Institutional and Structural barriers to Latino/a Achievement

Angela Valenzuela, Emmanuel Garcia, Harriett Romo, Beatrix Perez


Luz María was a female Mexican immigrant in the all-English, regular track in a Houston, Texas high school. She worked after school as an apprentice in a flower shop. As a gifted musician and an A and B student in her senior year with a 3.0 grade point average, she was set to be the first of her entire extended family to have ever attended college. Luz and her group of musician friends had all planned to leave home together to attend Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. Leaving home as part of a group was the only way her parents would agree to the idea of her going to a college outside of her home town. However, Luz’s plans were derailed when she failed to pass Texas’ standard exit exam after multiple attempts. Even after taking remedial test- prep courses for two consecutive semesters, Luz failed the reading portion of the state exam. Luz María not only lost the opportunity to go to college, but she also never graduated from high school despite having earned all of her credits and otherwise meeting the necessary course- related requirements for graduation.

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