“Foreign Adjustment Program”- A Conversation on Going to School in Los Angeles in the 1950’s


“…I wanted to stay here. The teaching was fine. Everything was great.… I considered myself part of them…I considered myself American…. I knew we were not legally here because we could hear it all over the place. Like you do now, but I never considered being thrown out [deported]…”-Francisco Gonzalez

Topics:  School, Immigration, Foreign Adjustment  Program, High School, Los Angles 1950’s
Title:  “Foreign Adjustment Program”- A conversation on going to school in Los Angeles in the 1950’s
Participants: Francisco Gonzalez
Publish Date: 04/14/2021
Homepage : http://www.dreport.org

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Discussion Topics:

  • Going to school in Los Angeles in the 1950’s.
  • Learning English in the 1950’s as a teenager.
  • What was the “Foreign Adjustment” English language program ?
  •  The Foreign Adjustment Program included students from Russia, Germany, Peru and Mexico.
  •  Why do some students laugh at other students for not speaking English?
  •  Why did Foreign Adjustment participants from Mexico, Central and South America get called “wet backs,”  but not students from Europe, if all were equally newly arrived students ?
  •  What kind of interactions occur between US-born and non US-born students?
  • How was the group of students in the Foreign Adjustment program treated by the school faculty and students?
  • How do students remember the different teaching approaches, 60-plus years later ?
  • How was the Foreign Adjustment program different from  the “regular school?”
  • How did joining the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) become one of  two options (Gym/Sports or ROTC) in High school in the 1950’s?
  • ROTC participation post World War II?
  • What was the United  States immigration policy in 1954, that deported an eleventh-grader to Mexico?
  • If you are undocumented and a teenager, at what point in our lives do we consider ourselves American or at least part of America?

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