EDUCATION ON THE BORDER: The myths and realities of teaching on "La nueva frontera"




EDUCATION ON THE BORDER: The myths and realities of teaching on "La nueva frontera"

Alice Quiocho, Maria Luiza Dantas, Dennis Masur, Lorri J. Halcón, y Carlos von Son.


This paper examines education along "La Nueva Frontera"/the New Border Region, specifically between San Diego, California and Tijuana, Baja California. The ideas expressed here emerged from the First Annual Border Pedagogy Conference (2001) held at California State University San Marcos. Conference participants responded to an interview prompt regarding the myths of borderland education. Common themes and patterns emerged from the analysis. These themes, a) language maintenance creates problems for children, b) everyone has access to a quality education, and c) Latino parents do not care about education, are discussed this article. Written collaboratively by several Conference participants, this article presents various perspectives and ideas regarding the education of borderland students. It is our hope that such Conferences elsewhere will encourage other borderland educators to support each other's work, realizing that as teachers along "La Nueva Frontera" we are truly two distinct parts of a common educational system. We know that if we are successful in our collaboration, our children can only benefit.


Este artículo examina la educación en "La Nueva Frontera"/ The New Border Region, específicamente entre San Diego, California y Tijuana, Baja California. Las ideas aquí expresadas surgieron del Primer Congreso Anual de Pedagogía Fronteriza (2001) que se llevó a cabo en la Universidad Estatal de California en San Marcos. Temas y patrones comunes emergieron del análisis hecho. Los temas discutidos en este trabajo son: a) el mantener el idioma crea problemas para los niños, b) todo mundo tiene acceso a educación de calidad, y c) los padres latinos no tienen interés en la educación. Este artículo presenta varias perspectivas e ideas acerca de la educación de los estudiantes en la zona fronteriza ya que fue escrito en conjunto con varios colegas. Es nuestra esperanza que tales Congresos en otras partes motiven a los pedagogos en la zona fronteriza a apoyar los trabajos respectivos y que tomemos conciencia de que como docentes en "La Nueva Frontera", somos verdaderamente dos partes distintas de un sistema educativo en común. Sabemos que si tenemos éxito con nuestra colaboración, nuestros niños serán los beneficiados.


The line on the map that separates Mexico and the United States is a geo-political compromise, a boundary that ended a war. It was an agreement made in 1848 between victors and vanquished: a hastily drawn border acceptable to both countries that ended a politically unpopular conflict in the north and a humiliating defeat in the south. Recognizing that with victory, the United States had the military power to claim all of Mexico as far south as Guatemala (a result no one wanted) the Mexican and American border today, became "the best they could do at the time" (Eisenhower, 1995).

One hundred and fifty years later, the border as it exists, satisfies no one, on either side. As one Border Pedagogy Conference participant from Mexico so clearly reminded us about the border region, specifically Tijuana, "(it) isn't 'Mexican enough' for Mexicans living in the interior of Mexico."

Of course, those of us who were born and/or raised along the border on the American side have always known that the border region also is not "American enough" for most Americans, especially those of Mexican descent.

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Posted on

February 16, 2015