Tuesday, March 30, 2021

San Antonio-inspired African American and Mexican American curriculum taught across Texas

This is a wonderful report on how San Antonio—including great leadership like Texas SBOE Member Marisa Perez-Diaz and many others including UTSA Professor Dr. Liliana Saldaña, former Alamo College arts professor Juan Tejeda—are investing in the development of Ethnic Studies curricula that have been adopted in districts across our state. 

Locally, here in Austin, we are very pleased that our Academia Cuauhtli, elementary-level, Spanish-English curriculum was useful to the development of online curriculum throughout the pandemic by our bilingual and dual language elementary school teachers throughout AISD. This is a movement, indeed!

This piece mentions "the curriculum" and provides a link to Texas' state standards in both African American and Mexican American Studies (view §113.50. Ethnic Studies: Mexican American Studies; §113.51. Ethnic Studies: African American Studies). 

My only amendment here is to clarify that state curriculum standards termed, "Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills" or "TEKS standards" are not a curriculum. They instead provide baseline standards upon which educators build. There's also the pedagogical or teaching component that might, for example, accord emphasis to authentic caring, being asset-based, project-based learning, teaching from a social justice lens, teaching in Spanish, translanguaging, as the case may be—that must simultaneously be addressed alongside curriculum, but which do not find their way into a statement of standards—despite our struggle and advocacy for these novel standards.

So there's always more to this craft of teaching Ethnic Studies than meets the eye, but thrilled to read about our colleagues' efforts and how they are giving fruit. Do click on the link to the story to listen to the live reporting from the Fox 29 news report.

Our legislature is in session and Rep. Christina Morales, as you can read from an earlier post (click here), filed House Bill 1504 that allows Ethnic Studies to count toward High School Graduation. Please reach out to whoever represents you to let them know that you support this bill.

Like I always say, someday, this will just be called a "good education."

-Angela Valenzuela

San Antonio-inspired African American and Mexican American curriculum taught across Texas

by Robyn Oguinye, Tuesday, March 23, 2021

SAN ANTONIO (KABB/WOAI) - Inclusive education, that's the goal of two educators from San Antonio who have pushed for the development of African American and Mexican American courses in schools across the state.

San Antonio students like Jaylea Sullivan say there's not much mention of people who look like her in school history textbooks, a topic that often comes up in class.

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"I’d be like, 'Why we don’t talk about African-Americans in this process?' All the things we probably learn about in February. We learn about Harriet Tubman and stuff because of Black History Month, but that’s about it," says the Sam Houston sophomore.

"The problem with our current curriculum standards is that it’s very white washed," says Marisa Perez-Diaz, a member of the Texas State Board of Education.

That's exactly why Perez-Diaz worked with Texas A&M San Antonio professor Dr. Lawrence Scott to develop African American and Mexican American studies courses at area schools.

The curriculum is now being taught at San Antonio ISD, Northside ISD and Southwest ISD.

It has spread to nearly 100 school districts across the state and they're pushing for it to go national.

The goal, Perez-Diaz says, is to not only create elective courses for high school students, but to integrate the curriculum into K-12 social studies classes.

"We have a diverse set of students across Texas that deserve to see themselves and see their ancestors' contributions to this country as validated, justified, acknowledged and celebrated," says Perez-Diaz.

Because of Covid, the information on the number of districts that have adopted that curriculum is not up to date but local districts like San Antonio, Judson and Northeast ISDs have committed to taking it on.

It's something Jaylea says she hopes all students of color like herself get to experience.

"I think it’s important that we learn more about ourselves because since our parents didn’t grow up with it not everybody knows everything," she says.

If you'd like to see the curriculum for the Mexican American curriculum click here.

If you'd like to see the curriculum for the African American curriculum refer to the document below.

Perez-Diaz says plans are underway to create an indigenous peoples curriculum as well as an Asian American pacific Islander course to be taught in schools.

Those are in the preliminary stages, but we'll keep you posted on when those classes may become available to your student.

Biden Is Reigniting the Movement to Oppose Standardized Testing

Important read. This piece makes the case that we really shouldn't bother with high-stakes testing. As per this recent statement by National LULAC, a civil rights organization to which I proudly belong, we are asking for a moratorium on high-stakes testing. This agenda is otherwise very much integral to the Billionaire's neoliberal game as stated herein: 

"It is the same non-educators influencing the debate today: the John Podesta, Bruce Reed, and Ian Rosenblum types who convert billionaire wishes into public policy. But those affected see it differently."

Indeed, those closest to the children like the teachers, parents, an increasing number of administrators, and most of all, the children themselves, find this testing system to be incredibly harmful, and thusly, highly unethical and objectionable.

-Angela Valenzuela 

Biden Is Reigniting the Movement to Oppose Standardized Testing

Teachers always knew the tests lacked validity, and now some progressive Democrats in Congress are joining their opposition.


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

After reading this, listening to UT History Professor Dr. Alberto Martinez'  testimony—as well as reading his detailed analysis published last week in titled, True Origins of ‘The Eyes of Texas’—I truly hope that this song gets retired. Just reading all of this is hurtful, painful, and disturbing. 
-Angela Valenzuela

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