Sunday, January 25, 2015

UA Professor of “whiteness” explains research that proves the success of Ethnic Studies in TUSD

The video is worth listening to.  Dr. Nolan Cabrera presents on the "Cabrera Report" that was recently used by the 9th Circuit to note the discrimination embedded in the (un)constitutionality of HB2281, the bill banning Ethnic Studies in Tucson USD.


 VIDEO: UA Professor of “whiteness” explains research that proves the success of Ethnic Studies in TUSD

Dr. Nolan Cabrera is a professor at the University of Arizona who studies “whiteness and white racism” in education. He is also the author of the famous “Cabrera Report” which applied advanced statistical methods to analyze the success of students who took Mexican American Studies in TUSD to see if there was any significant increase in standardized test scores compared to the other students.
We begin today’s introduction with what it means to study “whiteness” as a professor.
In a nutshell, according to Cabrera, he studies “the nature of white privilege, how it is maintained (especially within institutions of higher education), and how it can be challenged.”
For the more scholarly of our readers, Cabrera explains:
Whiteness was created to ideologically justify the elevated social position of people of European descent over all others. It maintained that whites were inherently superior beings and therefore entitled to these being at the top of the social hierarchy. Since then, whiteness has been challenged (civil rights movement) and re-articulated as the social norm by which people of all other racial groups are judged while still maintaining the unearned privileges of being white.
Dr. Cabrera was in San Francisco for the Ninth Circuit Federal Court hearing on the constitutionality of HB2281, the bill that banned Ethnic Studies in Tucson. He also attended the Ethnic Studies Now summit at Mission High School before the court hearing and described his study (video below) that proves the effectiveness of Mexican American Studies in closing the achievement gap for Chican@ students.

The study that Dr. Cabrera and his colleagues published was in the prestigious American Education Research Journal and was entitled “Missing the (Student Achievement) Forest for All the (Political) Trees: Empiricism and the Mexican American Studies Controversy in Tucson.
What is amazing is that not only did MAS students do far better than all other groups of students in TUSD, but there was actually a selection bias where the lowest performing students took these classes. These students did bad their freshman year and did even worse their sophomore year. Then after taking MAS classes they outshone their colleagues on standardized tests, even in math!
Furthermore, the more MAS classes the students took, the higher they scored!
Nolan Cabrera explains his study in the video above, and we include excerpts from the federal court trial that cite some of the statistics.
  1. MAS students were 108% more likely to graduate than non-MAS students.
  2. MAS students passed the standardized math test 140% more than non-MAS students.
  3. The writing test, 162%.
  4. The reading test, 168%.
Keep in mind that these students came in with a major academic disadvantage after their sophomore year and became scholars after taking an MAS course, even in their mathematics classes. Even John Huppenthal’s independent study found zero violations of the state law.
So why is Arizona trying to ban classes that finally work in closing the achievement gap for Mexican Americans, and why do they think these young scholars are so dangerous that attempts to ban the classes were put into homeland security bills before become state law?
Perhaps the educated mind of a minority youth in America is the great fear to those in power?

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