I've enjoyed participating in the EdEquity Equity Now dialogue and hearing
from women all over the US. Going back to my opening statement, I want to
reiterate the fact that although the dropout rates for Hispanic boys and
girls are at the same high rate, girls face far more obstacles to
their education than do boys. Among them are a greater probability of
becoming pregnant, being a single head of household, and living in poverty.
These factors greatly limits females' access to and information about
education and the possibilities for entering the work force in careers that
would change their economic conditions.
The sobering statistics that describe the socioeconomic conditions of
Hispanic women in border regions, such as in El Paso Texas, call for
programs that address these issues early in girls' development and
educational levels. Such programs should communicate information to girls
and their mothers who experienced the problems associated with low levels
education, poverty, underemployment and early pregnancy. This perspective
is supported by a study by Van Fossen and Sticht (1991) that found that a
mother's education is the greatest predictor of her children's success in
school. They continued that if a mother had limited basic skills and
educational level were enhanced, her children had a greater chance to
their educational level as well.
We have found that in the close-knit Hispanic family, the mother exerts a
particularly powerful influence on her children. Hispanic mothers have the
potential for influencing their daughters' educational career choices.
Building upon these needs and possibilities for changing the pattern for
Hispanic women, a program was developed at UTEP--the Mother-Daughter
Program--a recipient of Title IX WEEA funds. This program was used as an
exemplary preventative model by Stoddard in his analysis of data on the
high rates of pregnancy among Hispanic girls in border regions. In
addition, the program has addressed the other social problems faced by
Hispanic girls and women in El Paso: low levels of education, high rates of
poverty, underemployment, and early pregnancy.
If you want to read more about this program and its successful results,
is one reference: Chapter 6: Creating a Future for Hispanic Mothers and
Daughters on the US-Mexico Border (by Josefina Villamil Tinajero--me--and
Dee Ann Spencer, Life, Death, and In-Between on the US-Mexico Border (Asi
la vida) edited by Martha Oehmke Loustaunau and Mary Sanchez-Bane,
by Bergin and Garvey, 1999.
I would like to hear from any of you that know of similar programs. We have
disseminated much information about our program and we know of about 7
that have replicated our Mother-Daughter Program. Let me hear form you, if
you have also started such a program or a similar one.
Thank you WEEA for supporting our program and making a difference in the
lives of hundreds of girls and their mothers in the US-Mexico border and
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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