In this chapter, I examine a topic inadequately addressed in current discusssions about education in developing countries: teaching quality. I argue that teaching quality is important if schools are to help students develop capabilities of consequence to improve their life chances, especially if students cannot develop those capabilities in other institutions. I further argue that we need to think about teaching quality as a complex process, on that incorporates both normative and positive elements and that integrates what teachers do with how students make meaning and understand what their teachers do. The focus of this paper is on the relationship between teaching quality and the literacy skills of marginalized children. In supporting these arguments with empirical analysis of a nationally representative sample of sixth graders in Mexico, I address two research questions: How do variations in the literacy skills of various groups of sixth graders relate to the different circumstances they experience at home? How do their literacy skills relate to the teaching they experience in schools? I conclude that teaching quality, as reported by students, is as related to learning outcomes as parental educationand other home advantages. This finding is important: While the intergenerational transmission of educational advantages within families is widely accepted as a sociological and psychological fact, the importance of instructional quality and the conceptualization of teaching quality are not as widely established or accepted.