Latin American Studies | Latino Education Across the Americas: Patterns & Issues
L426 | L426 | Martinez

Latino Education Across the Americas: Patterns and Issues
Spring 2008

Professor: Dr. Sylvia Martinez
Office Hours:					Office: 4th floor,
South, ED 4260
Phone:  856-8582                                            E-mail:

Above course meets withEDUC H380 and LATS L380
Questions and Objectives
As a significant and growing segment of contemporary U.S. society,
Latino/Hispanic peoples demand and deserve educational opportunities
commensurate with their own cultural traditions. This course is
designed to provide students with critical knowledge about patterns
and issues in Latino education.  Challenging the conventional
distinction between Latin American citizens, and Latinos in the
United States, the course illuminates major educational patterns and
issues for Latinos by examining the impact of cultural and
institutional flows across the Americas. A major premise of the
course is that in order to fully understand contemporary Latino
educational challenges and conditions in the United States, we must
look at the broader historical and cultural contexts in which Latino
education occurs. Another major premise of the course is that
service learning in the local community or hands-on research enables
students to gain first-hand knowledge of Latino culture and
education, to assess empirically some of the concepts and claims
introduced by scholars of Latino education, and to develop their own
approaches to educating Latinos.

This course is sustained by difficult questions, not easy answers.
These are some of the critical questions that will guide our mutual
inquiry throughout the course:
•	What defines a “Latino,” and why offer a course in “Latino
education?”  What’s the difference between Latin Americans and
Latinos, and does it matter for how they are educated?
•	What are some of the traditions and patterns of educating in
Latin American countries and communities, and how do some of these
traditions live on in the U.S.?
•	What are the links, if any, between styles of non-formal
education in Latin America and styles of non-formal education
amongst Latinos in the U.S.?
•	What educational commonalties and differences both unite and
divide different Latino groups (e.g., Cuban, Mexican, Salvadoran,
and Puerto Rican)?  What commonalties and differences (e.g., age,
generation, class, gender, religion) unite or divide Latinos within
or across these nationally defined groups?
•        What unique challenges have Latinos faced historically in
U.S. schools, and what challenges do they still face today?
•	How can schools rise to meet the challenges of Latino
education by drawing on Latino cultural and linguistic traditions?

Rooted in anthropology, sociology, and history, this course draws
primarily on scholarly texts, supplemented by primary documents and
videos. It incorporates 20 hours of service learning and/or an
intensive research project.  The course aims for students to have
fulfilled the following knowledge outcomes:
•	An understanding of the cultural roots of Latin American
educational values and school systems
•	An understanding of some of the major Latin American
educational traditions and contributions to educational thought
•	Knowledge of the current structure, conditions, and
challenges in contemporary Latin American education
•	An understanding of the material and ideational flows of
transnational culture from Latin America to the United States
•	An understanding of the different experiences of educational
integration of various Latino ethnicities, nationalities, and
generations into U.S. society
•	An understanding of the challenges faced by different Latino
groups in contemporary U.S. schools
•	An understanding of the unique and valuable cultural
resources brought by different Latino groups to their schooling in
the U.S., and an appreciation of various strategies designed to
improve Latino educational achievement.
•	An understanding of the role volunteer service learners and
teachers can have in facilitating positive Latino education

Reading materials

The following books will be required reading for all:
Mariella Espinoza-Herold.  Issues in Latino Education: Race, School
Culture, and the Politics of Academic Success. (2003).
Lourdes Díaz Soto. Language, Culture, and Power: Bilingual Families
and the Struggle for Quality Education. (1997).

A number of assignments will also require reading articles and
chapters on reserve. Reserve readings are now available on-line
through the School of Education library, at   The password is:

Recommended books:
Angela Valenzuela, Subtractive Schooling.
Stanton Wortham et al., Education in the New Latino Diaspora.

Assignments and Learning Assessment

Service-learning option:
Service learning and reflection
notebooks                                            50%    500
10%    100 points
Participation and inquiry-discussion
notes                                            20%   200 points
Take-Home Final
20%   200 points

Reading and research option:
50%   500 points
10%   100 points
Participation and inquiry-discussion
notes                                            20%   200 points
Take-Home Final
	   20%   200 points

Final grades are calculated on a total point basis. Your final
course grade will be assigned according to your total accumulation
of points, following this scale: 970-1000=A+, 930-970=A, 900-930=A-,
870-900=B+, 830-870=B, 800-830=B-, 770-800=C+, 720-770=C, 700-720=C-
, 600-700=D, below 600=F.

Service-learning and research. Most students in this course will be
expected to complete an average of 20 hours of service learning.
Typically, this will involve a weekly visit to your learning site,
for about 2 hours, over the course of 10 weeks. You may choose to
visit fewer times (6 or 7) for more hours (3-4), but you should plan
on a minimum of 6 visits in order to get a good sense of how the
institution or the family operates. You are expected to keep a
notebook or journal of your service learning experiences, in which
you record some of your thoughts, impressions, and feelings, and
respond to some of the questions provided. This notebook should
eventually reach approximately 10 pages (1 page for every 2 hours of
service learning), or close to 3,000 words. You will be asked to
share some of your notebook reflections orally during certain class
meetings, or as an Oncourse discussion posting.
At the end of the semester, 50% of your course grade
will be assigned according to the quality of the notebook
reflections, of the oral reporting of such reflections, and of the
service you’ve provided (teachers and supervisors at service
learning placements will play a role in this assessment). However,
at the middle of the semester, you will be asked to submit your
notebook reflections, as well as a brief statement by your site
supervisor, for which you will be assigned a tentative mid-term

Term Project.  Working with the professor, you will define a term
paper topic and complete an approximately 20 page paper based on a
survey of the literature.

Attendance. Regular attendance is crucial to your success in this
course. Much of the learning will take place through engagement and
sharing amongst classmates. In order to receive the equivalent of
an “A/A-” for this portion of the course, you should have missed no
more than 2 required classes and shown evidence of high quality
participation.  In order to receive lower than a “C,” you will have
missed at least 5 classes and shown little evidence of quality

Take-Home Final Exam. The final exam question(s) will be distributed
during the last week of class, and will be due by Wednesday of
finals week. It will consist of approximately 7-8 pages of written
essay(s). The exam will ask you to synthesize facts and concepts
from different sections of the course and produce a statement about
what you considered to be your most valuable learning. You will be
able to draw on your inquiry notes in writing the exam.

Some warnings:  1) The act of plagiarism, or representing someone
else’s thoughts and words as your own, is the epitome of
intellectual dishonesty, and will not be tolerated.  Intentional
plagiarism will garner you a score of 0 points for the assignment in
question, and may constitute grounds for failure of the course and
disciplinary action.  Be aware, however, that unintentional forms of
plagiarism may also be severely penalized.  It is your
responsibility to acknowledge the sources of your information and
ideas, using proper citation and quoting.  If in doubt, err on the
side of caution and use quotes and citations liberally. 2) Deadlines
indicated on the syllabus are not negotiable, unless the date is
changed for the entire class.  Occasional extensions may be granted
if a reasonable request is submitted at least two days prior to the
deadline, or if documentation is provided for a severe illness or
family emergency.  I prefer that you ask for an extension rather
than submit shoddy work written on a late-night caffeine buzz.

Key due dates:

January 25th:  Service-learning site chosen, contract signed (5
points deducted for each class that passes without a signed contract)
March 10th:   Mid-term service-learning report (reflection notebooks
plus statement from supervisor)
April 28th:   Final service-learning reflection notebooks
May 4th:   Take-home final exam

Tentative Course Schedule

Week 1   Education as the Human Condition

January 11

-- Introductions and discussion about possible topics of
research/service interest

January 13
1. Levinson, Introduction, Schooling the Symbolic Animal, pp. 1-6
Recommended reading:
Levinson and Holland, “The Cultural Production of the Educated
Person” (Reserve)

-- Introduction to service learning process and goals

Unit 1: Latin American Educational Thought and Practice

Week 2  Educational Roots in Rural and Indigenous Cultures

January 18
1. T. Reagan, “Training Face and Heart: The MesoAmerican Educational
Experience” (Reserve)
D. Sodi, “Los Mayas” (Reserve)

January 20
1. L. Rival, “Formal Schooling and the Production of Modern Citizens
in the Ecuadorian Amazon” (Reserve)
C. Allen, The Hold Life Has, Intro-Chap 3

**Make initial visits to service-learning sites this week**

Weeks 3-5  History and Structure of Modern Latin American Education

January 25
1. Arnove et al., “Education in Latin America” (Reserve)
2. E. Rockwell, “Constructing Diversity and Civility in the United
States and L.A. (Reserve)
Rockwell, “Ethnography and Critical Knowledge of Education in Latin
America” (Reserve)
Puiggrós, “Cultural commotion in Latin America” (Reserve)
Carlson, “Achieving Educational Quality” (Chilean primary schools—

**Due: Service-learning placement and contract**
**Begin 7-10 week service-learning/research activities**

January 27
1. A brief history of schools/school systems in a Latin American
country—your research

February 1
1. Hornberger, “Bilingual Education Policy and Practice in the
Andes” (Reserve)
Conlin, “Participation versus expertise” (R-Peru)
Holstein, “La experiencia de la diversidad en los grupos escolares”

February 3
1. Levinson, “Student culture and the contradictions of equality…”
Bradley Levinson, We Are All Equal (Preface, Introduction, Chapters

February 8
1. Macías, José, “The Schooling Antecedents of Mexican Immigrant
Children in the U.S.” (Reserve)
2. Levinson,  “Hopes and Challenges for the New Civic Education in
Mexico” (Reserve)
We Are All Equal (Chapters 4-8)
Tapia Uribe et al, “Maternal Behavior in a Mexican Community: The
Changing Environments of Children” (Reserve)
Hidalgo, “Bilingual Education, Nationalism, and Ethnicity in Mexico”

February 10
1. Paolo Freire, Chapter 2, Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Reserve)
Hammond, Fighting to Learn (Chapters 1, 3-5)

February 15
Fiction Day!!  Students choose their own readings on different
Latino or Latin American groups; discussion of readings provided by
students, according to their interest in particular groups or authors
Chapters and short stories in Spanish by Ibarguengoitia,
Castellanos, Molina, etc., in English by Rivera, Jiménez, Arredondo,
**Meet at Encore Café

February 17
--**First reflection on service learning** (Bring your notebooks!)
**Meet at Encore Café

February 22
Janise Hurtig, “Debating Women: Gendered Lessons in a Venezuelan
Classroom” (R)
“Resisting assimilation: Mexican immigrant
women write their worlds” (R)
**Note:  Today we meet at La Casa, Latino Cultural Center, 715 E.
7th St.

Unit 2: Latin Americans, Latinos, and Latino Education in the United

Weeks 7-9  Assimilation or Integration? Historical and Contemporary
Views on Latino Diversity, Language, and Culture

February 24
1. San Miguel, “Contested Learning” (Reserve)
Gonzalez, “Culture, Language, and the Americanization of Mexican
Children” (Reserve)

March 1
1. Salinas Sosa, “Latinos in the U.S.: A Tapestry of Diversity”
2. Garcia, “It Doesn’t Have to Be Either/Or”  (Reserve)
Levinson, Foreword, Education in the New Latino Diaspora

March 3
1. Romo, “Cultural Perspectives on Learning” (Reserve)
Gonzalez, “Speak Spanish, You’re in America!” (Reserve)

March 8
Documents concerning the education of Latinos in Indiana (Schedule
tab of Oncourse)

March 10

**Second reflection on service learning** (Bring your notebooks!)
**Due: First service-learning reports**

**Spring Break**

Weeks 10-13: The Struggle for Quality Education

March 22
1. Espinoza-Herold, Issues in Latino Education, Intro. and Chaps. 1-2
Valenzuela, Subtractive Schooling, Chaps. 1-2

March 24
1. Espinoza-Herold, Chaps. 3-4
Valenzuela, Subtractive Schooling, Chaps. 3-4

View in class: “New Americans” video

March 29
1. Espinoza-Herold, Chaps. 5-7
Valenzuela, Subtractive Schooling, Chaps. 5-7

March 31
View in class: “Fear and learning at Hoover Elementary”

April 5
1. Soto, Language, Culture, and Power,  Chaps. 1-2

April 7
1. Soto, Chaps. 3-5

April 12
1. Soto, Chaps. 6-7

April 14  Exploring High School Graduation and Higher Education
1. Torres, “Mi Casa is not Exactly Like Your House.” (R)
Trueba and Bartolomé, “The Education of Latino Students: Is School
Reform Enough?”
Romo, H., & Falbo, T. Latino high school graduation. .
Gándara, P.  Over the ivy walls: The educational mobility of low-
income Chicanos.

Unit 3:  Ideas and Prospects for Improving Latino Education: A
Critical Appraisal

April 19
1. Villenas, “Reinventing educación in new Latino communities”
2. Luis Moll, “Funds of knowledge.” See Moll. Or González, N., Floyd-
Tiery, L., Rivera, M., Rendón, A., Raquel, P. G., & Amanti., C.
(1997). Funds of knowledge for teaching in Latino households. Urban
Education, 29(4), 443-470.
Delgado-Gaitan, “Socializing Young Children in Mexican-American
Families” (Reserve)
Judith LeBlanc Flores, Children of La Frontera (1996, Appalachian
Educational Laboratory).

April 21
1. Cowan, “Drawing lowrider art” (Reserve)
2. Grady, “Lowrider Arte and Latino Students in the Rural Midwest”
Wortham, “Gender and School Success in the Latino Diaspora,” in
Education in the New Latino Diaspora

April 26
1. Turnbaugh Lockwood, “Effective Elementary, Middle, and High
School Programs for Latino Youth” (Reserve)
2. Gonzalez, “Successfully Educating Latinos” (Reserve)
Reyes, P., Scribner, J., & Scribner, A. P. (1999). Lessons from high-
performing Hispanic schools: Creating learning communities. New
York: Teachers College  Press.
Tamara Lucas et al., “Promoting the success of Latino language-
minority students: An exploratory study of six high schools.”

April 28  What Could be done in Indiana? Policy and Practice

Beck and Allexsaht-Snider, “Recent language minority education
policy in Georgia,” in Education in the New Latino Diaspora
Hamann, “Un Paso Adelante?” in Education in the New Latino Diaspora

**Final service-learning reflection and reports**