Friday, May 25, 2018

Texas Becomes the Second State in the US to Implement Mexican American Studies by Christine Bolaños, REMEZCLA

Do pay attention to press conferences on the name change happening statewide next Friday.  
This piece by Christine Bolaños provides a good overview of the issue.  
Thanks to Sandra Telles Rojas for sharing!
Angela Valenzuela

By  | 1 month ago
Texas just became the second state to implement a Mexican-American studies course, following in the footsteps of Arizona, which created a similar in the 1990s (though it 
was banned for a few years). Today, the Texas State Board of Education gave final 
approval for a standard high school elective course for Mexican-American studies. Advocates, who have pushed for an official course since 2013, described the motion 
as a “historic decision” that could set a precedent for other ethnic courses in the future.
The state is modeling the course after an innovative class taught at the Houston school 
district called Mexican-American studies (MAS). The course meets Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards.
Today, supporters celebrate the approval of the course, but they vowed to continue 
fighting. On Wednesday, Board member David Bradley – a Republican representing 
Southeast Texas – proposed changing the name to “Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent.” He argued that “hyphenated Americanism” could lead 
to divisiveness.
Despite pleas from all Democratic Latinos sitting on the board to leave “Mexican-
American” in the title, a majority of the board approved the name change on 
Wednesday. On Friday, board member Ruben Cortez of Brownsville, urged the board 
to leave the name as is before giving the course final approval. “A lot of people are just deeply offended that the board has gone in this direction,” Cortez said. Board member 
Marty Rowley said the board would consider public reactions at upcoming meetings.
“It’s not just the title of a course, it’s the title of an identity,” said board member Erika 
Beltran of Fort Worth. “Our responsibility as members of this body is to acknowledge 
people’s differences and honor that and respect that, and that includes naming a course 
like this, it’s original name.”
Ultimately, a majority of the board voted to go with the course’s name change. After 
the vote, visibly emotional board member Marisa B. Perez-Diaz of Converse, shared a 
Mexican proverb followed with a passionate disapproval of the board’s decision. 
“Today what happened was my colleagues around this boardroom identified me. My 
identity is my own and I am to define myself. That did not happen today,” she said, 
adding that her tears were a sign of anger not of weakness. “We identified thousands of students across Texas today and took that power from them.”
Despite the setback, advocates view the decision as a historic win. Today’s vote is in 
direct contrast to 2014 when the board rejected a MAS course. It also hasn’t adopted a 
MAS textbook but has considered and rejected two different textbooks in the past, after 
one was considered racist, and the other not comprehensive enough.
Juan Tejeda of the Somos Mas campaign said plans are underway to contest the course 
name change during the public comments portion of the June SBOE meeting. The fight 
will also continue through the press and social media, he said. “The name change 
diminishes the field of study, diminishes us as a people and our history and 
contributions to the state, and it’s not (fully) accurate,” Tejeda said.
Angela Valenzuela, who serves as director for the Texas Center for Education Policy 
at  the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education, called the decision 
paternalistic” and said it robbed Mexican-Americans of any true sense of 
Marcial Guajardo, an Austin area resident who works in the communications field, 
wrote a letter to the board defending the MAS course title. Part of his argument focused 
on how reputable sources, such as the AP Stylebook and several dictionaries, recognize 
the term Mexican-American. “Bradley,” said the self-described history buff, “either by ignorance or on purpose, is trying to strip us of our ethnicity by eliminating it from the 

 MASmexican-american studiestexasFriday, April 13, 2018 at 4:45 PM EDT

Time for a New Civil Rights Movement by Dr. Gary Orfield

MAY 24 2018

Time for a New Civil Rights Movement


Fifty years ago, a presidential commission warned that the country was coming apart, predicting that it could become two separate and profoundly unequal societies. However, the Kerner Commission’s powerful report had little impact. Its warning came as Republicans made a historic decision to embrace the Southern segregationists and create a new national coalition based on fear of social change. They won, and 1968 was a turning point.
President Richard Nixon was sworn in on a law-and-order platform, exploiting fear of Black violence, and quickly turned the Supreme Court around with four appointments. No Democratic president would name a justice for almost a quarter-century. The court that had helped spark the Southern civil rights revolution soon became the place where civil rights were interpreted away.
The War on Poverty and other policies in the 1960s to make education, health care, and housing accessible and affordable to lower income families and people of color were dismantled by conservatives. Efforts to expand desegregation from the South to the North and West became critically limited in 1974 by a changed Supreme Court. Reagan ended a proven program supporting successful interracial schools and asked the courts to end other desegregation plans.
A half-century ago, it was already obvious to civil rights groups and the courts that simply forbidding discrimination could not change deeply rooted social practices. A conscious plan to improve opportunities and measure the results was needed. In school desegregation court orders, this meant actually assigning both students and teachers to populate and sustain substantially integrated schools—a policy that produced decades of progress. Plans for military integration, carried out very seriously after severe racial problems in the Vietnam War, were among the most comprehensive and successful. Affirmative action practices improved opportunities for people of color in education and in business, and Title IX opened doors for women.
The conservative movement fostered a belief that social policy efforts to change race relations were unnecessary and unfair, and reinforced stereotypes blaming minority communities for their own problems. In the 1970s and 1980s, a huge wave of tax cutting at the state and federal levels greatly reduced money for social supports. Aid to colleges was slashed and costs transferred to students and their families.
The American myth is that there were severe racial problems before the 1960s but the great civil rights laws solved them. In truth, while there was historic progress in dismantling the official segregation of the South, profound racial separation and inequality continued in the great cities that were transformed by the Black exodus from the South and, later, by the even larger Latino migration. Both groups faced severe discrimination and segregation. Warnings from Martin Luther King before his assassination and from the authors of the Kerner report about the steps needed to create equal opportunities for urban Blacks were ignored. A large drop in the White birth rate and a huge non-White immigration changed society, even as the tools of civil rights reform were abandoned.
This blog is part of the series, Education and the Path to Equity, examining issues of education and equity. More from the series >
Over the past four decades, we have seen steady conservative pressure to dismantle civil rights in spite of evidence that those policies open doors to opportunity and help build bridges across racial difference. Opponents argue that race-conscious plans are unnecessary or illegal because systemic racial unfairness no longer exists and that the appropriate policy for fighting segregation is to put pressure on institutions and individuals of color to change. Since 1991, the federal courts have dismantled systemic integration policies. Nine states have prohibited affirmative action. Compensatory social and educational policies have also been cut. As inequality deepens because of these policies, the idea that we are a colorblind society in the time of Trump and Black Lives Matter is absurd.
Because there has not been a presidential commission, a major new Supreme Court decision, or a major law expanding racial integration in generations, there has been almost no coherent response to the radical transformation of the nation’s population. We have failed to address the educational needs of the changed society and great financial need among the nation’s young.
Now we have two very large and seriously excluded groups, most living in families too poor to pay for school lunches, in a society with a massive increase in economic inequality. Now we live with a level of incarceration among minorities that is hugely disproportionate and destructive. The ambitious housing, education, urban policy, and antipoverty efforts of the 1960s have been long since abandoned. We are now dealing with head-on attacks on what remains of civil rights policy under a president who rose to power on racial demagoguery.
 We are now, in key ways, in the worst situation for racial justice in more than a half-century.
We are now, in key ways, in the worst situation for racial justice in more than a half-century. Almost all the school integration progress of the past half-century has been lost, and the gaps in college access have actually increased. Our president has reinforced racial fears and stereotypes, and we see many state legislatures undermining voting rights, school integration, and college affirmative action. The Trump administration is gutting civil rights agencies and suspending policies intended to protect equality, including those addressing housing and education. The administration has fostered hatred of immigrants and devastated Latino communities and schools with deportation raids.
The cohesion of our society is at risk. Much was accomplished by the civil rights revolution and we have good evidence about policies that would advance equal opportunity. Much more explicit and sustained efforts are needed. Serious work in the 1960s created a powerful agenda for that time. We need a new agenda now for a much more complex society, more segregated and unequal in some critical ways, and a new vision of integration in a century where we will all soon be minorities and have to depend on each other.

Gary Orfield is a Distinguished Research Professor of Education, Law, Political Science and Urban Planning and Co-Director of The Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

Introducing 'Jovi La Justiciera'—The Most Novel Approach to Latinx Recruitment into the Teaching Profession

An important message from UNT Dallas College of Education Dean John Gasko, whose college is embarked on their grow-your-own superhighway for future bilingual educators into the teaching profession. 

Here is an earlier story from my blog on their wonderful efforts in Dallas, Texas titled, "How Texas can end its bilingual teacher shortage."  Read the story to learn  about how Dallas is one of our NLERAP sites that's brilliantly showing how we can go about meeting the demand for bilingual education teachers in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex.

So proud of the work that our colleagues are doing there to grown their own teachers and meet a serious demand for bilingual education teachers.

We need Jovi La Justiciera here in Austin, too!

-Angela Valenzuela


I am excited to share with you the final first edition of our teacher superhero comic, Jovi La Justiciera, which will officially launch this July at the Texas Latino Comic Convention. Jovanna (Jovi for short) is a Dreamer from Honduras who is a product of Dallas ISD schools, who attended UNT Dallas to become a teacher, and through our bilingual grow-your-own superhighway has returned back to South Dallas as a teacher of record by day with an alter ego, “Justice”. 

Jovi was inspired by research that reveals that Latino/as are now the largest consumers of anime, comics, and manga worldwide and I thought we would reach and stir the callings of future UNT Dallas bilingual teacher candidates by being provoked through the comic imagination. Jovi’s story is modeled on the stories we so often hear among many of the high school and community college students we interact with as well as our own students. 

Jovi’s comic style was created by Hector Rodriguez, who is a bilingual teacher in McKinney and owner of Rio Bravo Comics. She is comparable to Ms. Marvel, who is a Pakistani immigrant and, outside of Wonder Woman, is one of the few female superheroes in the Marvel Universe. 

We will have all editions as they come compiled in digital form and we will be printing out limited copies in the traditional comic form. Eventually we will have it translated into Spanish. 

Happy reading:


John W. Gasko, Ph.D.

Dean and Professor, School of Education
Founder, Emerging Teacher Institute

972.338.1654 (office)

Thursday, May 24, 2018

TODAY: Texas House Committee on Public Education Committee Hearing on Special Education and High-Stakes Testing

Here at House Committee on Public Education committee hearing at the Texas State Capitol on special education and high-stakes testing, signed up to testify on testing and test-based accountability in E2.028, the annex of the Texas State Capitol.

Mind-numbing, objectifying, standardized testing in the form of Betty Jenkins' and Blaine Helwig's test-focused drill and kill curriculum, THE NEW 3 RS, got a black eye this week at the AISD school board meeting on Monday night.

You may also view this remotely right now at this link.

You may view the May 21, 2018 AISD school board meeting hearing here.

Hopefully, some of this sentiment will get communicated by our community today.

Do come and join us if you get a chance!

Angela Valenzuela and Greg Pulte

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

America's Future Summit: Unlocking Potential, Advancing Prosperity


I attended this powerful summit by the Latino Aspen Institute last week in Chicago.  

A lot of important information and perspectives were shared.  I encourage you to take some time out to listen to the different presentations focused on such topics as Latina/o entrepreneurship, wealth creation, wealth gap, community empowerment, philanthropy, and policy.

Check out more pertinent links below from CEO Abigail Golden-Vasquez, Executive Director of the Latinos and Society Program at the Aspen Institute.  Thanks, as well, to Martin Cabrera CEO and Founder of Cabrera Capital Markets (CCM), for the invitation.  Thanks to Dr. Barbara Flores, too, who allowed me to accompany her on this amazing experience.


Angela Valenzuela

Dear Angela,

We want to thank you so very much for attending the America’s Future Summit: Unlocking Potential, Advancing Prosperity. We hope that the event offered a great opportunity for building networks and catalyzing potential collaborations. The conversations throughout the day aimed to deepen the national discourse on economic mobility, add nuance and richness to the discussion, and activate inspired leaders to expand opportunities for Latinos and all Americans.
The summit brought the Aspen Institute to Chicago for conversations on Latino economic advancement to some 200 participants of diverse sectors, ages, expertise and backgrounds, including yourself. With over 26 speakers in eight different sessions, the summit contributed to elevating a wide spectrum of voices on unlocking potential and advancing prosperity. The conversations in the room were taken online where #FutureofLatinos trended locally. We encourage you to share the full video of the summit here with your networks.
As we continue to focus on impact and outreach, we invite you to follow us on Twitter and visit our website for updates on our work. A white paper will be disseminated in the coming months with recommendations for expanding Latino economic mobility based on working group discussions.
Finally, if you haven’t done so already, please complete the survey for the event.
Thank you again for joining us. We hope to see you at another event soon!
Best Wishes,

The Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program