Mexican and Dominican Americans' educational attainment

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Mexican-American and Dominican-American Education in the United States

Mexican Americans and Dominican Americans have gotten various types of education in the United States in an effort to overcome the particular difficulties that each group has encountered. Since the United States has dominated the political and cultural spheres in the Caribbean basin and has had a longstanding connection with the Dominicans, most of them are likely to be familiar with the country and its culture. As a consequence, many of the Dominicans who immigrated to the US only have a cursory understanding of the country. On the other side, Mexican-Americans have struggled to successfully assimilate into American society. Besides the difference witnessed in the fitting within the American culture of Education, both the Mexican-Americans and Dominican-Americans received segregated and unequal education in America.

Segregation and Unequal Education for Mexican-Americans and Dominican-Americans

Despite the high educational expectations in the United States, the Mexican-Americans are considered as being among the least educated individuals. This is as a result of racial segregation that took place in the United States. For instance, in Texas, there were over 122 school districts in approximately 59 counties which were known to have segregated schools for the Mexican-Americans. When children attained secondary schools’ levels, the education officials equally established different segregated facilities. As a result, the Mexican-Americans received unequal and segregated education. The buildings were generally dilapidated and older, the recreational space for children was substandard and older, and the school equipment was also inadequate. On the other hand, the Dominican-Americans also faced the same segregation as that faced by the Mexican Americans. Many of the Dominican-Americans have also encountered racial prejudice. This is due to their mixed Afro-Hispanic heritage which led to them being categorized as black by the white Americans. This has made them to similar racial prejudice as the African Americans in their quest for education. Therefore, many of the Dominican Americans received education that was separate as well as unequal. They also had poor educational facilities and lacked the necessary facilities for them to pursue education. Therefore, both Mexican-Americans and Dominican-Americans received segregated education and had insufficient resources to pursue education.

Lack of Financial Aid for Mexican-Americans and Dominican-Americans

Both communities received very little financial aid from the government. The expenditures in every Mexican-American pupil in the schools were extremely low. The teaching staff in the Mexican-American schools lacked credentials, training as well as experience. This is because, many of the new American teachers were sent to the Mexican schools with the aim of beginning their careers. On the other hand, the Dominican-Americans also complained that they received very little support from the government. Many of the Americans were known to have various misconceptions about the Dominican immigrants. They were regarded as coming from one of the poorest and least educated section of their home country. They were also accused by the Americans of placing a substantial burden on the state and federal social services. As a result, the Dominican Americans also received very little funding from the government just as the case with the Mexican Americans.

Local Administrators' Discriminatory Practices

Both communities faced problems with local administrators. Another problem that was faced by the Mexican-Americans when receiving their education was in the administration. This is because; the local administrators were known to develop discriminatory measures. This was reflected in the placement and assessment practices as well as in the interaction with different Mexican-American students. School officials in most cases channeled Mexican-American students into low-Track classes containing low-track classes with other immigrant students. Some of the administrators based their assessment of the Mexican-Americans on emotional, mental as well as language abilities which relied on biased tests. On the other hand, many of Dominican-Americans were classified as culturally backward, intellectually inferior as well as linguistically deprived. Because of this, many of the students from both backgrounds were placed in different developmentally appropriate curricular tracks or instructional groups.

Curriculum and Educational Opportunities

At the elementary level, the Mexican Americans were assigned to non-academic or slow-learning classes. When they reached the secondary school level, they were put in general-education or vocational courses. As a result, these policies are the ones that set the Mexican-Americans apart as well as deprived them of various educational opportunities for them to succeed. In terms of curriculum, the Dominican-American students had a curriculum that increasingly emphasized on different non-academic concerns. For instance, in the elementary level, the school curriculum shifted to what was commonly known as the three Cs. This includes: civics instruction, command of English and common cultural norms. At the secondary school level, the educational shift was to general and vocational education.

Advocacy for Better Education

Both groups advocated for better education. The Mexican Americans complained that they had an academically imbalanced and also assimilationist. They cited that the textbooks they were assigned often omitted or distorted their culture. The Linguistic intolerance in America was greatly reflected in the English-only policies. In addition, the unfavorable socioeconomic circumstances and inferior schooling resulted in lower test scores, lower median numbers, and higher withdrawal rates in comparison to the general population. However, a specific number of Mexican-Americans were able to graduate from high school, and take on post-secondary education. The emergence of an intellectual and professional group has motivated others to pursue education. In the 21st century, the Mexican Americans can now pride of the increasing numbers of Mexican Americans university and college graduates as well as on their expanded involvement in public and professional life. On the other hand, education seems among the Dominican-Americans seems to have occupied a place of great significance in the Dominican migrant general view. Definitely, the Dominican migrants in America seem to be better educated in comparison to their counterparts back home. This is largely due to the fact that the Dominicans greatly advocated for their rights. The Dominican-Americans fought significant political battles in the United States with regards to education. For instance, in the Washington heights, they gained a voice on the community’s local school board. Originally, the local school board had been dominated by the non-Dominicans even though majority of the school age children were from the Dominicans. As a result, the Dominicans campaigned with the purpose of putting representatives of their own community on the board which was greatly successful. This political mobilization around education by the Dominicans saw many leaders join politics thereby making them able to advocate for the education rights of the Dominicans.


In conclusion, it is evident that both Mexican-Americans and Dominican-Americans received racially segregated and unequal educational facilities. They were both considered backwards in terms of intellect and were often taken to schools that had very little educational facilities. Both groups tried to advocate for better educational opportunities for their people despite the challenging political climate.


Ortiz, V., & Telles, E. (2012). Racial identity and racial treatment of mexican americans. Race and Social Problems, 4(1), 41-56. doi:

Bailey, Benjamin. "Shifting Negotiations of Identity in a Dominican American Community." Latino Studies 5, no. 2 (Summer, 2007): 157-181. doi:

Salgado, Casandra D. "Racial Lessons: Parental Narratives and Secondary Schooling Experiences among Second- and Third-Generation Mexican Americans." Race and Social Problems 7, no. 1 (03, 2015): 60-72. doi:

Baer, Judith C. and Mark F. Schmitz. "Ethnic Differences in Trajectories of Family Cohesion for Mexican American and Non-Hispanic White Adolescents." Journal of Youth and Adolescence 36, no. 4 (05, 2007): 583-592. doi: 9177-3.

June 19, 2023

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