After rejecting a proposed Mexican American studies textbook that critics lambasted as a racist portrayal of Latinos, the State Board of Education on Wednesday will consider adopting another textbook.
The board last November tossed “Mexican American Heritage” from a list of recommended textbooks, reopening bids for other books. The board on Wednesday will discuss the latest proposal — “The Mexican American Studies Toolkit” — and take the public’s input on it. If the board approves the book in November, it will be added to the recommended high school social studies textbook list for the 2018-2019 school year.
Scholars, activists and politicians — more than 100 of them had packed the board room to provide input on the book last September — had denounced the authors of “Mexican American Heritage” for painting the Chicano movement as a “threat to society, ” omitting the contributions of Mexican-American female civil rights leaders and for suggesting immigration “has been increasingly tied up with an illegal drug trade.” Critics said the authors as well as the publisher Cynthia Dunbar — a former Republican member of the board — had no expertise in Mexican American studies and made as many as 141 errors in the book.
Dunbar denied racist intent and the authors of the book made 20 pages worth of changes but it wasn’t enough to win the board’s approval.
“Mexican American Studies Toolkit” is the only Mexican American studies textbook that has been proposed since the board reopened bids and it hasn’t garnered the sharp criticism as the previous proposal.
As of Tuesday afternoon, three people had signed up to provide public comment before the board on the book. The book’s author Tony Diaz is an activist as well as a Mexican American studies professor at Lone Star College in the Houston area. He was among the vocal critics of the first proposed textbook.