Focal Student Profiles
In the body of the text, I highlight eight of the twenty-two focal stu-
dents in 1990, so here I develop short profiles of the remaining ones. These
can then be compared with the profiles and table in chapter 7, showing
their changes from 1991 to 1998.
Along with her younger sister, Alejandra lived in a large house with her
grandmother and some uncles instead of her own parents. She had never
‘‘gotten along’’ with her father, as she put it. She didn’t even know about
his former job, only that for several years he had been immobilized by a
bad spinal injury. Her two younger brothers (four and fourteen) still lived
with their parents in a modest neighborhood, where they ran a small
grocery store out of the house. Every day, Alejandra would bring the main
meal from her grandmother’s house to her parents’ home and wait to
greet her mother on her return from her work as a union o≈cer with the
National Electricity Commission. Alejandra had lost two school years
along the way, once because of a head injury that forced her out and once
more because she was switched from a public primaria to a colegio for
grades two through six. Ever since her injury, Alejandra had tended to tire
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