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California Elementary School’s ‘Mexican Culture’ Reading Assignment Sparks Concern

CHULA VISTA, CA – A reading assignment for fourth-grade students at a Chula Vista elementary school sparked concern from several parents who said the article portrayed stereotypes against Mexican culture.

Reading assignment causes concern.
Reading assignment causes concern.

The article, assigned to students of Hilltop Drive Elementary School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District, was meant to teach students about Mexican heritage and idioms.

Instead, some parents say, the text reflected an old and mistaken way of thinking about Mexican culture. It portrayed Mexicans as “putting off work” and men as being the king of the house, they said.

“It said that we are lazy, that the woman has no opinion, that the man is the king,” Angelica Guerrero told Telemundo 20 in Spanish.

Guerrero’s granddaughter received a copy of the reading, titled “Mexican Culture,” but she did not understand the content. When Guerrero read the article she realized that the phrases described Mexican culture in an insensitive way, she said.

“There is a sentence in the article that says, ‘Do not do today what you can do tomorrow’ and that’s wrong,” Guerrero said. “The correct saying is, ‘Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today,” said Angelica.

Guerrero said that although many adults know these are stereotypes, parents fear that they could be misinterpreted by elementary students, who are in the process of forming their cultural identity.

“If this student is seeing these stereotypes he will say, ‘Then that’s my family, that’s me” and he’ll accept it as such,” said Rocío Córdova of the Association of Educators of La Raza.

“This cannot happen in a district where 84% of its students are Latino,” Rocío said.

The school district responded with a statement that said they would review the assignment.

“We are sensitive to parent concerns about the matter and will research this further.”

EDITORS NOTE: This story was written by  Anlleyn Venegas and Mirsha Arámbula,  KNBC-TV.

NBC News

NBC News

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