Sunday, July 20, 2014

Update on Mexican American Studies in Texas by Juan Tejeda 7.19.14

This piece by Juan Tejeda, should be read in tandem with the preceding post by Dr. Lydia French. Note, in particular, the link within to the Mexican-American studies high school curriculum that was developed by folks at the University of Texas Pan American.


Colleagues & Camaradas:

I would like to thank all of you who sent an e-mail, or called in, to the Texas State Board of Education (TXSBOE) within the last couple of days in support of Mexican American and other Ethnic Studies for Texas schools. The TXSBOE pulled a fast one and voted yesterday, 12-1 (Board member Ruben Cortez from the Valley was the only one to vote against this) to "postpone" Proclamation 2016, which called for the development of textbooks and instructional materials for Mexican American, Native, African, and Asian American Studies for high school students and courses in Texas. This is a minor setback. We were never completely relying on the Republican-dominated TXSBOE to integrate Mexican American and other Ethnic Studies into Texas schools, even though it would behoove them and the state to do so. Of course we will hold all of the TXSBOE elected representatives accountable and they will not be able to "postpone" the inevitable: that all of our children deserve a quality education that reflects them positively and accurately in the textbooks and in the curriculum. Chicana/o children, who comprise more than half of all students in Texas schools, have a basic human and civil right to be taught and learn about their own history, literature, language, arts and culture. This will help them succeed in school and in life.

By the way, Mexican American Studies is not just for Mexican Americans, it is for all students. Our students need to learn about all of the different ethnic groups in the U.S., as well as the different nations, cultures, languages, religions, etc., from throughout the world, if they are going to be truly educated and become responsible citizens of the new world economy and global community. Maybe then we will be able to create a more just society and move towards peace amongst individuals, as amongst nations.

Our work continues and their have been many victories in integrating Mexican American/Chicana/o Studies into schools in Texas and across the U.S. A coalition of educators from the Rio Grande Valley at U.T. Pan Am, U.T. Brownsville, South Texas College with Trinidad Gonzales, along with representatives from various high schools, have developed a curriculum for a high school course in Mexican American History (see and currently there are about 20 high schools across Texas that will be implementing a Mexican American History and/or a Humanities course this coming Fall, 2014. Educators and activists Tony Diaz in Houston, and Georgina Cecilia Perez in El Paso are working in the schools and their communities to integrate Mexican American Studies programs and courses.

The Puente Program has implemented Mexican American Studies at various colleges across Texas. Mexican American Studies, for the first time in Texas history, will be implemented into the Dual Credit Program for high school students this Fall, 2014 at Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas, and other colleges, and I will be teaching a Humanities 1311/Mexican American Fine Arts Appreciation course at McCollum and KIPP College Preparatory High Schools. Other high schools are already expressing interest for the Spring, 2015 semester. We will also be integrating Mex Am Studies into the Early College Program for high school students in Spring, 2015; and this past March we established a Center for Mexican American Studies at Palo Alto College, the first in the Alamo Colleges district. There are many other individuals and organizations who are working for a more diverse, inclusive, and multicultural education for our students, and many victories across the state and the nation which the Texas State Board of Education cannot "postpone." Pa'lante.

Juan Tejeda
Chair/National Association for Chicana & Chicano Studies Tejas Foco
Committee for Mexican American Studies Pre-K-12

Somos MAS/Mexican American Studies San Antonio, Tejas

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