Lucía Isabel Stavig is a PhD student in Justice Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on the intersection of representation, immigration, and citizenship among undocumented mothers in Arizona. She received her B.A. from New College of Florida with a concentration in Sociology and Latin American Studies. Her undergraduate thesis was on representations of indigeneity in the global human rights discourse and its effects on NGO projects on the ground in Chiapas, Mexico. Lucía is the proud daughter of a Peruvian immigrant mother and a working-class American father—both of whose worlds have been under and/or unjustly represented in public and academic discourses—which has inspired her to look and listen from the margins inward.
Through personal and research experience, I know that immigrant parents want to be a part of their children’s education. For them, access to a good education is one of the main reasons immigrants stay in the U.S. Consider, then, the irony that it is sometimes the lack of access to knowledge of how the USian school system works that stands between parents and being able to effectively advocate for their children in schools.
My mother emigrated from Perú to the U.S. when she was 35 to go to graduate school. Though she had class privilege, race privilege (she is considered white), a graduate degree and an American husband, when she started to have trouble with me in school, she was at a loss. We had just moved from Bolivia when I entered the USian school system. She was concerned with my English language skills (was I proficient enough?), but also knew that my first grade education in Bolivia had been more advanced than what the first grade in rural-suburban Florida could offer me. However, due to historic misunderstandings of how race, ethnicity, and history combine in places other than the U.S., school officials placed me back in the first grade and denied me language testing. This marked the beginning of my mother’s “education” in the USian school system. Read more