Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Committee Denounces Proposed Mexican-American Studies Textbook | The Texas Tribune

Committee Denounces Proposed Mexican-American Studies Textbook | The Texas Tribune:

Committee Denounces Proposed Mexican-American Studies Textbook

Dr. Christopher Carmona, chair of the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies-Tejas Foco's Committee on Pre K-12 Edu. in Texas Schools speaks during a press conference on July 18, 2016
Dr. Christopher Carmona, chair of the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies-Tejas Foco's Committee on Pre K-12 Edu. in Texas Schools speaks during a press conference on July 18, 2016

Saying that a proposed Mexican-American studies textbook is "dripping with racism and intolerance," several educators and students are calling for the State Board of Education to reject the controversial book. 
“It is an utter shame we must deal with racially offensive academic work,” State Board member Ruben Cortez Jr., D-Brownsville, said Tuesday at a news conference in Brownsville announcing that a committee he convened had produced a54-page report citing inaccuracies in the proposed "Mexican American Heritage" textbook.
He said the textbook describes Mexicans as people who don’t value hard work and who only bring crimes and drugs into the country. According to the committee's report, one passage said, "Stereotypically, Mexicans were viewed as lazy compared to European or American workers ... It was also traditional to skip work on Mondays, and drinking on the job could be a problem." 
Cortez convened the ad hoc committee — which includes professors and high school teachers — to examine the book being considered for use in Mexican-American studies classes for Texas high school students. A public hearing over the proposed textbook is set for next Tuesday in Austin, and members of the committee will present their report then.
In its report, the committee concluded that the textbook doesn't meet basic standards and guiding principles in the history profession. According to the report, the committee determined the book had more than 68 factual errors, 42 “interpretative errors” and 31 “omission errors.” 
Educators who spoke at Tuesday's news conference — held at Paredes Elementary School, which is named after Brownsville native and Mexican-American scholar Américo Paredes — said it would be irresponsible to support the textbook. 
Trinidad Gonzales, a history professor at South Texas College, said it was difficult to even mark errors because entire passages were factually inaccurate and made up of “a web of racist assertions.”
“It was very difficult to get through it because of the significant errors that kept popping up,” he said. He cited passages in the textbook he claimed to be "anti-Catholic" because it paints a picture of loyalty only to the Pope. The report compared the textbook to a book by Samuel P. Huntington, which claims that Mexican immigration, culture and religion is a threat to the country.
Christopher Carmona, assistant professor at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, said at the news conference that he was appalled by how "blatantly racist" the textbook is. Carmona pointed to one discussion question in the textbook that asks, "Are Chicano Studies beneficial to Mexican-American culture? Explain." He said the question leads students to question the validity of Mexican-American studies.
Most board members have said they intend to hear further debate before making a decision on how to vote.
Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, said he thinks the state needs to focus on preparing students for college before adding courses such as Mexican-American studies. He Committee Denounces Proposed Mexican-American Studies Textbook | The Texas Tribune:


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