Sigh. The Texas SBOE never ceases to amaze.The book is produced by Momentum Instruction, a company that appears to be owned or operated by Cynthia Dunbar, a member of the Texas State Board of Education from 2007 to 2011. Dunbar, a right-wing Christian activist who questioned the constitutionality of public schools in 2008, labeled the education system “tyrannical” when she published her book, One Nation Under God, while serving on the board.
Dunbar is an anti-public school zealot who had earlier described public education as a "tool of Satan." You can't make this stuff up!
According to Roque Planas in a Huffington Post article on the same topic, indicates that Dunbar now works at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University as an administrator. He correctly asks by what magic is she now a multiculturalist? And what makes authors Jaime Riddle and Valarie Angle Texas historians may be similarly asked.
Texas boasts a large number of renowned Mexican American Texas historians like Emilio Zamora, Andres Tijerina, Frank de la Teja, Antonia Castañeda, Carlos Blanton, Miguel Levario, and others such that the Texas Education Agency need not accord Dunbar's textbook any regard when there's serious scholars that are already doing this work.
Heck, their bias is even evident on their book's front cover. As many beautiful images as there are of Mexica (or Aztec) danzantes, they could have done much better. The guy looks menacing, especially when considered in the context of this text that says that Mexican Americans—or more specifically, Chicanos—are people that “adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.” This statement alone shows that they can't even make it to first base with this text.
It's a subliminal warning to Anglos like Donald Trump whose politics incite irrational fears of a browning America, of an alleged reconquista. If you happen to think the cover is beautiful, no problem—as it is inescapably gratuitous regardless.
The Scoop Blog
A textbook proposed to help teach the cultural history of Mexican-Americans in Texas public schools is under scrutiny by scholars, some of whom decry the effort as racist and not a reflection of serious academic study.
The textbook, titled Mexican American Heritage, describes Mexican-Americans as people who “adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society.”
The book also links Mexican-Americans to immigrants in the country illegally, saying illegal immigration has “caused a number of economic and security problems” in the U.S. that include “poverty, drugs, crime, non-assimilation, and exploitation”
The State Board of Education voted to include textbooks on Mexican-American studies after activists last year demanded the subject be formally included in state curriculum. Mexican American Heritage is the first textbook on the subject included in a list of proposed instructional materials.
“Paradoxically, we pressed for the board to include texts on Mexican-American studies, and we achieved it, but not in the way we were expecting,” said Tony Diaz, host of the Nuestra Palabra (Our Word) radio program in Houston and director of Intercultural Initiatives at Lone Star College-North Harris. “Instead of a text that is respectful of the Mexican-American history, we have a book poorly written, racist, and prepared by non-experts.”
Texans have until September to submit comments on the proposed instructional materials, TEA spokeswoman DeEtta Culbertson said. She also said the proposed textbooks will undergo review by a committee that includes teachers and administrators and that committee will make recommendations to the board.
Ultimately, books adopted by the elected members of the Texas State Board of Education in November become part of the recommended instructional materials for statewide curriculums, but school districts aren’t required to embrace them. Individual districts can use their state money to buy whatever textbooks they wish.
The book “is not a text that we have recommended nor we will be recommending,” said Douglas Torres-Edwards, coordinator of a TEA-approved Mexican-American studies course that has been implemented in some Houston Independent School District schools. “Frankly, that author is not recognized as someone who is part of the Mexican-American studies scholarship, and most individuals engaged in scholarship will not recognize her as an author.”
The book is produced by Momentum Instruction, a company that appears to be owned or operated by Cynthia Dunbar, a member of the Texas State Board of Education from 2007 to 2011. Dunbar, a right-wing Christian activist who questioned the constitutionality of public schools in 2008, labeled the education system “tyrannical” when she published her book, One Nation Under God, while serving on the board.
Neither Dunbar nor any of the book’s other authors could be reached for comment. A phone message and email to Momentum Instruction were not returned.
The Texas Board of Education’s members sanction textbooks for use statewide in a process that has for years been marred by ideological fights over lessons on subjects including evolution, climate change and the influence of biblical figures such as Moses on America’s Founding Fathers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.