When my oldest brother arrived home from kindergarten in the 1950s, he excitedly reported, “Mommy, Mommy, everyone speaks like Daddy!” With his entrance into the New York public schools he was making his debut into one of American society’s most formative cultural institutions, its schools. At his new school he was expected to speak a language different from his own language of birth and his mothers’ native tongue, in addition to learning a culture and history distinct from that of his father. But, after all, one of the main purposes of public schools in the United States has been to Americanize the diverse immigrant peoples that have arrived on its shores voluntarily or who have become members through colonization or annexation.
KeywordsMigrant Worker Latino Child Latino Community School Desegregation Native Tongue
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