Activists, scholars oppose proposed Mexican-American textbook

People claim book is inaccurate, racist

SAN ANTONIO – Activists and scholars are loudly opposing a Mexican-American studies textbook being considered for use in Texas classrooms for being inaccurate and racist.

A collection of activist, education and business groups called the “Responsible Ethnic Studies Textbook (REST) Coalition” wants the State Board of Education to reject the book "Mexican American Heritage" when it is considered this fall.

"I was really appalled. I mean it was really very offensive," said Professor Juan Tejeda, one of several Mexican-American studies scholars who have been reviewing the high school level text.

Tejeda, who is the leading faculty member for the Center of Mexican-American Studies at Palo Alto College, said the book is flawed and has numerous errors.               

"The depictions that they have of the Mexican and Chicano people is very racist," he said.

One excerpt from the pre-adoption sample of the book reads, "Chicanos, on the other hand, adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy (modern, democratic society)."

"Industrialists were very driven, competitive men who were always on the clock and continually concerned about efficiency," reads another passage. "They were used to their workers putting in a full day's work, quietly and obediently, and respecting rules, authority and property. Mexican laborers were not reared to put in a full day's work so vigorously. There was a cultural attitude of 'mañana,' or 'tomorrow,' when it came to high-gear production."

Celina Moreno, an attorney with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, one of the groups in the REST Coalition, dismissed the passages as "ridiculous and poorly researched assertions."

"It doesn't seem like the publisher consulted with the experts in the field," Moreno said.

It has been widely reported that former State Board Of Education member Cynthia Dunbar controls the textbook's publishing company, Momentum Instruction. Dunbar has advocated for state curriculum standards that downplay the constitutional separation of church and state.

KSAT 12 reached out to the Momentum Instruction, which has the same number as one listed on Dunbar's own website. There was no response before air time at 6 p.m.

The board is scheduled to vote on the text in November. School districts do not need to use board-sanctioned classroom materials, but most do.


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