Everyone in Mexico knows about the normales rurales because their students and faculty are often protesting, blocking roads, waving red flags with hammer-and-sickle logos or images of Che, calling for revolution, denouncing corruption and inequality, and, since the students come from the lowest-income stratum of Mexico, crying out against their own isolation and poverty, always uselessly. It’s understood that the students—mostly campesinos, or the children of migrants to the city—will receive a poor education, just enough to qualify them to pass on their limited body of knowledge to the next generation of children of other poor families. Of the several government-run normales rurales in Guerrero, the Normal Rural Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa is the poorest.

Alma Guillermoprieto, “Mexico: The Murder of the Young”