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Border Region Minority Students: A Note on Educational Policies for the 1990s

Pamela Balch


The quality of education and the economic development of the Mexican-American border population are closely related phenomena. Hansen (1981), for example, explains the high correlation between income and educational levels among the Mexican-American population. In his study of median income of Mexican-origin males and all males by school years completed, Hansen concluded that "as the Mexican-American's educational levels advance, so do their earnings in relation to the rest of the population" (Hansen 1981:142). Because of the significance of a completed high school education, we must pay particular attention to border school dropout problems and policies promoting increased retention.

Researchers and the general public alike are impetuous in making vast educational generalizations such as: "Dropout rates are threatening minority border populations," "It is obvious that Hispanic dropout rates are increasing," "Dropout rates occur more often among Hispanics than among blacks and more often among blacks than whites" and "Fewer Hispanics are attending post-secondary educational institutions." Educators studying the border populations of minority high school students, are finding that there are confusing complexities, some truths, and many contradictions to these broad generalizations and assumptions. Unfortunately, this confusion is often reflected in educational policy. Thus, the purpose of this article is to examine some of these assertions and to suggest, in general terms, educational policies that may lead to improved educational opportunities in the border region.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229