Con Respeto presents a study of ten Mexican immigrant families, with a special focus on mothers, that describes how such families go about the business of surviving and learning to succeed in a new world. Guadalupe Valdés examines what appears to be a lack of interest in education by Mexican parents and shows, through extensive quotations and numerous anecdotes, that these families are both rich and strong in family values, and that they bring with them clear views of what constitutes success and failure. The book’s conclusion questions the merit of typical family intervention programs designed to promote school success and suggests that these interventions—because they do not genuinely respect the values of diverse families—may have long-term negative consequences for children.
Con Respeto will be a valuable resource in graduate courses in foundations, ethnographic research, sociology and anthropology of education, multicultural education, and child development; and will be of particular interest to professors and researchers of multicultural education, bilingual education, ethnographic research methods, and sociology and anthropology of education.
“This rich and absorbing study of Mexican parents in border communities leads to more complex, rather than single-minded, solutions to school success. Valdés sees to the center of things and deftly questions the merit of typical educational interventions aimed at promoting school success . . . these interventions, grounded in mainstream values, do more harm than good. They do not show respect for deeply ingrained familistic values—the cultural capital that immigrant parents bring with them on their backs and in their hearts from their homeland; and they devalue the social and linguistic competence of immigrant parents and their children. . . . Valdés does not provide solutions. She does, however, lead the search with her strong but cautious narrative voice for a sufﬁciently complex and multi-leveled understanding of the challenges facing families who move across borders as immigrants.”
—From the Foreword by Carol Stack
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was assigned reading for a university course in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). It accomplished the goal of providing insight to the situation and culture of recent immigrants, albeit immigrants living close to the Mexican border. Fortunately, the professor encouraged us to consider the differences with recent immigrants living 1500 mile from the border. My major criticism is that the author was dismissive of other theories without building a case. From her standpoint as a Mexican-American, the genetic argument theory is patently wrong and hurtful, but a couple of paragraphs about why people once subscribed to it would contribute to the intellectual status of the book. Same thing for the cultural argument, which still has some good-faith supporters. The book is also getting a little dated. I wonder if the bureaucracy is so bad 19 years after it was written. There is no reference to the growing importance of Latin immigrants to the economy of the non-border states both as willing workers and participants in the American dream.
This book provides many insights regarding not only the diversity within Mexican-American culture, acculturation processes, language and education, education policy, bilingualism... but also connects these issues to pre-immigration issues, such as the Mexican education system, variability within Mexican culture, etc. Anyone working with Mexican-American children (whether first, second or third generation...) MUST read this book.