It's Time, Texas. Call, Testify, or Rally for Mexican American Studies: TX SBOE Votes Next Week

11/03/2017 12:42 pm ET
Cover for the textbook THE MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES TOOLKIT edited by Tony Diaz.
Cover by Marc-Antony Piñón
Cover for the textbook THE MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES TOOLKIT edited by Tony Diaz.

The Mexican American Studies Toolkit is possibly one of the most vetted textbooks ever submitted.

Notes for public testimony by Tony Diaz, scheduled to be delivered during the Texas State Board of Education’s adoption process for The Mexican American Studies Toolkit, Tuesday, November 7, 2017.

Feel free to share this as a source for talking points. This is an early draft of the testimony that will presented. Readers may feel free to use any lines or phrases for their testimony.

First, I commend the Texas State Board of Education for updating the textbook adoption process and requiring a PDF. This has encouraged public participation.

As a result of that, The Mexican American Studies Toolkit is possibly one of the most vetted textbooks ever submitted.

Scholars from last year who donated their time to time to review last year’s flawed book donated their time again.

The difference is that last year the publisher ignored them.

Research from the Cabrera Report from the University of Arizona proves that TUSD students enrolled in Mexican American Studies were 108% more likely to graduate, were 144% more likely to pass standardized Math tests, 144% more likely to pass Writing tests, and 168% more likely to pass Reading tests.

This year is different because this publisher not only heard their feedback but acted on it.

I am proud to say that The Mexican American Studies Toolkit has met the Texas Standards for TEKS and ELPS.

The book has passed through the review committee of panelists assembled by the Texas Education Agency.

The publisher acted on the advice of the panel.

The publisher has gone even further.

The publisher continued to work with the TEA Review Committee and the scholars who last year donated their time and insights.

This year, those scholars have added their essays to the textbook The Mexican American Studies Toolkit.

These steps symbolize the new era of Texas education.

Community outreach is not required as part of the textbook adoption process; however, this is one of many public information
Community outreach is not required as part of the textbook adoption process; however, this is one of many public information sessions organized for THE MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES TOOLKIT.

The Representatives of the TX SBOE have ushered in a new era by updating the adoption process to include more public feedback. And the Texas State Board of Education united across party lines to institute Proclamation 2018. They united to then unanimously vote down last year’s flawed attempt and then united unanimously to re-open the call for books.

Scholars who last year donated their time and intelligence to vote down a bad book have this year added their work to the textbook - The Mexican American Studies Toolkit. Some were on the TEA Review Committee.

I hope this week we can show the nation that Texas continues to unite by voting to adopt The Mexican American Studies Toolkit because it represents a powerful collaboration between the Texas State Board of Education, the community, our scholars, our teachers, and our thinkers. This has resulted in a textbook that features great scholarship, is based on lesson plans that excite students, and information that teachers will find practical.

We should remind folks that Ethnic Studies courses have been proven to increase student achievement. Research from the Cabrera Report from the University of Arizona proves that TUSD students enrolled in Mexican American Studies were 108% more likely to graduate, were 144% more likely to pass standardized Math tests, 144% more likely to pass Writing tests, and 168% more likely to pass Reading tests. We want those results in Texas.

That research was part of the testimony in the Arizona Supreme Court this summer, which helped to overturn that state’s ban of Mexican American Studies. Fellow Texan Dr. Angela Valenzuela, University of Texas-Austin, was an expert witness in that case. I am proud to say that her work is included in The Mexican American Studies Toolkit.

I will also remind folks that Mexican American Studies course are open and beneficial to all students. In fact, when I teach Mexican American Literature, at least a ¼ of the student enrolled are non-Latino.

Finally, Mexican American Literature and History is American Literature and History. And in our case, it is part of the full fabric of the great state of Texas.

Community outreach is not required as part of the textbook adoption process; however, this is one of many public information
Community outreach is not required as part of the textbook adoption process; however, this is one of many public information sessions organized for THE MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES TOOLKIT.

This book was possible under this compressed timeline only because Texans came together. We have risen to the spirit of the policy and delivered a book that will help teachers educate and edify their students.

I encourage the Texas State Board of Education to adopt The Mexican American Studies Toolkit because it is time and this is the right book.

It's Time, Texas. Testify, Call, or Rally for Mexican American Studies Today. Click here for more info: http://conta.cc/2h9J6BK via #constantcontact

Community outreach is not required as part of the textbook adoption process; however, this is one of many public information
Community outreach is not required as part of the textbook adoption process; however, this is one of many public information sessions organized for THE MEXICAN AMERICAN STUDIES TOOLKIT.
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