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Fronteras: Mexican-descent students achieve ‘The Chicana/o/x Dream’ of educational success in a system designed for them to fail

The complicated history of the U.S. was built on coloniality and nativism. These patterns are still reflected in the country’s educational systems.

Many first-generation, Mexican-descent students have to navigate obstacles like poverty, parenthood, discrimination and xenophobia to achieve their educational dream.

Nancy Acevedo, associate professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Technology at California State University, San Bernardino, is co-author of “The Chicana/o/x Dream: Hope, Resistance, and Educational Success.”

Acevedo said students navigate multiple worlds while pursuing an education.

“They use their facultad, that intuitive knowledge that we argue in the book comes partly from their learning experiences in school and partly from their community and home experiences,” Acevedo said.

The book employs testimonios from students and Chicana feminist theoretical concepts by scholar Gloria Anzaldúa to urge educators and administrators to better foster these students.

Framework of Atravesada/o/x Nepantleando, as explored in "The Chicana/o/x Dream."
Harvard Education Press
Framework of Atravesada/o/x Nepantleando, as explored in "The Chicana/o/x Dream."

The book is co-authored by Gilberto Q. Conchas, Wayne K. and Anita Woolfolk Hoy Professor of Education in the College of Education at Pennsylvania State University.

Conchas said he and Acevedo “wanted to define the heart and soul of tomorrow's America and really illuminate how these students maintained hope, how they enacted, resisted and really succeeded against all odds, which hence we called the Chicana/o/x Dream.”

If this topic interests you, we invite you to listen to TPR’s limited series “The Enduring Gap.” TPR’s education reporter Camille Phillips explores the Latino college gap in San Antonio. Find it wherever you get your podcasts.

TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.

Norma Martinez can be reached at norma@tpr.org and on Twitter at @NormDog1