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School Connections: U.S. Mexican Youth, Peers and School Achievement.

SCHOOL CONNECTIONS: U.S. Mexican Youth, Peers and School Achievement. Patricia Gandara, Margaret Gibson, and Jill Koyama (Eds.). Teachers College Press, 2004. 196 pp. $44.00. Soft, $21.95. The population of Hispanic students is increasing in U.S. public schools, yet fewer of these students complete high school and college compared to other ethnic groups. This book provides insight into what many Mexican American students are experiencing. As educators, we want to help our Mexican American students succeed, but many teachers do not know the Hispanic culture.

Eight chapters of this book address different issues that Mexican youths face today in California high schools. In the ninth chapter, the authors summarize the prior chapters with recommendations for research, policy, and practice. The individual authors have researched and interviewed high school students, and each chapter in the book simulates a journal of research.

One of the themes addresses peers and how peer pressure takes different forms to influence students' school achievement, either in a negative or a positive way. For example, in Chapter 3, the authors list three factors of peer influence that make a difference in the students' academic achievement: "risky business," changing their behavior to fit with "others," and a sense of belonging. The other recurring theme is the way that schools help structure peer relationships. In Chapter 7, Gibson, Bejinez, Hidalgo, and Rolon state that when students are involved in a school club or activity, the students are more motivated to be engaged academically as well.

We need to bridge the gaps of academic achievement among all student groups. I would highly recommend this book to all educators who come in contact with Mexican American students. Reviewed by Anna B. Kwak, mathematics teacher, Gladstone High, Azusa, CA
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Title Annotation:United States; book
Author:Kwak, Anna B.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 2005
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