Tuesday, September 21, 2004


In the week and a half I've substituted, I've noticed something. At least half of every class I've taught has been Hispanic, usually more like 80%. This doesn't particularly bother me, but I do wonder why.

Is it that Austin really has such a large Hispanic population? Possibly, but certainly not in every neighborhood. My own daily experience suggests that the students are overrepresented. Perhaps there are proportionally more wealthy white students who are sent to private schools, but this trend applies all over the country and there were plenty of white kids in my public schools.

I think the answer is slightly more sinister. I think that some teachers (who are generally white) don't particularly like teaching poor Hispanic kids that act up and feel that they need a break every now and then. Meanwhile, the teachers in the classrooms full of middle-class white kids aren't under as much perceived stress and tend to be absent less frequently. As a result, my comrades and I are more often called into the Hispanic classes. If this weren't Texas, I might notice a similar majority of black students.

It is true, in my limited experience, that the lower a student's apparent socioeconomic status the more prone they are to cause trouble, and the literature is rife with explanations for that phenomenon. I guess the real problem is that in our laissez faire society these Hispanic families have to remain poor and thus breed the behavior.

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