Friday, December 03, 2004

Diversity and Latino Students

Today's Los Angeles Times has a front page article on the cultural divisions between recent Latino immigrants and "assimilated" high school students at Montebello High School. Recent arrivals in the LA Basin might be unaware that some Latino families have been here for generations, and that there is often tension between these populations from more recent waves of immigration.

Near East Los Angeles, Montebello ranks among the 10 most segregated cities in the state, according to the Public Policy Institute. It is three-quarters Latino, a major shift from 25 years ago, when the city had far more white residents.Some Mexican American families have lived there several decades, and have watched their grandchildren lose touch with Spanish altogether. Bonsall said many of these families embrace school activities because they also attended Montebello High, or schools like it. They are often poor, but they "find a way to get their kids involved," she said, by holding fundraisers or asking aunts, uncles and grandparents to pay for uniforms.

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