AUSTIN - A proposed textbook called "Mexican American Heritage" that activists have said is riddled with cultural stereotypes and historical inaccuracies was the center of a rally before the State Board of Education met to take up the issue Tuesday.
Both the hearing and the rally -- at the Texas Education Agency -- were open to the public. Dozens attended, with some even driving in from around Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and beyond to participate. Representatives of the Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus, the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and even State Board of Education (SBOE) members spoke, urging a change.
The problem is that Mexican American Heritage was the only one received when the board called for submissions.
"The call for not just Mexican-American studies a year and a half ago, but for African American studies, for Native American studies and for women studies was a call to action to augment and diversify education," said Marisa Perez, who currently sits on the State Board of Education. "It was not an attack against any other culture. It was not an attack against the American way. We are the American way."
Like many speakers, her words were met with cheers.
Former SBOE member Cynthia Dunbar published Mexican American Heritage, which was meant for high schoolers starting in the 2017-2018 school year.
Activists have been protesting the book for months. A committee of Texas educators and historians released a report detailing 68 factual errors and 73 "interpretive and omission errors" within the text.
For example, the textbook reads of the Chicano Civil Rights Movement, "Chicanos ... adopted a revolutionary narrative that opposed Western civilization and wanted to destroy this society."
Another passage reads, "Stereotypically, Mexicans were viewed as lazy compared to European or American workers ... It was also traditional to skip work on Mondays, and drinking on the job could be a problem."
The TEA said if the state school board approves the book, it will be up to each school district to determine if it's used in instruction.
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