When the Texas State Board of Education voted two years ago to create instructional materials for Mexican-American studies, educators and activists walked away cheering. They had asked the SBOE to create a full Mexican-American studies class, citing research showing that it would help boost performance in the state’s majority-Hispanic public schools.
The Republican-dominated board declined, but at least a board-sanctioned textbook would help schools individually join a national wave of schools teaching the classes independently — a movement spurred by Arizona Republicans’ banning of a controversial but effective Mexican-American studies curriculum in 2010.
But when the Texas Education Agency released its samples of proposed materials last week, they included a Mexican-American studies textbook littered with factual inaccuracies and gross errors of interpretation, many scholars in the field say. The book was authored by writers unknown in the field of Mexican-American studies and produced by a company apparently owned by Cynthia Dunbar, a right-wing former member of the SBOE.