Mexican-American studies | Texas Public Radio

Mexican-American studies

Lauren Terrazas / Texas Public Radio

After years of contentious debate, the Texas State Board of Education approved a Mexican American Studies (MAS) curriculum in 2018. Now, members of the community have an opportunity to learn how they can implement the courses into classrooms at the 4th Annual Statewide Summit on Mexican American Studies for Texas Schools.

Then, a new historical marker honors Tejano music legend, Lydia Mendoza.


Courtesy of Rosa Lidia Vásquez Peña

In the late 19th century, many Mexican-Americans were shut out of the public education system because they couldn’t speak English. So, the community responded by creating its own schools.

Philis Barragán Goetz, assistant professor of History at Texas A&M University-San Antonio, shared the history and significance of “escuelitas.”

NORMA MARTINEZ / TEXAS PUBLIC RADIO; JOHN MOORE / GETTY IMAGES; KARL JACOBY; CREATIVE CIVILIZATION ADVERTISING

This is our year in review.

  • A Mexican-American literature course at a local high school (0:21)
  • Regrets of a former Border Patrol agent (2:43)
  • The hidden African-American history of San Antonio (4:46)
  • A granddaughter of a Nazi (7:09)
  • The dangers of reporting from the border (10:13)
  • The descendants of the victims of a 100-year-old massacre (13:17)
  • A former Texas slave who became a Mexican millionaire (17:17)


Texas Education Board Approves 'Ethnic Studies: Mexican-American Studies'

Jun 13, 2018
Marjorie Kamys Cotera for The Texas Tribune

"Texas education board votes to call long-sought Texas course "Ethnic Studies: Mexican-American Studies"" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Texas activists pushing for a high school course on Mexican-American history won a hard-fought victory in April, when the State Board of Education voted to create the class. 

Laura Skelding / Texas Tribune

The Texas State Board of Education voted on April 13 to create curriculum standards for a Mexican-American studies course based on an existing course taught in the Houston Independent School District.

While this could be considered a victory for activists calling for Mexican-American studies in Texas schools, in making the decision, the majority of the board approved a last-minute name change. Instead of Mexican-American Studies, the course would be called Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent.

San Antonio native and SBOE member Marisa Pérez-Diaz joins us to discuss the board's decision.


Juan Tejeda, a retired professor of Mexican-American studies at Palo Alto College, speaks during a news conference about the state board changing the name of a high school version of the course May 30, 2018.
Camille Phillips | Texas Public Radio

Supporters of a state-approved high school Mexican-American studies course are calling on the Texas State Board of Education to revert to the course’s commonly used name.

The board changed the course name to Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent when it approved the creation of course curriculum in April.

Texas Education Board Approves Course Formerly Known As Mexican-American Studies

Apr 13, 2018
Laura Skelding

* Update, April 13: On Friday, the State Board of Education gave its final approval to development of the Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent course. 

Texas advocates for Mexican-American studies classes won a bitter victory Wednesday, gaining approval to move forward with the class they wanted but losing the course title.

Marlon Lizama

Despite a strong Hispanic presence, not much Mexican-American history is being taught in public schools along the border — that is, until now.  

  • On this episode of Fronteras, students in El Paso are learning more about a previously unknown chapter of history (0:17).
  • Also on this episode, a SpaceX facility in Brownsville has yet to be completed but residents there are worried if the company’s promises of a launch facility will go unfulfilled (5:34).
  • And finally, Houston poet and performer Marley Lizama talks about how his mother’s unconventional punishments led him to poetry, and how hip hop helped him find his voice (10:57).


Lance Ozier at Todos Juntos Photography/Courtesy Opera Southwest

Rudolfo Anaya's coming-of-age novel "Bless Me, Última" is one of the most influential works in Chicano literary canon. 


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