Last chapter we discussed religion. Protestantism in the United States, attached great importance to literacy, as reading the holy scriptures was key in their religious practice. Literacy was a legacy of the first generations of American protestant settlers. This legacy came hand in hand with education. Over time, these spaces were made part of a secular world, but the importance of education and the need to create spaces for learning, remained a fundamental feature of the making of the United States. In this chapter, we will talk about the views that Mexicans had on American attitudes and policies towards education. The creation of spaces for learning and attitudes towards knowledge. To give a background, I need to explain that education in Mexico suffered a set back in the 19th century. For two basic reasons. First, the government fought wars to undermine the power of the Catholic Church. The church, who basically controlled education since the colonial period until 1850s. And second, the government suffered a constant lack of funds due to political turmoil for most of the century. Therefore, the government cut educational services provided by the church, and they did not have the resources to replace them. It was not until the 1880s, that the Mexican government began to invest in expanding and modernizing education. The democratic spirit of education, captivated Mexicans starting with elementary education. Three of our travelers spent time as children of school age in the United States in the 1890s, 1920s and 1930s, and had positive experiences in education. Jose Vasconcelos, who went to school in Eagle Pass, Texas. Octavio Paz, who went to school in Los Angeles and Carlos Fuentes, who went to school in Washington DC. They praised the curriculum of the public school system in the United States. They wished that all public education in Mexico would be of the same quality. Their experiences also showed some of the elements of interaction between the two cultures. Vasconcelos, remembered the discrimination that Hispanic children suffered, and he even got into a fight over the causes of Texas independence. When he refused to repeat that Mexican's were semi civilized people. Paz, remembered the discrimination he endured for not knowing English. Children would make fun of him because he did not know how to say spoon, when he needed one during lunch. Still. Both Vasconselos and Paz recognized that Hispanic children of lower income level had a much harder time. Carlos Fuentes, a son of a diplomat, who learned English at the same time as he learned Spanish, did not have to struggle to fit into his school in Washington. He admired the United States as a country that wanted democracy, welfare. Had trust in its human resources, and had confidence in education and research. As a boy, he thought the United States was filled with cheerleaders, Oscar awards, and musicals. He remembered how, for American children, it was important to be popular. Fuentes recalls that he was a popular boy in his class, until the news came on March 1938, that Mexico had expropriated the oil industry. This expropriation damaged U.S. business interests. At school, he ceased being popular because he came from a country that had a communist government, a country that deserved to be invaded because it did not respect private property. Those Mexican who did not live in the United States as children, noticed that children played a center stage in American society. Guillermo Prieto, in the 19th century, wrote that children were a priority to the society. They were treated with love and respect, and there was a vast literature for them to read. In brief, he considered that children received good education. Justo Sierra, referred to them as the kings of the nation. And remarked how they were all good at sports. They praised how children had access to libraries, and that they even had sections devoted only to children's literature. Gamboa, commented that on his visit to Carnegie Library, there was a children's section. And it was occupied by a series of blonde-haired children, and even two African-American little girls. When it came to upper level education, the views of Mexicans varied according to the intellectual interests of the visitors. Mexicans were not always impressed with American academic world. Especially those whose work concentrated in the humanities. Xavier Villaurrutia, a famous poet and playwright, received in 1935 a scholarship to study in Yale University. The opinion he had while being there, was that students had narrow but clear ideas, too academic for his taste. Also, in the 1930s, Salvador Novo, a noted literary figure in Mexico, visited UC Berkeley. He wrote to his friends to announce, that American academia trained PhD students with narrow fields of specialization, and in doing so, Americans had killed the possibility of training universal theater critics. Alfonso Reyes was a prolific essay writer and diplomat, an emblematic intellectual of the first half of the 20th century. Interestingly, when he visited UC Berkeley in the 1940s, he was invited to give a talk. He wrote very few notes of history, but one of the things he did write about was the comments of well known historian of Mexico, H I Priestly. Priestly lamented that Americans did not know how to converse. He also clarified to Reyes that the students attended talks, not sparked by the interest of the topic, but with the prospect of getting a job. In contrast, researchers in other disciplines would not be as critical as humanists were. They may not have written their views on the United States academic world, but after the 1920s, more Mexicans came to pursue graduate studies in medicine, engineering, and the social sciences. Instead of going to France, Great Britain or Germany, that were the places they used to go. This changing trend reflects the respect for the quality of research produced in the United States. Today, many Mexican scientists, engineers, academics and politicians have graduate degrees from American universities. Most Mexican intellectuals, who visited the United States praised the spaces created to conduct research and preserve knowledge. In the 19th century, Mexicans admired the rapid growth of institutions of higher education and their majesty. Those universities that were more recently founded, during the second half of the 19th century, were the ones that sparked more interest in Mexicans. They were amazed at how, in a relatively short period of time, the United States managed to construct true temples of knowledge in research universities and libraries. With beautiful architecture, state of the art facilities and training of professions. This contrasted the ill fate of Mexican education at the same time. I should clarify that universities and libraries were not new to Mexicans. In Mexico, the first university was founded in 1551. And the first public library dated back to 1646. Justo Sierra, well known as Mexican Minister of Education during the time that Mexico began a modernization process, commented on higher education after his visit to the University of Chicago. He described the excellent equipment of the laboratories and he reckoned that with such facilities, Americans in the 20th century would become the center of gravity in the elaboration of all scientific theories. Bishop Vera y Zuria, visited Stanford University and UC Berkeley in the late 1920s. He admired the philanthropic gesture of Leland Stanford and his wife. To generously sponsor the building of such a great institution, that had everything from laboratories, to professional schools, museums and galleries. On the subject of libraries, Mexican intellectuals deemed American libraries, superb. Federico Gamboa praised in 1904 the recently inaugurated Carnegie library, also known as the University of the People. He was amazed at the number of volumes it held, and that they could be checked out. To Jose Vasconcelos, noted Minister of Education of the post-revolutionary period, the Library of Congress was a true temple of knowledge. During a research stay, he mentioned that days were not long enough to read classic works in the different translations available. Daniel Cosio Villegas, a prominent economist, historian, essayist, and diplomat, was marveled with the Library of Congress. He visited Washington and with a clear purpose of doing research there. He hated the general reading room that he found to be too noisy. But once he could gain access to a reading room reserved for researchers, he was able to work pleasantly and efficiently. He noted that, unlike the British Library, the library of Congress reflected the more democratic, and populist character of Americans, because libraries were open to everyone, and it's efficiency was measured by the number of volumes, and readers it had. In Great Britain, he noted that books were only accessible to those special and cultivated spirits, who were deemed worthy of consulting them. To summarize, Mexicans admire the American's education system. Perhaps certain humanists were critical of their approaches in their disciplines, still, in general, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Mexicans have looked at the United States as a role model in education, research and development, and preservation of knowledge.