowledge I had never heard before.

She would always say that the key for bilingual Chicano students of migrant backgrounds to achieve in school is for their parents to get involved with their child's education. She said by being actively involved with their children's education, kids tend to perform well by frequenting their schools, talking to their kids teachers and meeting with school officials to address concerns and making them accountable to the students they are supposed to educate. Unfortunately, she said not many parents get involved because of language barriers, immigration status, and their own lack of education, literacy. and understanding the value of a good education
Thanks,

Also the fact on immigration status is key too. By law schools can not force parents to provide legal documentation in order to enroll their students. secondly do we ever look at the difficulties of students of migrant workers, who go to school up until october or so just to be pulled out and put into another school. It is a difficult transition. And if the teacher knows this is going to happen you think they are going to put any effort in to help that student learn? heck by the time the state tests come around those kids are long gone.

Lastly with the problems with high school kids and some of the examples given. Factor in everything that many people here have been discussing, now after 9, 10, 11, or 12 years of this, do you think you are still going to have the 'Can Do' attitude they seen teachers give up on them time and time again why set yourself up for failure again, why try. It's a hard pill to swallow but maybe now you can see their mindset. Especially if the kids, after years of poor school, are far behind at their proficiency level because instead of dealing with the problem the teacher just passes them onto the next grade level. Then comes high school you don't know a fraction of what you are supposed to know and the endless pressure of that tidal wave just beats you down till your out of air. Then once out of air you know the end result so you just float along with the current until it closes in on you....
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Old 02-25-2009
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Default Re: "Why are Mexican Students so Lazy?"

ay, dios... di que.. me gu'ta el response de celestino. the guy answered the question good too.
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