Wednesday, November 16, 2016


"I would hate to be a Mexican American student seeking my place in the United States, and be confronted with the idea that Mexican Americans had nothing to say about their situation, nothing to say about slavery, and nothing to say about industrialization. And to have a textbook titled Mexican American Heritage justify this claim. This is almost worse than no textbook." Dr. John Mckiernan-Gonzalez, Department of History, Texas State University

By Juan Montoya

The battle for the hearts and minds of Mexican-American school children (Hispanics, Latinos, etc.,) has been joined pending a vote of the Texas State Board of Education on the adoption of a book called Mexican-American Heritage to be taught in schools across the state.

Already, protests have been led at the Texas Education Agency to protest the book, the only one submitted to the board after bids were put out in 2015 for history instruction dealing with Mexican-Americans in Texas.
Among the criticisms is that the book is filed with historical inaccuracies, outright stereotypes and racist assertions against this group.

A vote on the adoption of the book is set for today or Friday.
Leading the fight is (of all people) Brownsville's own Ruben Cortez, a former Brownsville Independent School District board member and a current member of the State Board of Education.

This is an unlikely champion of Mexican Americans in Texas since the majority of the time he spent as a BISD board member was massaging the wallets of vendors with the district and gouging inmates at Cameron County Corrections facilities through the Sheriff's department granting him and his partner Rick Zayas (another former BISD member) the jails' commissary contract. The fact that his mother – Linda Salazar – was Justice of the Peace 2-1, didn't seem to hurt the arrangement.
Cortez is also said to be heavily involved in the business end of the Region One offices which dispense goods and services to member school districts.

That's where the infamous bad barbacoa originated when Region One awarded the contract to a new company with processors in Durango, Mex. The USDA since has stopped the purchase of Mexican-processed meats with USDA dollars. The question of how that company was formed and why the contract was awarded to them by Region One is still unresolved. Add the fact that the director of BISD's Food and Nutrition Services Silverio Capistran committed suicide as USDA investigators closed in on the department has left may questions unanswered.

However that may be, in the Ad Hoc Committee Report on Proposed Social Studies Special topic Textbook: Mexican American Heritage put together by Cortez, the 53-page, two-sided typewritten report notes the objections to the offending tome.

In its report, the committee concluded that the textbook doesn't meet basic standards and guiding principles in the history profession. According to the report, the committee determined the book had more than 68 factual errors, 42 “interpretative errors” and 31 “omission errors.”
Many deal with the facile reasoning that leaves false impressions of the history of this group in the state's history and their role in thelarger national context. Chapter by chapter, they meticulously document the fallacies of logic and generalizations made by authors.

The State Board of Education has had its share of controversies before, with some of its members casting doubts on issues like evolution, slavery and civil rights. Only three members of the 15-member SBOE are Hispanics, and represent San Antonio, Brownsville and El Paso. They are all elected in single-member districts from around the state. The chair (appointed by the governor) is Donna Bahosrich from Houston. The lone Black member is Lawrence A. Allan Jr., from Houston.

Cortez and other critics have been joined by other scholars' assessment of the offending tome. One, whose link is listed below, analyzed one chapter (5) and found numerous objectionable entries in the work.


I'm not a robot! said...

Texas State Board of Education REJECTS adoption of controversial Mexican-American studies textbook

Anonymous said...

Orale! Now Ruben's name comes out with the meat situation at BISD? Does that go back to Capistran's and Escobedo's tragedies. Oh, and who was the JP who called them suicides? Interesting! Otra colcha sucia!

Diego Lee Rot said...

History is written by the writers

Anonymous said...

Too bad, the truth must be told not sugar coated.