David Toscana published a provocative oped this week in the NYT. The article is an indictment of the Mexican educational system and its inability to teach literacy and reading habits. Toscana wrote:
Nowadays more children attend school than ever before, but they learn much less. They learn almost nothing. The proportion of the Mexican population that is literate is going up, but in absolute numbers, there are more illiterate people in Mexico now than there were 12 years ago. Even if baseline literacy, the ability to read a street sign or news bulletin, is rising, the practice of reading an actual book is not. Once a reasonably well-educated country, Mexico took the penultimate spot, out of 108 countries, in a Unesco assessment of reading habits a few years ago.
Toscana's oped is clearly not about immigration, but it could not have come at a worse time. It plays directly into the inaccurate stereotypes of immigrants to this country as mainly Mexican, poor, and uneducated. Some don't bother to distinguish between Mexicans, Mexican immigrants (documented or undocumented) and U.S. citizens of Mexican American heritage. I cringed.