The miseducation of Mexican American women in a south Texas border region: Their Testimonios of academic disparities



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This qualitative study explores the experiences of five Mexican American women who meet the following criteria: 1) were raised and educated in the Rio Grande Valley, 2) are a product of under-educated parents (a high school diploma or less), 3) have attained a baccalaureate degree, 4) have enrolled in or completed a post-baccalaureate (graduate school) program. Data was gathered through individual testimonios of personal, familial, and academic experiences through plática and lastly a group session of comadreando (focus group discussion). The testimonios–or counter-stories–of the participants' experiences express stories of how their parents, family, personal characteristics, and lived experiences contributed to their academic success. The findings of this study parallel Yosso’s (2005) model of community cultural wealth and the different forms of cultural capital that contribute to cultural wealth rather than through a deficit lens. Dr. Yosso’s research and teachings apply the framework of critical race theory to examine educational access and opportunity. The intent in this study is to highlight the participants stories, experiential knowledge, and allow them to name their realities while enabling them with the power to build community, challenge perceived wisdom, open new windows into reality, and combine their past stories with present realities.

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Testimonios, Platicas, Mexican American Women, Academic Disparities