9 influential books on equity, teaching, and Latinos

The following 9 books are among the top most influential texts I’ve read…. Enjoy!

These books created a cause for pause.  I encountered these in undergrad and realized that there was so much about my history and experience I was not taught.

Occupied America: A history of Chicanos

Open veins of Latin America

In graduate school I encountered the works of influential critical pedagogues and social justice seekers.  

Borderlands/La frontera: The new Mestiza

Pedagogy of the oppressed

Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom

As my thesis began to take shape, I encountered books about the experiences of Latino youth

The latino education crisis: The consequences of failed social policies

Subtractive schooling: U.S.-Mexican youth and the politics of caring

I then thought to myself, “How can I bring this into the classroom?”

Celebrating cuentos: Promoting Latino children’s literature and literacy in classrooms and libraries

A magical encounter: Latino children’s literature in the classroom

And finally, I realized what it was like to see myself in books…

Reaching out

The state of Latino Students in the Silicon Valley

Roughly 32 years ago my father began the process of planting his family’s roots in the Silicon Valley (more specifically in Palo Alto) with a mission to empower his family.  From this high-tech bubble of innovation and entrepreneurship, my father took this spirit of possibility with him to the Central Valley where my siblings and I were born. Years later I am now retracing my father’s steps with a mission to empower students, particularly Latino youth and those from low income homes.

Latinos in the Silicon Valley currently make up roughly 26% of the total population and it is estimated that by 2040 we will be the largest ethnic group.  In order for all community members to flourish, it is imperative that we take a look at the state of our students’ educational achievements and become part of solutions that help expand upon opportunities and possibilities for sub-groups.

When looking at Latino youth in the Silicon Valley 1/3 of 3rd graders are proficient in reading.  While this may seem like a low number (and it is) there is great promise in the efforts taking place because these numbers are steadily increasing.  In addition, 1/4 of high school seniors are college ready and this number is also growing. If we are to be on par with the 52% of non-Latinos who hold a B.A. (compared to our 15%) there are many systems that need to begin simultaneously if these numbers are to steadily grow.

On the flip slide, there are other numbers that cause us to pause and ask why.  1/4 of Latino students drop out of high school in the Silicon Valley and this number, sadly, is rising.  In a world so immersed in STEM, our Latino students are falling behind in this area as well.  In Fremont and Homestead high school, for example, only 11% of Latino 9th graders were proficient in algebra.

I aim to be optimistic, to believe in the collective ability to empower, and to be part of a solution so that one day I can say que aqui estamos los que dijeron que si se puede and we made it happen.

References:

Broken Promises: The Children Left Behind in Silicon Valley Schools (2013) published by Innovate Public Schools

Silicon Valley Latino Report Card (2011) published by the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley

A musical care package for Latinos entering graduate school

A little musical care package to prepare you for the ups and downs of graduate school. Pa’lante y hechenle ganas!

Here’s a video for the first semester when you watch the second year grad students (who seem to have it all together) whiz by while you’re still trying to figure out how you are going to cram so much reading into your week and how to best organize yourself to balance what you need to do with basic things like eating and going to the grocery store.  As the musician in this video states:”What’s going on?” you’ll ask yourself.  But no worries, all 1st years go through the feeling. You can do it! (Note: You don’t have to read everything, no one expects that… You just have to learn how to study smart, not study hard).  4 Non Blondes – What’s Up?

Something for that moment when you get the first critique about your research from your advisor and you think, “Why didn’t I see/think of that!?”… so you walk out of his/her office feeling like maybe you’re going in the wrong direction and you begin to second guess everything you do.  Fear not, Pitbull’s got you covered. Pitbull – Echa Pa’lla.

Something for the first time you encounter an uncooperative team member or one who is slacking off and you think to yourself, “….but this is graduate school…people still do that here?” Yes, sadly.  Do the best you can to remedy the situation, learn from it, and then get over it.  Ok Go – Get Over It

Something best said by a Yale professor: “You had better decide early on that you are in charge of your program. The degree you get is yours to create. Your major professor can advise you and protect you to a certain extent from bureaucratic and financial demons, but he should not tell you what to do. That is up to you. If you need advice, ask for it: that’s his job.” (source). The Soft Pack – Answer to Yourself

Something to remember that your community cares about you and has your back.  Ozomatli – Can’t Stop

Y finalmente, something for that moment you finish your last exam/paper of the semester and are getting ready for the break.  Takin’ it way back here! Banda Blanca – Sopa de Caracol