Charting a New Course: Understanding the Sociocultural, Political, Economic and Historical Context of Latino/a Education in the United States
Dear Blog Readers:
On behalf of NLERAP, an organization that I co-direct with Dr. Patricia Lopez, I am very proud of this special issue that just came out in the Association of Mexican American Educators (AMAE) Journal. Thank you to AMAE editors Patricia Sánchez, Oscar Jimenez-Castellanos,and Antonio Camacho. Special thanks the the special issue editors Sonia Nieto, Melissa Rivera, Sandra Quiñones Rosado, and Jason Irizarry and finally to all of the contributors. Thanks, as well, to Pedro Pedraza, for securing funding for from what is now this special issue from the Spencer Foundation.
WHO WE ARE AND WHAT WE ARE DOING
NLERAP has been in existence since 1999 and was previously directed by Pedro Pedraza and Melissa Rivera. Since 2009, NLERAP has been cultivating a national-level “grow-your-own,” Latino/a teacher pipeline—termed the Grow-Your-Own, Teacher Education Institutes (GYO-TEI) initiative with support from both the Ford and Kellogg Foundations. We are pleased to say that our first inaugural cohort of NLERAP pre-service teachers is currently attending Cal State University Sacramento.
This strategy represents a multi-year commitment on behalf of multiple partners (i.e., postsecondary institutions, community-based organizations, business, and public officials) that seeks to invigorate under-resourced schools and communities with an on-going, infusion of human, material, and intellectual resources in order to address the teacher preparation and retention crises in our states and nation, as well as the severe under-representation of Latino/a teachers (7.1% nationally).
NLERAP holds two premises at its core: first, a sociocultural and sociopolitical approach to learning is more effective than traditional approaches for historically marginalized youth in schools; second, research is more meaningful when it is defined through the experiences and knowledge of our community partners. NLERAP’s vision is to raise national voices for improving school, teacher and instructional quality for Latino/as in the U.S. via collaborative research, policy work that supports our programmatic goals, and systemic change in higher education via a research-based, NLERAP Curriculum that we are still developing that we hope will become a new default in the preparation of future teachers of Latino/a youth at the very least in the locales in which we are situated.
In addition, NLERAP is leading in the development of scalable, systemic education reform for all students by developing a national and regional infrastructure that supports and sustains the creation of a critical mass of culturally competent, social-justice-oriented, educators via our community-centered, grassroots partnership model with school districts and universities, involving the following entities across our nation:
· El Puente, involving students from the El Puente High School’s Project for Peace and Justice in partnership with Brooklyn College, New York;
· The Puerto Rican Community Center, involving students from Roberto Clemente High School, partnering with both the University of Illinois in Chicago and Northeastern Illinois University;
· Families in Schools in Los Angeles and the Sol Collective in Sacramento, California, involving students from McClatchy High School, partnering with California State University Sacramento;
· Council for the Spanish Speaking,Inc., involving students from South Division High School, partnering with the Milwaukee Area Technical College and the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee;
· League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), LULAC’s National Educational Service Centers, Inc. (LNESC), and the Hispanic Institute for Progress, Inc. (HIPI), as well as involving students from Sunset High School in Dallas, Texas, partnering with the University of North Texas, Dallas.
Through this consortium, with its national office housed at the Texas Center for Education Policy at the University of Texas at Austin, we are thus an organization with deep roots and a wide, national reach and we are already making a difference. Learn more about us at http://NLERAP.org
HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT US
We make it easy for you to support us. For future business trips or vacation travel, simply go to http://www.nleraptravel.com/ to make your hotel and travel reservations (instead of Travelocity.com, for example).
Patricia Lopez and I have used this website for both flight and hotel reservations and have honestly found truly excellent, competitive deals as a result. And we are happy to extend this benefit to you. Most importantly for us in NLERAP, a percent of every purchase goes to NLERAP, Inc., our national nonprofit, which is located in Dallas, Texas, to support our pipeline efforts.
We in NLERAP are a little army of good will and we hope to be a resource for all in the weeks, months, and years to come. Thank you for your interest and support!
Dr. Angela Valenzuela
Dr. Patricia Lopez