Friday, April 13, 2018

Board of Education member denounces “Mexican-American Studies” name-change as “discrimination”

SBOE member David Bradley now wants to blame Mexican Americans Studies' advocates for "weaponizing" the course when HIS amendment to name it "Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent" is the weapon that attacked our dignity.  Blame the victim, Mr. Bradley.  You're good at that.

Friends, he doesn't even know how paternalistic and backwards he sounds.

We need to vote these right-wing board members out of office. Besides, the K-12 school population is 52 percent Latino and mostly Mexican American while the SBOE is mostly Anglo.  Or should I say "Anglo-American?"  They're hyphenated, too.  They just don't know it because they ludicrously claim, in effect, "aboriginal status" when in reality they are the progeny of settler colonialism that has paved its way into 21st century board politics.

And it's disappointing that SBOE member Georgina Perez voted along with him and the other members of the board to assign it—and us, as a consequence—this name.  Fortunately, the remaining minority board members did not—Lawrence Allen, Ruben Cortez, Erica Beltran, and Marisa Perez who is quoted in this Houston Chronicle piece.

Personally, I never want my name associated with a course that bears this name.  God forbid.  My Mother would never forgive me, as this name harkens back to a very painful time of Jim Crowism in our history as Mexican Americans, leaving deep scars that are still with so many of us today.

I encourage you to read my earlier post on this if you've not done so.

Sad and disappointing.

Angela Valenzuela

#ApproveMAS  #NoToAmericansOfMexicanDescent #QueVerguenza

Board of Education member denounces “Mexican-American Studies” name-change as “discrimination”

Updated 6:24 pm, Friday, April 13, 2018

Photo: Eric Gay, STF Supporters of a proposal to add a Mexican-American studies course as a statewide high school elective first asked the State Board of Education to OK the class in 2014. Board members on Friday, April 13, 2018, approved the course, but Republican members changed the name to "Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent." Critics say the new name deals a blow to the Mexican-American identity.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

AUSTIN — Tension continued to mount Friday even after State Board of Education members gave final approval to going forward with a new Mexican-American studies high school elective but refused to keep the class' original name.
"Discrimination." "Cloaking bigotry." "Bull." Those are words Marisa Perez-Diaz of the Texas Board of Education used in a statement to describe the board's decision to rename a long-sought-after "Mexican-American Studies" elective course "Ethnic Studies," a decision that has touched off a new wave racial tension.
While members of the board voted unanimously to create a high school elective that delves into Mexican-American studies Friday, nine Republicans on the board insisted on renaming the course "Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent" after David Bradley, a member from Beaumont, said he rejects "hyphenated Americanism."
"Today was not a victory, but a slap in the face," said Perez-Diaz, a Democrat from Converse who is Mexican-American, said in a statement Friday. "The time has finally come to call this what it is ... DISCRIMINATION!"
In a long press release she posted on Facebook, Perez-Diaz said the board's vote told her and the state's Mexican-American students to identify themselves as "Americans of Mexican Descent."
"The time for cloaking bigotry and/or fear of diversity under the guise of 'patriotism' and 'Americanism' is over," she said. "My experience is as American as apple pie, because guess what, my ancestors were on this land well before it was conquered and named America."
She went on to call Bradley's opposition to the hyphenated "Mexican-American" term, "BULL! Again, what does that even mean?"
Bradley said Perez-Diaz is taking the name-change personally and said Republicans on the board wouldn't have approved the class if it couldn't change the official name.
"We're all Americans. I don't go around saying I'm an Irish American or an East Texas Moonshining American or anything else. It's a melting pot and most of the board agreed with that," said Bradley when reached by phone late Friday. "They got what they wanted. They got 99 percent of what they wanted."
"If they want to continue antagonizing the board in dealing with this, it could have repercussions," he said, adding that the fight over the course could turn off school districts from taking up the class. "Do you think... honestly, there's going to be a single school district that wants to propose this and deal with this issue because it's become so weaponized. This course isn't going to be used in a single school district after they poison it as they're trying to do now. I don't think they realize that."
He added, "They just can't figure out how to say thank you."
In Texas, 52 percent of the state's 5.4 million school-aged children come from Mexican or Latino backgrounds. Advocates expect those numbers to climb to nearly 70 percent of the school-age population by 2050.
More than 30 professors, teachers, and students testified before the state board Wednesday, urging members to approve the official adoption of a Mexican-American Studies elective four years after the board originally refused to accept the class. Other advocates for the course said they saw the adoption as a victory but were frustrated the board changed the name.
The course is already taught in dozens of schools as a special course, including in Houston Independent School District. Advocates say the class offers Mexican-American students a deeper connection with their history and helps all students understand the contributions of Mexican-Americans have had on U.S. culture. Research shows students who take such courses have higher graduation rates and perform better academically, advocates said.
State education staff will next review state standards for the course, which the public is invited to comment on over the summer. The board is expected to take a final vote on the standards in September, where members can propose a name-change. While schools can already teach the class, the approval gives schools the state's official endorsement of the course and allows students to take it as an elective beginning in the 2019-20 school year.
Andrea Zelinski covers politics for the Houston Chronicle. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook. Send her tips


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