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People of Watsonville 4 - Migrant Education at Ohlone School
by via David Bacon
Sunday Jan 30th, 2011 4:28 PM
Children of migrant farm workers, many of them from indigenous Mixtec families from Oaxaca, are part of the Migrant Education program at Ohlone Elementary School.
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Ofelia Lopez is a Mixteco-speaking student in Jenny Doud's class.


People of Watsonville 4 - Migrant Education at Ohlone School
By David Bacon
Watsonville, CA 11/19/10

Migrant Education is a product of the civil rights and farm worker movements of the 1960s. California's Migrant Education Program was established in 1967, two years into the five-year historic grape strike by the United Farm Workers. That strike, and the farm workers movement that it helped to ignite, gave migrant workers and their allies the political power necessary to get the state's educational system to respond to their needs. Today migrant education programs are one of the most important ways that farm worker families can win social equality and a future for their children beyond the fields.

The Pajaro Valley district includes thousands of students who travel with their families every year because their parents are migrant farm workers. The demographics of farm labor have changed radically over the last three decades. Today a large percentage of families come from Oaxaca and the states of southern Mexico. Many come from communities where people speak indigenous languages that were old when Columbus arrived in the Americas. The most common language among Watsonville students is Mixteco, although a few students speak Triqui or Zapoteco.

Families qualify as migrants because the parents work in farm labor, and have moved at least once in the last few years. In addition to education programs, children also get help with medical and dental care. The program has a very active parents group, with large meetings every month during the work season. Watsonville is close to the campus of the University of California in Santa Cruz, and university students help farm worker kids begin to think about the possibility of going to college.

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For more articles and images, see http://dbacon.igc.org
§Migrant Education at Ohlone School
by via David Bacon Sunday Jan 30th, 2011 4:28 PM
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Doud helps students learn the words to a song.
§Migrant Education at Ohlone School
by via David Bacon Sunday Jan 30th, 2011 4:28 PM
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In another classroom, students hold hands, jump and dance.
§Migrant Education at Ohlone School
by via David Bacon Sunday Jan 30th, 2011 4:28 PM
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Gabriela Diaz and Ruth Espinoza practice the sounds of the letters of the alphabet.
§Migrant Education at Ohlone School
by via David Bacon Sunday Jan 30th, 2011 4:28 PM
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§Migrant Education at Ohlone School
by via David Bacon Sunday Jan 30th, 2011 4:28 PM
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Natalia Gracida-Cruz is a tutor who speaks Mixteco with students for whom it is their primary language.
§Migrant Education at Ohlone School
by via David Bacon Sunday Jan 30th, 2011 4:28 PM
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Then Gracida-Cruz helps the two girls and Hector Cruz with recognizing letters and sounds.
§Migrant Education at Ohlone School
by via David Bacon Sunday Jan 30th, 2011 4:28 PM
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In another classroom she helps Victor Mendoza.
§Migrant Education at Ohlone School
by via David Bacon Sunday Jan 30th, 2011 4:28 PM
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Outside, older students get ready to practice a Mixteco song, including Romualdo Ortiz, Elizabeth Espinoza, Ezequiel Espinoza and Luis Lopez.
§Migrant Education at Ohlone School
by via David Bacon Sunday Jan 30th, 2011 4:28 PM
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Then Gracida-Cruz and migrant education instructor Casimira Salazar lead the four students, plus Claudia Salvador, in a song honoring Mexico's first indigenous president, Benito Juarez.