Monday, December 04, 2017

Critically Compassionate Intellectualism for Latina/o Students by Drs. Julio Cammarota & Augustine Romero

I strongly recommend this published piece in the journal, Multicultural Education, by Drs. Julio Cammarota & Augustine Romero that lays out their critique of K-12 schooling and their alternative approach applied to youth in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD), namely, their Critically Compassionate Intellectualism Model of Transformative Education. 

Remember that this is the curricular approach advanced by the TUSD Mexican American Studies Program, leading to unexpectedly high levels of academic achievement, graduation rates, and college matriculation to the point that the Arizona State Superintendent disavowed the results from the Arizona-taxpayer-funded Cambium Report. 

Thanks to Stephen Lemon's June 16, 2011 blog in the Phoenix New Times, here is the link to the Cambium Report in five parts so that you can see for yourself the success of the TUSD program guide by these principles of critically compassionate intellectualism: Cambium One, Cambium Two, Cambium Three, Cambium Four, and Cambium Five.

This model, theoretically framed around what they describe in this piece as a trilogy, is elaborated as follows:

A teacher following critically compassionate intellectualism implements the educational trilogy of critical pedagogy (Freire, 1993), authentic caring (Valenzuela, 1999), and a social justice centered curriculum (Ginwright & Cammarota, 2002). For students of color, critical pedagogy affords them the opportunity to become critical agents of social and structural transformation. Authentic caring promotes student-teacher relationships characterized by respect, admiration, and love and inspires young Latinas/os to better themselves and their communities. A social justice curriculum dispels ideological notions of racial inferiority while cultivating the intellectual capacities of students of color.

Thankfully, the program is now legal in the wake of Judge Tashima's ruling on August 22, 2017 that you can read about here if you like.  

So little of education reform, I have noticed over the years, is about socially transformative curriculum and pedagogy even if this is what our children and youth desperately need—and for reasons that are well articulated by Cammarota and Romero in this article that  I encourage you to read in its entirety.

Angela Valenzuela


Freire, P. (1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.

Ginwright, S., & Cammarota, J. (2002). New terrain in youth development: The promise of a social justice approach. Social Justice, 29(4), 82.

Valenzuela, A. (1999). Subtractive schooling: U.S.-Mexican youth and the politics of caring. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press

A Critically Compassionate Intellectualism for Latina/o Students: Raising Voices Above the Silencing in Our Schools

Dr. Julio Cammarota
Dr. Augustine Romero

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