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CMAS hosts Spring 2017 Conference: “Implementing Mexican American Studies in Texas Public Schools: The Power of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy”

The College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences’ Center for Mexican American Studies recently hosted a conference titled, "Implementing Mexican American Studies in Texas Public Schools: The Power of Culturally Relevant Pedagogy." The conference was held on March 31 and April 1.

The idea behind this conference came out of the realization that Mexican American public school students in Texas continue to face major challenges. Hosting over 300 attendees, CMAS brought in renowned speakers to discuss the importance of culturally relevant pedagogy and to share their expertise with Houston educators and principals along with our UH community.

According to CMAS, the most up-to-date research demonstrates that students of Mexican descent continue to have the highest dropout rates from Texas public schools. In contrast to this reality, Thomas S. Dee, a professor at Stanford's graduate school of education and speaker at the conference, examined ethnic studies programs in the San Francisco school district and found that the students who took ethnic studies courses showed significant improvements.

Dr. Angela Valenzuela, a University of Texas professor, spoke of the importance of teachers’ understanding and working with school districts’ diverse student population.

“We have a lot of enthusiasm, but we don’t have a lot of curriculum and a lot of teachers prepared in the curriculum,” Valenzuela said.

It is CMAS’ hope that this conference will serve as a catalyst to the growth of cultural studies in public schools in Houston as well as statewide, thereby improving the quality of education for current and future generations.

Photo Credits: Ernesto León