[EDEQUITY Equity Now] Opening Statement by Josefina V. Tinajero

From: Josefina V. Tinajero (tinajero@utep.edu)
Date: Fri May 24 2002 - 16:56:50 EDT

I, too, want to thank the WEEA Center for inviting me to be part of this
EDEQUITY panel discussion marking the 30th anniversary of the passage of
Title IX. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to help frame the
discussion of this landmark gender equity legislation.

I'm Josie V. Tinajero, Associate Dean of the College of Education and, most
importantly, Director of the Mother-Daughter Program at the University of
Texas at El Paso for the past 15 years. This is a WEEA-funded project
(Educational Enhancement for Mothers and Daughters Program) that addresses
two major barriers to Latinas' participation in higher education: low
educational and career expectations of girls and their mothers and lack of
knowledge about how to prepare for, finance, and succeed in college. Since
1986, the project has worked with over 3,000 mothers and daughters,
focusing on girls from grade 6 through the freshman year in college (most
intensively with 6th grade girls), instilling in them high aspirations for
educational achievement and career success. Mothers are equal participants
with their daughters, learning how to help their daughters succeed and
advancing themselves educationally and in their jobs. The Mother-Daughter
Program provides an inspiring example of how young women from low
socioeconomic backgrounds can break educational and career barriers.

 The Mother-Daughter Program has made a significant and positive impact on
the lives of thousands of girls and the mothers in the El Paso area. It
has significantly targeted the needs of women living in U.S.-Mexico border
regions where low levels of education; high dropout rates; unemployment or
employment in low paying, dead-end jobs; teen pregnancy; and poverty have
characterized life for many women. By targeting the factors of greatest
needs, as well as creating a supportive network through which women
perceive and understand options for changing their lives, change has been
possible for an ever-increasing number of women. The program has served
as a model for establishing similar programs throughout Texas and

The MD Program is a prototype of the kind of programs recommended by the
Hispanic Dropout Project. Although the project offered extensive
recommendations for curbing the Hispanic dropout rate, in brief, they
recommended a collaborative approach between teachers, parents, schools,
local communities, and colleges of education for providing students with a
high quality, challenging, and meaningful education. Such efforts would
demonstrate respect for students and their parents, would begin early
intervention with students, would include opportunities for students to
meet successful Hispanic college students and professionals, and would
provide help for parents to envision a future for their children. They
would also necessitate caring teachers who have high expectations for
students as well as an understanding of their culture, and would support
the creation of effective school that offer, and regularly monitor and
assess, programs an services that work best with Hispanic and other
minority students.

We have accomplished much with the support of Title IX. However, there is
still much work that needs to be done. We must have the resources to
ensure that sex equity continues to be addressed. We need federal funding
for sex equity specialists, research, ways of disseminating information
about model programs, training and development of teachers, administrators
and parents. True gender equity in education has not yet been achieved.
How can we work together to ensure that we get the funding and support to
continue our efforts? Who do we turn to in order to get that support? Who
are our allies? How can we ensure that the WEEA Program gets more funding?
How can we work together to accomplish this?

I am very interested in the perspectives and questions that others will
bring to this important discussion. I look forward to our discussion.

Thank you.
Dr. Josie Villamil Tinajero
Associate Dean, College of Education
The University of Texas at El Paso
500 W. University Avenue
El Paso, Texas 79902
(915) 747-5552 Office Phone
(915) 747-5572 Secretary's Phone
(915) 747-5755 FAX

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