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Working their way to middle class

February 10, 2007

Re "The brown and the gray," Current, Feb. 4

David E. Hayes-Bautista's call to invest more in educating Latino immigrants is misguided. Money cannot buy a culture of academic achievement. But, in "La Nueva California: Latinos in the Golden State," Hayes-Bautista makes clear what I see around me, which is that Latino immigrants are working their way to middle-class status via blue-collar jobs. The only people elitists like Gregory Rodriguez regard as successful are people with master's degrees and media jobs. They don't see the manager at a Denny's, who may make $80,000 a year, or the Hispanic immigrant contractor who makes $120,000 a year. Everybody sees things from their own perspective.

As a 60-year-old gringo, I am not worried that the Latino immigrant population will be unable to shoulder the burden of supporting my generation.

MIKE BURNS

Bakersfield

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