Monday, September 20, 2021

Latino Children Represent Over a Quarter of the Child Population Nationwide and Make Up at Least 40 Percent in 5 Southwestern States

Happy Hispanic Heritage Month, everybody! A way to think about this is if we can get education right for this demographic, we can get it right for our nation. We are nowhere near at a loss for knowing what must be done. Quite the opposite. 

We have decades of research on "what works" for Latino/a/x children and other children of color. This issue is not evidence, but politics. Our communities must redouble their efforts to advocate for quality bilingual and dual language programs, adequate school funding, Ethnic Studies, culturally relevant and sustaining curricula, teachers that are prepared to teach this demographic, tutorial supports, community schools, parent engagement initiatives, university-district partnerships, grow your own educator programs, eliminating high-stakes testing and implementing authentic forms of assessment that promote deep learning, and so on. Higher education is also part and parcel to this narrative. We totally know what must be done.

If you're in Texas, let's also protect Trans Kids of all races and ethnicities. Equality Texas has been doing the heavy lift on this and more need to be involved. It's shocking to learn that the Texas State Legislature currently has at least 70 anti-transgender bills—and growing!  We need to oppose these anti-children and anti-family bills. Our kids are already traumatized by all this venomous hatred and distortion. Here's how to get involved at the Texas State Capitol:

Here is an excellent state-by-state breakdown provided by Child Trends of the Latina/o/x student population.

-Angela Valenzuela


Latino Children Represent Over a Quarter of the Child Population Nationwide and Make Up at Least 40 Percent in 5 Southwestern States

by Yiyu Chen & Lina Guzman | Child Trends

Latinoa children (ages 18 and under) numbered 18.6 million in 2019, making up 26 percent of the nation’s total child population. While Latino children disproportionately reside in the Southwest, they comprise a sizeable share of the child population in all 50 states—and at least 25 percent of the child population in 12 states.

The percentage of states’ total child population that is Latino ranges from 2 percent in Vermont to 61 percent in New Mexico. Latino children account for roughly half of the state’s total child population in 3 states in the Southwest—New Mexico, California, and Texas—and exceed 40 percent of the child population in 2 other Southwestern states—Nevada and Arizona. Outside the Southwest, Latino children now account for 25 percent to nearly 40 percent of the child population in 7 states (Florida, Colorado, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Illinois), 10 percent to nearly 25 percent in 22 states (Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, Kansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Utah, Nebraska, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Delaware, Maryland, Georgia, Wyoming, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, Tennessee, Alaska) and the District of Columbia, and less than 10 percent in 16 states (South Carolina, Minnesota, Michigan, Alabama, Louisiana, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, Kentucky, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Mississippi, Maine, West Virginia, Vermont).b

In terms of total population of Latino children by state, California, Texas, Florida, and New York each have more than 1 million young Latino residents—4.6 million in California, 3.7 million in Texas, 1.4 million in Florida, and just over 1 million in New York. Arizona, Illinois, and New Jersey (in order of population) have the next-highest Latino child populations, ranging from roughly 500,000 to 750,000. Around 200,000 to 400,000 Latino children live in Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Nevada, Virginia, Massachusetts, and Maryland (also ordered by population). Latino children also have a substantial and growing presence in several Midwestern states: Roughly 180,000 Latino children live in Michigan and Indiana, and just over 160,000 Latino children live in Ohio.


a We use “Hispanic” and “Latino” interchangeably. Consistent with the U.S. Census definition, this includes individuals who have origins in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, as well as other “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish” origins.

b All lists of states in this paragraph are ordered by percentage of the state’s child population that is Hispanic.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Gov. Greg Abbott signs tougher anti-critical race theory law, but we still have the U.S. Constitution

Signed by a governor and a legislature that doesn't have a clue about Critical Race Theory. It's worth reading the actual bill, Senate Bill 3. It makes the presumption that teachers are teaching in a harmful way toward white children when they are not. The underlying issue here is Texas legislators not wanting to Texas school children to know the ugly truths about history, including those "details" like slavery, conquest, and colonization. Based on my own experience as an expert witness in the Arce v. Douglas trial out of the Tucson Unified School District where the Mexican American Studies program was dismantled, I am confident that this law is in violation of both the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Accordingly, I encourage all to read this Amicus Brief filed by the American Association of University Professors to Texas' Attorney General Ken Paxton in response to a query he received from Texas State Representative James White regarding the constitutionality of "the teaching of ideas about race, including critical race theory (“CRT”)." The response by AAUP attorneys if pointed and powerful, expressing the following:

"The AAUP strongly opposes political efforts to ban ideas from the classroom. Whether they take the form of overt legislative attacks on academic freedom or, as in the case of Representative White’s Request, insidious attempts to distort the Constitution from a charter of freedom into a license for politically motivated censorship, the unmistakable aim of such efforts is to impose thought control on American education and thereby on the American people. That aim stands in irreconcilable conflict with the principles of free inquiry, free thought, and free expression which the AAUP has championed for more than a century. The AAUP particularly opposes recent efforts—of which the Request at issue here is a part—to ban discussions of racism and its impact on American history and society. Education plays a vital role in cultivating and preserving a free, just, and prosperous society. America’s schools are “the nurseries of democracy.” Mahanoy Area Sch. Dist. v. B.L., 141 S. Ct. 2038, 2046 (2021)." 

"Thought control," they cogently state. After all, that's what censorship is. Thought control. You can read the rest for yourselves.

Even if the republicans in power do not respect the Constitution, we still have one. 

We've seen right-wing extremist movements like these before. It will be a protracted struggle as all of this still has to play out. I am confident that it is abundantly winnable because right-wing extremists also benefit from the same constitutional guarantees as those of us on the left or center.

In the mean time, it is incumbent on our teachers to #TeachTheTruth and for their school leaders, as well our administrator and teacher organizations, school boards, and civil rights organizations to back them up. 

If you are a faculty member involved in the preparation of teachers or school leaders— and you do so from a CRT lens—please consider signing this declaration authored by UT Curriculum and Instruction professor, Dr. Noah DeLissovoy, and myself. We already have over 175 signatures from faculty of all ranks from many Texas universities.

All of our organizations need to be devising such declarations or petitions, as well as resolutions. Moreover, the political and legal aspects of this battle need to work hand in hand. And while we're at it, let's do everything possible to get our youth and communities registered to vote so that we can get this extremist government out of power.

-Angela Valenzuela


Gov. Greg Abbott signs tougher anti-critical race theory law

After months of bitter debate on critical race theory, Abbott signed off on a bill that bans the concept on race and slavery from Texas classrooms.

Community members in support of equity conversations in schools hold signs on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, during the Fort Worth ISD board meeting in Fort Worth. After months of back-and-forth on critical race theory, Gov. Greg Abbott signed off on a bill that bans the concept from Texas classrooms on race and slavery.(Juan Figueroa / Staff Photographer)


5:08 PM on Sep 17, 2021

Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that aims to further ban critical race theory from Texas classrooms, even after educators and advocacy groups fought against the move for months.

The new law, signed Friday without fanfare, prohibits teaching certain concepts about race; develops a civics training program for teachers; and largely bars schools from giving credit to students for advocacy work. It also urges educators to teach only that slavery and racism are “deviations” from the founding principles of the United States.

It aims to strengthen Texas’ law passed in May that seeks to eliminate critical race theory from schools. The new law goes into effect Dec. 2.

The theory is an academic framework that probes the way policies and laws uphold systemic racism. Texas teachers and education leaders across the state have insisted repeatedly that critical race theory is not part of K-12 curriculums.

But Republican leaders have said Texas needs to ensure critical race theory rhetoric stays out of public schools.

“I think critical race theory and the belief in critical race theory is creating racial disharmony in the United States,” Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, said last month. Toth was among the lawmakers pushing to address the issue.

Advocates worry attempts to curb critical race theory will hinder schools’ efforts to address inequities in classrooms and teachers’ abilities to discuss current events and social issues.

During this summer’s debates on the bill, Rep. Ron Reynolds, D-Missouri City, said the bill is blatantly attempting to censor teachers and “whitewash our history.”

Many worry about the law’s vague language.

Rep. Vikki Goodwin, D-Austin, said in August that teachers should have the latitude to be able to nurture and engage with students’ interests in what’s happening outside of school.

“Helping students make connections between what they read in books and what they see in the public square is something that we should celebrate in our educational system,” she said, “not something that we should discourage.”

The DMN Education Lab deepens the coverage and conversation about urgent education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, Communities Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, The Meadows Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, Southern Methodist University and Todd A. Williams Family Foundation. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of the Education Lab’s journalism.

Western Imperialism, Globalization and The real reason why critical race theory is under attack

Thoughtful piece by University of Milwaukee Wisconsin Associate Professor Dr. Javier Tapia who places the current attack on CRT against the backdrop of globalization that tracks back to Western imperialism. Great for the college classroom, he references the following pertinent readings:

Dr. Tapia is correct in saying that the facts of history about which he writes are scarcely taught in K-12 schooling anywhere and not even fully throughout the academy. Instead, he suggests, this extremism exists because of an enduring "mindset" made for another time but with a long reach into the present.

While this is manifestly true, what should not get lost his how this mindset finds expression in fascist logics of imminent concern as well expressed in this recent piece by Paul W. Kahn titled, Opinion: Texas bounty hunters, or a private army?

-Angela Valenzuela

OPINION: The real reason why critical race theory is under attack

Five states (Idaho, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa and Tennessee) have passed laws against the teaching of critical race theory while similar bills have been introduced in 19 other states, including Wisconsin.

A common element in these bills is that public schools should not present the foundation of this country in a negative light nor discuss how the white/Caucasian (white from now on) population has benefited at the expense of racial/ethnic minority populations. Critics further argue that critical race theory is divisive.

Critical race theory can be defined as an intellectual framework used in academia to explore and analyze racial inequality in society. A key element of the theory is that society’s legal, economic and educational institutions operate (often in subtle ways) to marginalize racial and ethnic minority populations. As such, this process of marginalization tends to benefit the white population, primarily the wealthy class. Along with critical theory and multicultural education, critical race theory promote equity in society.

We can trace critical race theory to the ‘70s when a number of scholars like Derrick Bell, Richard Delgado and Kimberlé Crenshaw pointed out that the legal system has played a key role in maintaining racial inequality in society in a systemic and pervasive way. Thus, the negative effects of systemic racism is not confined to the legal system, but it is also present in unequal access to jobs, housing and health care as broadly discussed by Diana Kendall in her book “Social Problems in a Diverse Society.” The effects of systemic racism became very visible when the African American and Latino communities were greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was crucial in its attempt to end discrimination, current events (as discussed below) indicate that we still have work to do. When we take a closer look at the criticisms against critical race theory (and multicultural education) we find them lacking in substance and critical analyses.

In order to understand the current context for this debate, we need to go back to the rise of the European powers in the 15th century. Immanuel Wallerstein’s “The Modern World-System” and Eric Wolf’s “Europe and the People without History” illustrate how the British, French, Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese empires exploited human and natural resources in Asia, Africa and the Americas for their enrichment. A common element in these colonization practices was the idea that European values and practices were better, and this justified their exploitation in those areas of the world.

A similar mindset was present in the first white-European settlers who arrived into what today is the United States. The white population generated their economic growth by taking land away from Native Americans (and sending them to reservations), importing Black slaves from Africa and by taking land from Mexico. The actions of the white population were guided by the idea of manifest destiny present in the 19th century. According to this belief, God gave white Europeans the right to expand from the Atlantic to the Pacific and all across North America. This view “justified” the dispossession of Native Americans, the U.S. invasion of Mexico and the expansion of slavery territories.

The critics of critical race theory and their efforts to ban its teaching through state legislatures make it seem as if it is rampart in K-12 schools. This is false! A more accurate discussion on European imperialism and U.S. history are present only in certain courses at the university level and a few courses that incorporate aspects of multicultural education at the high school level.

In my view, the efforts to ban critical race theory reflect changing demographics and the struggle for political control of the country. Reports from the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that whites will become a minority by the year 2045. We see a clear pattern of white population decline and an increase in the number of racial/ethnic minorities. In the year 2000, whites represented 75% of the total population followed by Hispanics (12.5%), African Americans (12.3%) and Asian (3.6%). In 2020, we have Whites (60%), Hispanics (18.5%), African Americans (13.4%) and Asian (5.9%). Projections for 2060 are White (44.3%), Hispanics (27.5%), African Americans (15%) and Asians (9.1%). Of great importance is the fact that the white population is aging, and racial/ethnic minorities will become the engines of economic growth.

Critics of critical race theory cherry-pick information to argue that racism is no longer an issue and often point out that Asian Americans have a higher level of educational attainment than whites. This view ignores the different ways in which the various racial/ethnic groups have been incorporated into the U.S. and how they are viewed by white society. Thus, we have Vietnamese people incorporated as U.S. allies during the Vietnam War. Globalization has led to the expansion of middle class people in China and India, and many have migrated to the U.S. with a college degree. Nevertheless, the political climate in the last four years indicate the prevalence of racism and prejudice toward all non-white people. Thus, we have seen the murder of George Floyd, efforts to stop the Black Lives Matter movement, attacks toward Mexico, Mexicans, Muslims and also toward Asian Americans, who have been blamed (without basis) as being responsible for COVID-19.

Edward Luce’s “The Retreat of Western Liberalism” and Ian Bremmer’s  “Us vs Them” illustrate the factors leading to economic stagnation for a segment of the white population (primarily blue collar without a college degree). Resentment in this population led to the rise of populism and paved the way to victory for former President Donald Trump. In this context, it is easy to blame racial/ethnic minority people for the problems of the country. For many people, MAGA represented Making America Great by making it white. At the end, attacks against critical race theory and multicultural education are efforts by a sector of the white population to maintain control of the schools and society. This is un-American! Critical race theory and multiculturalism promote “Liberty and Justice for All.”

Dr. Javier Tapia is an associate professor of educational studies and community studies at UW-Milwaukee with a specialty in public anthropology, Latino affairs and global educational studies.

Texas Lt. Guv Spews Racist ‘Great Replacement’ Theory on Fox: ‘A Revolution Has Begun’

This is who we have as our Lt. Governor. An unabashed white, tiki-torch ethnonationalist. Not only is this a reckless and flagrant rallying cry to provoke fear of "the other," but it is also a "dog whistle" or bull horn to fascist militias and organizing. This piece should be read closely in tandem with this one by Paul W. Kahn titled, "Texas bounty hunters, or a private army?" 

This is not at all the Wild West, but rather a tactic of failed states.

-Angela Valenzuela


Texas Lt. Guv Spews Racist ‘Great Replacement’ Theory on Fox: ‘A Revolution Has Begun’


“So this is trying to take over our country without firing a shot. That is what is happening,” Patrick dramatically warned Fox viewers on Thursday night.

Republican Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick unabashedly hyped the white supremacist “Great Replacement” theory on Thursday night, ominously warning Fox News viewers that Democrats are using immigrants to “take over our country without firing a shot.”

Appearing on Fox News’ The Ingraham Angle, Patrick discussed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s emergency order shutting down six points of entry along the southern border amid a renewed surge in migrants. In the border community of Del Rio, U.S. Border Patrol says there are more than 9,000 migrants crowded into a temporary staging area, with thousands more expected to cross the border soon.

It didn’t take long for the lieutenant governor to liken the massive wave of migrants to an invasion of the country and the destruction of the GOP.

“Let me tell you something, Laura, and everyone watching: The revolution has begun,” Patrick told Fox News host Laura Ingraham. “A silent revolution by the Democrat Party and [President] Joe Biden to take over the country.”

Calling on “every red state” to invoke Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution—which guarantees the nation “shall protect” each state from being invaded—Patrick said that an invasion is defined as “an unauthorized, uninvited, unwelcome incursion” into a territory.

“This is not authorized by the state of Texas, it is not welcomed by the state of Texas or any other Republican state I know, and they are not invited,” he fumed. “Every red state should invoke this clause because every red state is being impacted and the blue states reportedly don’t care.”

At that point, Patrick then went full “Great Replacement” theory, which has been described as a “white supremacist tenet that the white race is in danger by a rising tide of non-white” and a belief that liberals are replacing white voters with Black and brown immigrants.

“When I say a revolution has begun, they are allowing this year probably 2 million—that is who we apprehended, maybe another million—into this country,” Patrick dramatically exclaimed. “At least in 18 years, even if they all don’t become citizens before then and can vote, in 18 years every one of them has two or three children, you’re talking about millions and millions and millions of new voters, and they will thank the Democrats and Biden for bringing them here.”

He added: “Who do you think they are going to vote for? So this is trying to take over our country without firing a shot. That is what is happening.”

Patrick concluded the interview by saying “this is denying us our government that’s run by our citizens with illegals who are here, who are gonna take our education, our healthcare.”

The conservative Texan is essentially echoing the same extreme rhetoric—which has been the inspiration behind several racist mass shootings—that’s become increasingly common on Fox News and within the Republican Party.

Fox News star Tucker Carlson, for one, has repeatedly advanced the replacement theory, prompting the Anti-Defamation League to call for his firing this past spring. The network, however, waved off the ADL’s complaint and stood fully behind its host.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Texas NAACP, students file federal civil rights complaint over UT-Austin’s ‘Eyes of Texas’

I have covered this issue of the Eyes of Texas song on this blog. I may have missed some earlier news because it really caught me by surprise to read herein that the University of Texas at Austin decided to create a a separate marching band for students who do not want to play “The Eyes of Texas” song. This unmistakably smacks of Plessy v. Ferguson all over again. 

Since we know that Plessy's separate but equal doctrine was unethical, unjust, and humiliating policy, how could anyone fathom this proposed remedy as a solution? In fact, it deepens the wound.

If it helps, I shared Dr. Alberto Martinez's in-depth analysis of "100 Problems in the Eyes of Texas" with my students this semester and they were shocked to learn about the history of this song. No one in my class of 23 students this semester said they felt strongly about the song after learning about it. They even said that they were deeply offended by it.  One student even said that he approached his reading of the analysis in full support of the song, but was convinced after reading Dr. Martinez' analysis that it has to go. 

I have had conversations in my class with students for years, but never had any data or evidence to substantiate the sentiments that students felt and shared about the song. It also felt taboo to even raise as a concern in polite company. Notwithstanding its iconic status, now the veil is off. 

Here are the pieces I've posted to this blog on the matter:

Austin students, alumni groups denounce use of ‘Eyes of Texas’ and demand its retirement

True Origins of ‘The Eyes of Texas’

For the record, it not only offends many African Americans and the NAACP. If you go through the "100 Problems," you'll see that it similarly offends a broad swath of folks, including many women who find the song's words "creepy," such that appeals to its removal should be taken seriously.

-Angela Valenzuela

Texas NAACP, students file federal civil rights complaint over UT-Austin’s ‘Eyes of Texas’

The complaint signals a continued desire among some UT-Austin students and alumni to push administrators to discontinue using the song as the university’s alma mater, despite the university’s insistence that it will remain.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

‘These are the facts’: Black educators silenced from teaching America’s racist past

This is a poignant piece on how the current anti-CRT moment is being felt and experience on the ground by African American teachers. It maps on well to many Mexican American teachers' experiences who similarly get into teaching to teach the truth of America's racist past. My colleague, Dr. Keffrelyn Brown's statements on the double-bind that African American teachers experience are most insightful:

“If there’s any conversation around race, the assumption is that Black people will probably be talking about it,” she said. Black teachers aren’t given a space to address important aspects of history without it being seen as largely a personal interest, Brown explained.

It manifests as an extra burden they must bear “just by virtue of who they are and what they are perceived to represent”, she said. And while Black educators have always navigated this conundrum, they are particularly under scrutiny now, at a time when schools interrogating racism is sparking controversy.

“In some cases, what they actually do address in their teaching can be either minimized, or simply written off as bias or personal agendas,” Brown said, and at worst, Black teachers can be labeled ineffective – a pattern found in research on teacher evaluation ratings."

I do hope that school districts, university faculty, educator and administrator associations, civil rights groups, school board associations, as well as broader publics stand up for our teachers and the profession.

All should care, particularly since the kind of knowledge taught in classrooms like these is preparatory for life and careers, as well as for the diverse, multi-ethnic/multi-racial world in which we live.

-Angela Valenzuela

Nelva Williamson at Emancipation Park in Houston. ‘My ancestors matter. I matter. My students matter,’ she said.
Nelva Williamson at Emancipation Park in Houston. ‘My ancestors matter. I matter. My students matter,’ she said. Photograph: Michael Starghill Jr/The Guardian

As 22 states pass or consider legislation on race and racism discourse in classrooms, some Black teachers are reminded daily that their racial identity is a liability

Melinda D. Anderson