Depopulation and Education in a Mexican Migrant Town: Schools in Villa Juarez, San Luis Potosi, 1942-2000
While educational systems have been governed by the policies of the nation-state and have been contained within state borders, the transformations brought about by the economic, social, and political repercussions of globalization have added layers of complexity to issues in education. This is true in particular of agrarian communities, such as Villa Juarez, San Luis Potosi, Mexico. National educational policies have led to new challenges in agrarian societies as they undergo not only ideological exchanges but the movement of populations that have led to international and national demographic shifts. One of the main issues that this research will investigate is the relationship between education and migration, and whether the changing conditions of that rural setting have had any effect on how locals perceive the purpose of education.
This study examines the way teachers, students and government officials view the purpose of education in the agrarian village of Villa Juarez that, like other communities in central Mexico, is undergoing the influence of globalization, manifested most notably in emigration to the United States. If post-basic education competes with international migration as another form of economic mobility, as William A. Kandel discusses in his study of traditional migrant communities, then what is the purpose of education as
viewed by teachers, students and government officials in a rural community? Villa Juarez, a town with a long-standing history of migration to the United States, has experienced continually diminishing depopulation and school closings since the Bracero Program of 1942, which marked the onset of a pronounced trend of migration to the United States for temporary employment opportunities. The effects of a culture of migration and globalization on education in the municipality and town of Villa Juarez have led to the undermining of education as a vehicle to social and economic mobility for future generations of students.