Kick Off Hispanic Heritage Month with An Education Twitter Chat:

Kick Off Hispanic with :


by Melanie Mendez-Gonzales

In some districts across the , a on ethnic studies in is happening.

What is ethnic studies? It is the critical and interdisciplinary , ethnicity, and indigeneity with a focus on the experiences and of of color within and beyond .

Advocates for ethnic studies believe that it academic and bring understanding between races. Opponents argue that ethnic studies are anti-American and divisiveness.

to the Education Agency, research finds that the overwhelming dominance of -American perspectives leads many to disengage from academic . In , a recent Stanford study shows the opposite effect that an ethnic studies course had on, particularly Hispanic , students. Students in the study who took ethnic studies classes in a pilot program in Francisco high schools increased attendance rates, improved their grades and even increased the number of earned course credits for graduation.

These courses allow students to connect to their own and see their inside their classrooms. That has a powerful impact. Some argue that ethnic studies could have a powerful impact on students, too.

“Similar to students of color, white students have been miseducated about the roles of both whites and people of color throughout ,” , an assistant of African American studies at , and culturally relevant lessons allow white to “not only learn about people of color, but also white people’s roles as oppressors and fighting for change. This is very because often whites feel is nothing [they] can do to change .” ()

Ethnic studies were born out of both educators’ and students’ desires to counterbalance inaccuracies and predominance of the Euro-American perspective found in . schools’ curricula. , the most recent rise of ethnic studies came out of the 2010 of a Mexican-American studies course in the United School District and the .B. 2281. Mexican American studies has spread to high schools at a rate no one could have imagined before Arizona banned the class in 2010.*

Five school districts, for example, has since made an ethnic-studies class a requirement, and 11 others it as an elective. Currently, AB-2016, which would require the to develop, and for the board to adopt, a in ethnic studies for districts to offer a course of study in ethnic studies, is sitting on Gov. ’s desk.

Albuquerque Schools will launch a ethnic studies program for all 13 of its high schools beginning August 2017.

In , there’s a different debate.

“The ban of Mexican American studies in Arizona opened our eyes to the ,” , , says, “and how important it is to embrace our history and culture. realized there was nothing to ban in Texas, needed to start one.”

Diaz and others began to that the Texas State Board of Education make Mexican-American studies a requirement in Texas schools. The result was an agreement from the SBOE to call for textbook proposals for the Mexican-American curricula that would be put in place in 2017 and until then, allow schools who wished to teach MexicanAmerican studies, to do so but without direction from the SBOE. Some Texas teachers have begun to implement Mexican-American studies in their classrooms.

The one textbook “Mexican American Heritage’ that was submitted for has come under for what some have called ‘deeply flawed and a deeply offensive textbook’ that is filled with . Protestors, including Diaz, will be in , Texas to testify against the textbook at the SBOE hearing on Tuesday, September 13. A final vote on adoption is scheduled for November.

These are just some of the discussions happening about ethnic studies courses in our schools.

Join our Twitter chat as we discuss more about ethnic studies in – 12 education this , September 15. It is the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. ’s have a real chat about what are Latino students are learning about their own heritage in schools.

LATISM Education Twitter Chat with Special Guest Tony Diaz

9 p.m. EST – 10 p.m. EST


Hashtags to follow: #LATISM #LATISMedu

Special Guest: @Librotraficante

Moderator: @LATISM

TonyDiazBio--element45Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, founded Nuestra Palabra: Latino Having Their Say in 1998.He is the of the Librotraficantes-champions of of Speech, Intellectual , and . He holds a Master of Arts in Creative , a belt in Tae Kwon Do, and the award winning novel THE AZTEC . He also hosts the Nuestra Palabra Program on , Texas.

He was recently named the of Intercultural Initiatives at Lone -NH and will be starting their Mexican American Studies Program. Learn more about Tony Diaz at





NEA, The Academic and Value of Ethnic Studies: A Research Review

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