Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Congrats to Dr. Marnie Curry for her stellar ethnography: “Authentic Cariño: Transformative Schooling for Latinx Youth"


I am very excited to have received Dr. Marnie Curry’s just-published book titled, “Authentic Cariño: Transformative Schooling for Latinx Youth (Teachers College Press, 2021)." It arrived just in time for my birthday which is today, December 28th! For ease, I provide the abstract, book features, and reviews below.

Authentic Cariño provides the much-needed counterstory to an otherwise pervasive trend in public education of subtracting resources from our youth as a manifestation of inauthentic, deficit-oriented, superficial caring, or cariño.

University of California Santa Cruz research professor, Marnie Curry, demonstrates, through this rich, ethnographic account of Molina High School (pseudonym) just how possible it is for an entire school serving Latina and Latino youth to be additive, instead of subtractive, caring for students in ways that resonate culturally, enhancing their lives, well-being, and prospects for the future.

Thank you, Dr. Curry, for asking me to write the book's Foreword, honoring my own ethnography of a Houston, Texas high school named Seguin (pseudonym), namely, Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring.

My plans for my college classroom is to teach these texts side-by-side and hope others will consider doing so, as well, with the idea of conveying the breadth of policy and practice options, as well as ethical choices, that school officials and practitioners make in the context of teaching our nation's culturally and racially diverse student body.

In this vein, a third book to consider is Drs. Lesley Bartlett and Ofelia García's ethnographic account from a New York school titled, Additive Schooling in Subtractive Times: Bilingual Education and Dominican Immigrant Youth in the Heights (Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 2011). This text provides a much-needed focus on an immigrant community's empowerment. 

What these three texts share is that they are also critical institutional ethnographies that examine how schools interface with their respective communities. There may be other such educational ethnographies about which I am unaware. This is what readily came to mind. 

Not unlike Subtractive Schooling, Authentic Cariño is translatable to other diverse contexts comprised of youth whose cultures, languages, and community-based identities are not only different, but also deemed as insufficiently worthy as the basis for a relevant and meaningful curriculum or pedagogy that successfully averts, what I term, "subtractive cultural assimilation."

As Curry's ethnography, in particular, suggests, it doesn't have to be this way. It doesn't have to be this way at all. Quite the opposite, as the contours, dimensions, and manifestations of authentic cariño are vast. Let me count the ways...

Congratulations to Dr. Curry for her meticulous, inspiring ethnography of an outstanding high school that encourages a powerful vision and a path forward for U.S. public education.

-Angela Valenzuela

P.S. I just got this edible arrangement from my daughter at the door! Best birthday ever!


As the population of Latinx students grows in U.S. public schools and our nation seeks to address systemic inequities, racism, and xenophobia, this counternarrative provides inspiration to those wishing to reinvigorate schools and build a more caring and just world. Authentic Cariño documents the innovative practices, successes, and struggles of a full-service community high school serving mostly low-income Latinx youth in an economically depressed California city. Based on 4 years of qualitative research, the author examines how educators, families, and community members established and sustained a social justice school that immersed youth in authentic cariño—a holistic blend of familial, intellectual, and critical care. By nurturing students’ moral, social, personal, and academic development, the school produced college-bound graduates ready to be agents of change in their own lives and in their communities. This case study synthesizes and extends scholarship on color-conscious, healing-centered educational care and offers rich portrayals of praxis that illuminate how schools can equip marginalized youth to thrive. All royalties from this book will support Molina High School and a college scholarship for urban youth.

Book Features:

  • Advances a fully elaborated model that specifies three fundamental dimensions of care: familial, intellectual, and critical.
  • Provides an in-depth account of a high school that successfully institutionalized authentic cariño schoolwide.
  • Advocates for “college and community readiness,” conveying to students how additional schooling would enable them to become community change agents capable of contributing to collective uplift.
  • Offers insights into the structures, processes, and complications that arise when a school commits to authentic cariño as a path to promote engaged learning and social transformation.
  • Shows what is possible when educators in partnership with local communities dare to care deeply and widely for Latinx youth.


“Now more than ever, we must infuse authentic cariño into our schools to press forward toward a pluralistic, multiracial democracy where ‘liberty and justice’ prevails for all. For this reason, I genuinely welcome Authentic Cariño: Transformative Schooling for Latinx Youth and hope that readers will be inspired to use it as a resource to advance additive, as opposed to subtractive, schooling.”
—From the Foreword by Angela Valenzuela, professor, University of Texas at Austin

"Not since Jeff Duncan-Andrade's powerful work on critical pedagogy and youth participatory action research have we seen the concept of cariño used to reinvent and revitalize pedagogy for students who have traditionally been marginalized in our schools. Although directed toward Latinx students, this work will benefit all students! Curry has provided us with a masterpiece.”
Gloria Ladson-Billings, professor emerita, University of Wisconsin-Madison and president, National Academy of Education 2018–2021

"We are a society that has experienced massive trauma and deep uncertainty. As we move into a post–COVID-19 world, our schools will need to cultivate deep healing and caring relationships. Marnie Curry’s Authentic Cariño offers us a clear and compelling roadmap about how to respond to collective trauma and create 'networks of care.' Curry’s book offers a fresh lens for us to envision how teachers can build partnerships based in love and care. This book is a must-read for teachers, researchers, and practitioners searching for a fresh and deeply authentic model for transforming schooling. “
Shawn Ginwright, professor of education and Africana Studies, San Francisco State University

“The kind of engaged, grounded, and community responsive scholarship found in this book is sorely needed in the research community. Through the voices of educators, youth, and community engaged in their own beautiful struggle, Curry illuminates what we can and should be doing in schools to grow, maintain, and protect the wellness of our children and our communities.”
Jeff Duncan-Andrade, professor, San Francisco State University

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