Education News

Coalition Lobbies Against Controversial, New Mexican American Studies Book

It’s the only Mexican American studies book up for state approval.

Another fight over a Texas textbook is brewing at the State Board of Education.

The subject is Mexican American Studies, a subject that activists and scholars fought to include in the state’s official curriculum.

But a new book on that subject is drawing controversy instead of cheers.

To understand that controversy, here are few lessons from the book called Mexican American Heritage that upset activists.

It characterizes Mexican workers in the 1800’s as lazy. It claims that that Latino civil rights leaders threatened U.S. society. And it links Mexican Americans to illegal immigration that the book says has caused poverty and crime.

“The book is obviously a fraud. It doesn’t really address the subject Mexican American history,” said Emilio Zamora, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

He’s part of new coalition lobbying the State Board of Education to reject this book before it reaches Texas classrooms. The coalition includes other scholars, education groups and civil rights groups. They announced their fight against the book in a press conference Monday in Austin.

“They either don’t know the record or they deliberately disregard it,” Zamora added.

The book’s publisher, Momentum Instruction, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Besides the new coalition, state reviewers are also vetting the book this summer.

The chair of the Texas board, Donna Bahorich, defended how the state approves textbooks.

“I mean, it is a rigorous process that the board has, but most publishers want to go through the board process,” Bahorich said previously on Houston Matters.

The state board is set to hold public hearings on the book this fall and vote in November.

It’s the only Mexican American studies book up for approval, along with instructional materials in other subjects.

 

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Laura Isensee

Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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