Sunday, September 06, 2015

Texas: Whitewashed Textbooks Headed to Classrooms

Texas: Whitewashed Textbooks Headed to Classrooms  Quote from within:
"This fall, five million Texas public school students will begin
using new social studies textbooks. The content of these textbooks is
based on new state academic standards, adopted in 2010 to correct what
the Texas State Board of Education, a 15-member elected panel dominated
by Republicans, calls a liberal slant. According to a July 5, 2015
report in the Washington Post, these textbooks barely address racial
segregation—nor do they mention Jim Crow laws throughout American
history, or the existence of the Ku Klux Klan."
This reflects precisely why Texas State Board Elections matter. There of course has been a
lot of significant protest over the years but it all comes down in so
many ways to who who wants to run for these offices and ultimately, who
got voted in.  SBOE elections tend to happen on off cycles, guaranteeing
very low voter turnouts and so it's frequently a motivated right-wing
community concerned about its perceived loss of centrality that ends up calling
the shots on textbook content not only for Texas, but the nation. 
Overall, as a state, Texas controls at least 10 percent of the textbook
market nationwide which makes what we do (or do not do) here exceedingly
important and meaningful.

In response to these very difficult structures associated with elections, right-wing politics, and
governance, SBOE continues to be nevertheless an important ongoing and continuing site of activism.  Even if folks don't always get the news on this, believe me, it's always a contentious and acrimonious struggle.  Just as importantly, an impressive, organic Mexican American Studies curriculum movement has emerged statewide.  Check out Tony Diaz' Librotraficante website for more information on this where you will also note an important connection to struggles surrounding curriculum in Arizona.

The next statewide meeting on Mexican American Studies takes place at the Texas Association for Bilingual Education (TABE) Conference in El Paso, Texas October 14th-17th at the El Paso
Convention Center.  

In response to these historic forces of exclusion, we don't as a community have the luxury of waiting until the SBOE gets it right.  Rather, we must develop parallel institutions such as what we are doing here in Austin via Academia Cuauhtli (Eagle Academy) through a partnership effort with the Austin Independent School District, the City of Austin's Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, and our community-based organization called "Nuestro Gruupo."

Academia Cuauhtli is a language and culture  revitalization project located at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC) at 600 River St. in Austin, Texas.
Fourth-grade students from three nearby east Austin elementary schools—Metz, Sanchez, and Zavala—are taught a Mexican American and Tejano history curriculum exclusively in Spanish every Saturday beginning this year in October, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. 

 We co-construct curricula in the areas of civil rights, local history, immigration/migration, cultural arts, and indigenous heritage, including danza Mexica.

Check out this fantastic story on us in the Austin American-Statesman by Anjanette Gautier titled, "Program will teach Hispanic Students  about their Roots"  Here are all the pertinent links:

Facebook page: 
AISD Website:

We work with professional curriculum writers at AISD in order to co-construct this curriculum with  teachers from the district’s dual language program getting prepared to teach the curriculum in the context of professional development workshops that we also organize. 

While it is not enough, it is something—and it is very nurturing and fulfilling for our community and it presents an alternative.  Moreover, it does involve a modicum of systemic change here locally in that the curriculum is now available to all AISD teachers in the
third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eleventh grades.  So there is hope.  Ours is a sophisticated community politically here in Texas and we have a long history of making a way out of no way.  Last but not least, to bring enlightenment to our community brings enlightenment to all.

Happy Sunday everybody!


#academiacuauhtli #Texas #TxEd #Latino #LatEdPolicy

1 comment:

  1. This makes me absolutely sick being a Texas parent. My kids won't learn accurate history because some jerk doesn't like facts? Thank you for your post. Hopefully it goes viral.