Can Special Education Teachers Create Parent Partnership with Mexican American Families? ¡Si Se Pueda!

By Salas, Loretta; Lopez, Eric J. et al. | Multicultural Education, Winter 2005 | Go to article overview

Can Special Education Teachers Create Parent Partnership with Mexican American Families? ¡Si Se Pueda!


Salas, Loretta, Lopez, Eric J., Chinn, Kathleen, Menchaca-Lopez, Eva, Multicultural Education


Introduction

Creating partnership between special educators and parents who are Mexican American often poses unique challenges for all involved. Historically, the fact that these parents may not share mainstream values, traditions, and customs has often been perceived by special education teachers as part of the problem and not as valuable new sources of information. This view has also been associated to other families who come from low socio-economic backgrounds, limited English proficiency, and/or racial and ethnic minorities, often leading to an eradication of the parent-special education teacher partnership.

Mexican American parents have been underrepresented in school-related decision-making and other traditional schooling activities (Lian & Fontanez, 2001; Pena, 1999). We believe that in order for effective partnerships to take place with these parents special education teachers must go beyond creating comfortable and welcoming environments.

Although creating these environments are necessary and a good starting point, the call for true partnerships requires that special education teachers come to know the cultural aspect surrounding how these parents perceive schooling. In addition, expanded parental involvement as suggested by the law requires that special educators learn: how parents from diverse background affect student learning; how to include all parents from diverse backgrounds; and how to minimize barriers between schools and these communities.

This article explores good practices in creating parent partnerships between special education teachers and Mexican American families.

Mexican American: Population

Mexican Americans are a unique group-a group that Mendoza (1994) writes is at a crossroad in regards to ethnic identity. We are not all Latinos nor Hispanics. In fact, many Mexican Americans have generational ties to the United States that go back hundreds of years while some of us have only been in this country for short periods of time (Oboler, 1995: Valdés, 1996).

For many of us, our loyalties and cultural references are intertwined with that of the United States. Some of us do not speak Spanish and have never been to Mexico, while some of us do speak Spanish and travel to Mexico on a regular basis. We possess a culture that is distinct in that we are both American and Mexican.

Mexican Americans are the youngest, largest, and fastest growing sub-group within the United States Hispanic population (Winzer & Mazurek, 1998). Currently, 59% of all Hispanics are of Mexican American origin. It is estimated that by the year 2080 the Mexican American population will account for approximately 13 percent of the total U.S. population. The Mexican American population is also a very young group with the average age being around 24 years of age (U.S. Bureau of Census, 2000).

Through the early 1900s, Mexican Americans were mainly a rural and agricultural people, but today over 90 percent of this population is estimated to live in metropolitan areas throughout the United States, which makes Mexican Americans and their young children more urbanized than the U.S. population as a whole (National Council of La Raza, 1998; U.S. Bureau of Census, 2000; Valdivieso, 1990).

The Mexican American population in the U.S. is also a group beset with many challenges stemming from high unemployment rates, poverty, poor housing conditions, and other health related problems. These problems, as unfortunate as they may be, eventually manifest themselves in low academic achievement, high drop rates, and low college enrollments (U.S. Department of Education, 2003; Nieto, 2000; Winzer & Mazurek, 1998) which have tremendous consequences for the social well-being of this country.

Parent Involvement: What Is It?

Defining parental involvement is something that school districts have continually been trying to deduce for years. For many school districts parental involvement simply entails connecting parents to the school by creating familiarity with teachers and facilities (Pena, 1999). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Can Special Education Teachers Create Parent Partnership with Mexican American Families? ¡Si Se Pueda!
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.