Friday, July 22, 2016

7th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium at UT-Austin Aug. 4-5, 2016

7th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

Logo for 7th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium

Happening next week.  Among the issues to get addressed are the Fisher decision and campus carry.  Jacob Fraire, President and CEO of the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC) is delivering a keynote.


August 4, 2016 - August 5, 2016


The University of Texas at Austin

Contact Info

Location: The Student Activity Center at The University of Texas at Austin
Theme: Addressing Inequity through Policy and Praxis

Featured Speaker: Jacob Fraire, President and CEO of the Texas Association of Community Colleges (TACC)

Registration: Register for the symposium here.

Final Program: Download the full program here.


The 7th Annual Texas Higher Education Symposium will take place August 4-5, 2016, at the University of Texas at Austin. The symposium, sponsored by seven Texas universities (UT-Austin, UTSA, TTU, UNT, SMU, Baylor, and UH), brings together higher education researchers, practitioners, grant funders, and policy-makers to discuss innovative research, policy, and practice focused on this year's theme, "Addressing Inequity through Policy and Praxis." Symposium participants will engage in collaborative roundtables, concurrent sessions disseminating research and practice, as well as panel discussions on campus carry, the Fisher case, and Texas educational policy and research. The symposium is a multi-institutional effort designed to address educational inequity from the perspective of high-quality research to inform practice and policy, nurture the next generation of scholars focused on Texas higher education, and create a space of creative collaboration among higher education stakeholders. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

TIME TO ACT: PAA to Congress Ed Leaders: stop harmful ESSA regulations

PAA to Congress Ed Leaders: stop harmful ESSA regulations:Stop harmful ESSA regulations

Parents Across America sent the following message to US House and Senate education committee members:

Parents concerned that proposed new ESSA regulations push failed NCLB practices, try to retake top-down control
US Department of Education has published draft regulations for
implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. Parents Across
America has review
these draft rules and we are very concerned that the administration is
trying to use them to reestablish policies and practices from NCLB?
ESEA that were rejected by Congress and much of the general public.
For example, the draft regulations:

  • over-emphasize standardized test scores in school accountability ratings,

  • require states to label schools in harmful and unnecessary ways,

  • continue to promote school privatization and closure over more effective improvement strategies, and

  • require states to punish schools where large numbers of parents opt their children out of testing.
the USDOE makes decisions that should be set at the state and local
level in partnership with local educators, parents, and students, it
takes away local voices that ESSA
properly restored. Reducing federal micro-management of public education was a main goal of rewriting NCLB. We will submit comments reflecting this concern via the federal register.

What can you do?
Stand with us parents, along with educators, students and communities who want our schools back. Speak out against those aspects of the draft regulations that violate the intent of the ESSA reauthorization. Help us assure that ESSA is implemented in ways that:

  • focus less on standardized testing,

  • put no restrictions on families or students who opt out of or refuse high stakes standardized tests, and require no consequences for their schools or districts,

  • encourage more
    creativity and community-centered school improvement practices rather
    than continue to push NCLB/ESEA’s ineffective privatization
    and closure strategies, and

  • more strongly advocate for a robust parent role in school, district, and statewide education policy-making.

    Download their organizing toolkit at:

Racist Textbook deemed 'Willfully irresponsible, culturally chauvinist and discriminatory."

We know that curriculum is the reproduction of consciousness and so I am very pleased about the great presentations delivered today on the racist textbook currently under consideration by the Texas SBOE. 
See earlier post in order to listen to the different presentations.
And here are a set of news clippings that came out of today's press conference. The textbook may be viewed here.
  Angela Valenzuela

Magazine/News Media
The Scholarly Reviews are in on that ‘Deeply Offensive’ Mex-Am Studies Text: And they are not good: 'Willfully irresponsible, culturally chauvinist and discriminatory."

Will Weissert, Associated Press  Textbook Reignites Mexican-American Studies Flap in Texas

Isabelle Taft, Texas Tribune, Scholars and Activists Lambast Proposed Mexican-American Studies Textbook

Joe Heim, Washington Post, Proposed Texas textbook describes Mexican-Americans as 'lazy,' new coalition works to block it

Andrea Zelinski,, Coalition, professors demand state board dump Hispanic American textbook
Molly Evans, KERA News, Activists, Scholars Tear Into Mexican-American Studies Text Riddled With Error, Offenses
Casey Quinlan, Thing Progress, Proposed Textbook Is Laden With Ugly Stereotypes About Mexican Americans

Monday, July 18, 2016

Video from July 18, 2016 TEA Press Conference on Racist Mexican-American textbook under review by the Texas State Board of Education

Boasting an excellent set of studied presentations, this press conference video was recorded today on July 18, 2016 at the Texas Education agency in Austin, Texas.  

In order of presentation by highly-regarded Mexican American Studies scholars, they collectively amount to a solid protest primarily against the controversial Mexican-American textbook authored by Jaime Riddle and Valarie Angle titled, "Mexican American Heritage," that is currently getting considered for adoption by Texas' State Board of Education (SBOE). 

The SBOE will take up the matter at their September 13, 2016 meeting (which continues through Friday, September, 2016), with a final vote on the textbook taking place at their November 15, 2016 meeting—both in Austin, Texas, William B. Travis Building, 1701 North Congress, Austin, TX.  


Today's press conference takes place on the heels of the June 16, 2016 Mexican American Studies Summit that took place in San Antonio, as well as on 4 years of organizing by the NACCS-Tejas Foco statewide organization that is a regional member site of its national parent organization by the same name (i.e., National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies).  

The San Antonio summit addressed the textbook and other matters pertinent to Mexican American and ethnic studies, generally.  What follows are scholar's expressed critique of the textbook:

 Dr. Emilio Zamora-UT-Austin
Dr. Liliana Patricia Saldaña-UTSA

Dr. José María "Chema" Herrera-Cotera-UTEPKathy Miller, Director of the Texas Freedom Network, along with others that made comments like Dr. Emilio Zamora, Juan Tejeda, and Anita Quintanilla who caps off the whole press conference by saying that Texas and the Southwestern United States is our "Motherland" and that we (Mexicans/Mexican Americans) are not illegal.

Please consider signing a petition on behalf of our Responsible Ethnic Studies Textbook Coalition (or "REST Coalition") at  Additional information is available at  I intend to also keep covering this on my blog.

Angela Valenzuela

Friday, July 15, 2016

ANNOUNCEMENT: PRESS CONFERENCE — Texas Latinos Mobilize Against Controversial Mexican-American Textbook

A lot of work has gone into this in our state.  To this end, there will be a press conference at 11:00AM on Monday, July 18, 2016, in support of ethnic studies at the Texas Education Agency located at 1701 Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas.  UT History Professor Dr. Emilio Zamora—representing the ad hoc committee of the Rio Grande Valley reviewing the proposed textbook—will be among the presenters, along with Celina Moreno from MALDEF, President/Executive Director Kathy Miller of the Texas Freedom Network, and others.  Please join us on Monday with your support.

Angela Valenzuela

NBC News

Texas Latinos Mobilize Against Controversial Mexican-American Textbook

A textbook on Mexican-American history that some scholars and activists say is poorly written and contains "racist" passages is on a list of proposed books for use in Texas public schools.
The book, called "Mexican American Heritage" is on the list of proposed textbooks that the Texas State Board of Education is considering to use as part of instructional materials for the newly created Mexican-American studies class.

If approved, the book would be used in classrooms as early as next year, something critics are trying to prevent from happening.

They say the book is filled with inaccurate depictions of Mexican-American history and culture. They also point out that the book was written by two authors, Jaime Riddle and Valarie Angle, who aren't known in the field of Mexican-American studies.

"It is one of the most racist textbooks I've ever had the displeasure of reading," said Tony Díaz, a Houston-based educator, community activist and author who spearheaded the Librotraficante movement, which transported books to Arizona that had been banned by the Tucson school district.
RELATED: 'Nuestra Palabra' Celebrates 18 Years Showcasing Latino Literature
Díaz was one of the educators who pressed the state board to create a Mexican-American studies class last year.

"The people who wrote it obviously have no understanding of the difference between the term Chicano, Latino, Hispanic so that any time the word is uttered in the book, it's used incorrectly," Diaz said of the proposed textbook. "There's no way to edit it to fix it. The book needs to go."
Díaz is one of the organizers of a community meeting on Tuesday night to step up the opposition to using the book.

One passage of the book links Mexican Americans to undocumented immigrants and claims that illegal immigration has "caused a number of economic and security problems in the United States," including "poverty, non-assimilation, drugs, crime, and exploitation."

In another passage, Chicanos in the 1960's civil rights era are described as people who "adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society."

The "Mexican American Heritage" textbook was published by Momentum Instruction, a company that according to Houston Chronicle appears to be owned and operated by Cynthia Dunbar, former member of the Texas State Board of Education who critics call right-wing.

Momentum Instruction did not immediately return a call or respond to an email from NBC News Latino.

Lauren Callahan, spokesperson for the Texas State Board of Education, said the book will be reviewed by a panel of educators over the summer. The panel will determine the extent to which the book meets state standards and will look for factual errors.

In September, the state board will hold a public hearing to go over the panel's findings and to hear comments from the public. The public also has until September to visit the state board's website and submit factual errors or comments regarding the book.

A final vote by the state board on whether to approve or reject the book will come in November.
"It is a long process, and it's a long process for that reason - so that people have ample time to go through and review the materials," Callahan said.

She added that even if the book is approved, school districts are not required to use it and may purchase other instructional materials for use in the Mexican American Studies class.

Diaz said he and other scholars and activists are teaming up to hold community meetings across the state to educate people about what's in the book and what they can do to prevent it from going into Texas classrooms. The first in the series of community meetings was scheduled for Tuesday night.

There's also an online petition calling on the state board to remove the "Mexican American Heritage" from the list of proposed textbooks and to reopen the call for textbooks used for Mexican American studies.

Diaz said Tuesday night's community meeting is one of the first steps to getting the public "deeply involved" before the state board votes on whether or not to approve the textbook.

"We have about 20 weeks before the vote, so we're going to start now and keep constant pressure," he said.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Full Transcript of President Obama's Speech at Dallas Police Memorial

In case you didn't get a chance to hear President Obama's speech yesterday, I am happy to share a link to it, as well as a written transcript.  He expresses a modicum of doubt that we can move beyond where we are in our country with the level of violence and seeming intransigence to where we are from a policy perspective with respect to the violence and racial hatred that we are seeing and experiencing right now as a nation.  He asks whether the fault lines of our democracy have been widened at the same time that he asks the following:

Faced with this violence, we wonder if the divides of race in America can ever be bridged. We wonder if an African-American community that feels unfairly targeted by police, and police departments that feel unfairly maligned for doing their jobs, can ever understand each other’s experience. We turn on the TV or surf the Internet, and we can watch positions harden and lines drawn, and people retreat to their respective corners, and politicians calculate how to grab attention or avoid the fallout. We see all this, and it’s hard not to think sometimes that the center won't hold and that things might get worse.

He concludes and I agree that we are not as divided as we seem.  Yes, he offers, there is a lot to overcome, but the good, perseverance and hope that pervades us—despite the darkness that threatens to envelope—is a testament to the power of the goodness and good will that we should never lose sight of.  Way to go, President Obama!  Exactly the words that we all needed to hear.

Angela Valenzuela

Full Transcript of President Obama's Speech at Dallas Police Memorial

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Temple ISD's Battershell proposes state test changes

Temple ISD's Battershell proposes state test changes: Temple Independent School District Superintendent Robin Battershell wrote a letter to the Texas Education Agency’s Commissioner of Education, Mike Morath, on July 1 proposing solutions to current issues surrounding state assessments in schools.