Candid and illuminating, this text exposes the educational realities of Latinos (U.S. and foreign-born) in K–12 public schools in the Western United States from the students’ own perspectives. Through the testimonies of students who struggled to graduate from high school, issues that are often oversimplified and commonly misunderstood are brought to life. The students themselves offer pragmatic solutions to reduce the unchanging academic gap among culturally diverse groups. Their accounts are then compared with the viewpoints of a range of K–12 teachers on matters of community, learning, race, culture, and school politics. Examining in depth the question of how to best educate a growing culturally and linguistically diverse student population, this critical case study provides food for thought and provokes reflection on the critical role that human interactions and networking play in attaining one’s dreams and human aspirations.

Changes in the Second Edition

  • Updated demographics;
  • New chapter: The Role of the Media in the Transmission of Ideologies Related to Latino Students; 
  • Updated conclusions and study implications.

chapter 1|23 pages


chapter 5|26 pages

Introducing Manny

“There's More Than Whites Out Here”

chapter 6|27 pages

Introducing Carla

“This Is America and Here You Speak English!”

chapter 7|22 pages

Introducing the Educators

chapter 8|19 pages

Toward a Self-Definition of Success

chapter 9|13 pages


Students' Concerns and Recommendations for Educational Reform