Mexican-American Studies Summit Takes on ‘Racist’ Textbook
*It was only text submitted for approval for Texas Mexican-American studies, written by a one-time leader of the Texas conservative education movement. Mexican-American leaders in Texas call it a racist book. VL
If you’ve read about Mexican-American studies in Texas the last month, it’s probably because of the textbook. You know the one: Mexican American Heritage, published by a one-time leader in Texas’ conservative education movement. It was the only book on the subject submitted for state approval, and since the Observerfirst reported on the controversial tome in May it has drawn intense ire from Mexican-American history scholars. Houston activistTony Diaz succinctly described it as “a racist textbook.”
The lack of options has frustrated Mexican-American studies advocates who spent months lobbying state officials to issue a call for textbooks. Meanwhile, Republican State Board of Education member David Bradley has found the textbook controversy — the book describes “many” Mexican-American migrants as “poor, undereducated, or illegal” — entertaining. “It’s really kind of amusing,” he told theAustin American-Statesman. “The left-leaning, radical Hispanic activists, having pounded the table for special treatment, get approval for a special course that nobody else wanted. Now they don’t like their special textbook?”
But the State Board of Education’s influence only goes so far. Teachers are under no obligation to use any book the SBOE approves, and as Mexican-American studies courses spread across Texas, educators have been writing and sharing new course materials and lesson plans of their own.