The agricultural fields of Baja California are a magnet for people from all over Mexico, especially the southern states. It is common to find adults with an elementary school education or less. In many cases, they do not speak much Spanish, but rather are fluent in indigenous languages such as Mixteco or Triqui.
School attendance is difficult for a variety of reasons. Families often depend on their children for economic assistance, whether by working in the fields or caring for younger siblings as parents work.
Unlike the education system in the United States, even government-run public schools in Mexico generally have associated costs. Students are required to purchase two complete sets of uniforms, including shoes, without which they cannot enter the classroom. Children are issued a list of mandatory school supplies as well. For families who earn sometimes as little as $7 per day working in the fields, these costs alone can be prohibitive.
Children often stop attending school after 6th grade, as the costs of uniforms, books, and supplies required to attend secondary school are out of reach. Students who graduate from secondary school are faced with another challenge, as even government high schools charge tuition.
Because many families live in homes without electricity, lack of access to the internet is an added complication. Taken together, these expenses often make school an impossible dream without financial support.