Rudy Acuña showed us that “Chicana/o Studies would give a greater number of us access to knowledge that would free and enable us to solve the contradictions of American society.” Nolan Cabrera’s research proves this, scientifically… because some people required it - expecting that either no one could or would do the work and the data would disprove Acuña’s codices.
After Arizona banned the only curriculum proven to close the achievement gap for Barrio students, MAS - Ethnic Studies requirements are being implemented around the country. Chicago Public Schools unveiled its Latino Studies curriculum for 8th graders. They love it so much, they copyrighted it so they can sell it. Nevada has introduced a bill that would require Ethnic Studies as a graduation requirement. District by district, California has passed Ethnic Studies high school graduation requirements. It seems likely California will be the first state to implement Ethnic Studies state-wide… quite reminiscent of Mendez vs Westminster, making California the first state to desegregate schools. Even Indiana has an Ethnic Studies high school requirement bill that passed their Senate Education Committee and is on its way to the full senate. Really!
It’s not hard to figure out why so many states are delivering effective educational opportunity to their communities, even Wikipedia defines these curriculums as a path to critical thought. When students are exposed to authentic Ethnic Studies programs they are 108% more likely to graduate high school, on time… and despite how many of us feel about standardized state tests, kids who take Ethnic Studies courses improve their test scores by as much as 40%. But wait a minute – what about kids who aren’t Chican@/Latin@, you ask… Yes, they too benefit from these courses, just as much. Ain’t inclusion grand! Thanks, Gus Garcia and Thurgood Marshall.
But hey, if education isn’t your focus then let’s move on to demographics. PEW Research has stated that the nation’s population will look like the Texas’ school-age children population much sooner than even we anticipated. And guess what? About 50,000 of these kids turn 18 each day. So what does this mean to our joined economies? Yes, we are switching to money here. If the nation’s largest demographic group is also the group that lags behind all other cultural/ethnic groups in high schools graduations (46%), who will work those high-tech jobs that pay into our social security funds, taxes for more schools and roads? That’s a rhetorical question…
So, let’s go back to Texas where our school-age student population is 51% Chican@/Latin@. Why aren’t we implementing Mexican American Studies? Ok, ok… we know that the Tea Party school boards, TEA, and Texas Legislation aren’t terribly interested in Ethnic anything. And despite the opposition, Librotraficantes continue to show up at the State School Board meetings. We went in hoping for a solid implementation of MAS, and left with a text book proclamation for 2016, which was quickly pushed to 2017 – because the state simply doesn’t have funds to provide quality materials and resources to our students. Elected member, Donna Bahorich of Houston approached me after the shady, backroom deals were brought to light and explained that the districts really cannot afford to purchase additional text books. I asked her to please visit the Barrio communities and explain to the mothers that there just isn’t funding for “those kids” to receive a life-saving education… She hasn’t done it yet, but I’m hopeful.
Yes, Rudy, that rock just keeps getting heavier.