The Truth Behind the Mexican-American Studies Course Debacle in Texas

May 31, 2018 by

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“The Truth Behind the Mexican-American Studies Course Debacle in Texas”

By Donna Garner



[Before reading today’s Dallas Morning News article, please go to the following article to find out what REALLY happened at the last Texas State Board of Education meeting regarding the “Mexican-American Studies Course.” –  4.11.18 — “Two Motions Passed by the Texas State Board of Education, Opening the Door to Ethnic Studies Courses” — By Donna Garner – EdViews.org





5.30.18 — “Last-Minute Name Change for Texas’ Mexican-American Course Was Ill Conceived, Disrespectful – Advocates Say” — By Eva-Marie Ayala – Dallas Morning News —


Excerpts from this article:


Texas’ efforts to launch a comprehensive Mexican-American studies course continues to stumble as advocates say an unexpected name change has caused division and disrespected students.

Supporters of a statewide curriculum held press conferences across Texas on Wednesday to announce they will protest at next month’s State Board of Education meeting to call for the board to name the course “Mexican-American Studies.”

…After years of advocating — and a controversial first run at a related textbook — the State Board of Education approved standards for such an elective high school course in April. But a last-minute amendment changed the name to “Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent.”

In Fort Worth on Wednesday, a group of educators from across the area said the name change was an “ill-conceived,” muted attempt to water down the course and a “disrespectful” move. The course adoption should have been a pivotal step forward to teach courses that represented the students in Texas schools, they said.

…The conservative board member who moved to have the name changed said the board won’t budge from the new title of “Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent.”

“I find hyphenated Americanism to be divisive and almost reverse racism,” said David Bradley, R-Beaumont. “The more that they want to dwell on this and campaign on this, it is just hardening the resolve on both sides. They are being divisive.”

Advocates for the course countered by saying the original name affirms the American identity while paying tribute to ancestry…

Erika Beltran, a Democrat on the board who represents parts of Dallas and Fort Worth, said that for about five years the board discussed “Mexican-American Studies” only to have this name twist come up toward the end of the process.

“A board member said he doesn’t believe in hyphenated Americanism? But he doesn’t have a right to tell us how to self identify,” Beltran said. “That’s what’s divisive. And it seems ill-timed.”

Advocates plan to rally in Austin before the June 12 State Board of Education meeting where board members will once again vote on the course, which is has to undergo a series of approvals before final adoption in the fall.

Fort Worth ISD trustee Jacinto Ramos said students deserve to have courses that honor their history, whether it is African-American or Mexican-American. He said he’s  frustrated that the goal line continually gets moved for those pushing for such representation.

That’s why his district isn’t waiting for the state, he said.

Last month, Fort Worth ISD trustees approved a school holiday for César Chávez-Dolores Huerta Day, which honors the lives of the United Farm Workers union leaders who fought for better treatment of laborers. Ramos noted that other Texas districts are expected to follow suit, including Grand Prairie.

Fort Worth also offers its own Mexican-American studies courses. At North Side High School, for example, about 60 students took the class built on a curriculum designed by Fort Worth officials.

Other districts, such as Houston, also offer their own take on Mexican-American studies. In order to ensure a comprehensive and aligned curriculum, the state needs to adopt standards, Beltran said. Doing so will also avoid future controversies such as the 2016 incident in which a publisher brought forward a proposed textbook for such courses that included stereotypes and inaccuracies.




The Dallas Morning News in the last paragraph alludes to a textbook in 2016 in which “a publisher brought forward a proposed textbook for such courses that included stereotypes and inaccuracies.” This is a reference to the textbook presented for adoption by Cynthia Dunbar entitled “Mexican American Heritage.” 


This first article below (#1) tells the real story behind the unfair treatment of Cynthia Dunbar’s book. Her book was a scholarly presentation of the history and heritage of Mexican Americans, and the contents are outlined in the #1 article. The reason that so much hostility was waged against her book is that the organized  Mexican-American groups were “grooming” the SBOE to get them ready to receive warmly Tony Diaz’s submission (“Mexican-American Studies Toolkit) which was presented several months after Dunbar’s book was pillaged and defeated. Please read article #2 to see what the majority of the SBOE found to be true about Tony Diaz’s submission and why they voted NOT to adopt it either:


(#1) — 9.9.16 — “Battle Brewing at SBOE Meeting Over Mexican-American Textbook” — By Donna Garner – —


(#2) — “VICTORY:  Tex. State Bd. of Ed. Refuses To Adopt Tony Diaz’s Racist, Divisive, Militant Mexican-American Studies  Textbook” — By Donna Garner – —






4.15.18 — “The Hyphen in Mexican-American Studies Debate” — By Donna Garner –



4.6.18 — “Texas SBOE To Take Final Vote on Hyphenated-American Course” — By Donna Garner – EdViews.org


1.30.18 — “Update to Tex. SBOE Meeting – Hyphenated-American Studies Course” — By Donna Garner – EdViews.org


1.29.18 — “Texas SBOE To Decide on Hyphenated-American Courses That Divide America” — By Donna Garner – EdViews.org


9.12.16 –  “Publisher Defends Controversial Mexican-American Studies Textbook” — by Kiah Collier and Nicole CoblerTexas Tribune



5.4.14 — “Texas State Board Decision Opens Pandora’s Box” — By MerryLynn Gerstenschlager — Published in the Austin American-Statesman on 5.4.14 —

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