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Reclaiming Schooling/ Recuperando la Eseñanza

Radically Reimagining the Work of Education

Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D.

Angela Valenzuela, Ph.D.

In 1969, Chicana/o students marched out of West High School in Denver, Colorado, demanding changes to the public school system, including an increase in educational opportunity, the inclusion of Chicana/o culture, history, and perspectives in the school curricula, an increase in Chicana/o teachers, and relief from the racism that they experienced in school. 

Fifty-one years later and in the midst of a global pandemic, Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x communities continue to negotiate inequitable conditions in schools compounded by the current social and political climate that has brought educational inequities into sharper focus. Yet, in the face of this adversity, just as Chicana/o communities did forty-one years ago, Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x communities today are resilient and strategic in the ways that they negotiate these new barriers and actively work to dismantle long-standing systemic inequities.  

Richard T. Castro Distinguished Visiting Professorship welcomes, Dr. Angela Valenzuela. Dr. Valenzuela has a long history of research and teaching in the sociology of education, minoritized youth in schools, educational policy, urban education reform, culturally relevant curriculum, Ethnic Studies, and indigenous education. Her foundational book, Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring, carefully documents how schools “…rather than functioning as a conduit for the attainment of the American Dream, subtract resources from Mexican youth.”  This work along with numerous other publications, including her most recent publication, Growing Critically Conscious Teachers: A Social Justice Curriculum for Educators of Latino/a Youth, has culminated in the co-founding and directing of Academia Cuauhtli, a partnership-based, community-anchored Saturday school that centers Mexican American and Indigenous knowledge and has had district-wide positive impacts in Austin, Texas. 

Valenzuela differentiates between education and the form it often takes, schooling. Schooling processes that lack the critical aspects can divest Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x students of their cultural wealth and lead to alienation, disengagement, and lack of academic success.  Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x communities deeply value education and all the possibilities of its promise.  Thus, the theme of this year’s professorship asks us to reflect on the ways that Chicana/o/x and Latina/o/x communities have reclaimed and continue to reclaim schooling to radically reimagine the work of education. 

Schedule of Events

All events will be virtual


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Recentering the Identity, Knowledge, and Literacies of Latinx Youth

Please join us for a professional development session for students, student teachers, educators, and community featuring Dr. Angela Valenzuela and Dr. Chris Milk of Academia Cuauhtli. Rooted in the development of Academia Cuauhtli, a Saturday school in Austin, Texas that offers Mexican American Studies and Tejano history and culture in Spanish to 4th graders from Sanchez, Metz, Houston, Perez and Zavala Elementary Schools, this session will challenge hegemonic practices, knowledge production and literacy in schools. By centering the experiences of Latinx students in spaces where they historically been ignored and silenced, Dr. Valenzuela and Dr. Milk will inform how we can shift our classroom practices to elevate Latinx youth, family, and community knowledges to academically support and enrich student learning.    


Thursday, October 8, 2020

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Welcome and Keynote Address


Thursday, October 8, 2020

5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Community Discussion: Reclaiming schooling through the transformational work of ethnic studies

Ethnic Studies emerged out of th1960s civil rights movement and demands from students of color for better access to higher education, the inclusion of their history, culture, and perspectives in the school curricula, an increase in professors of color, and the implementation of ethnic studies programs that centered the interdisciplinary study of race, ethnicity, and indigeneity (Hu-DeHart, 1993). Since then, ethnic studies programs have proliferated across the country and into K-12 curricula with many states now requiring ethnic studies to graduate from high school.  Research has documented the powerful impact of ethnic studies on school engagement and connection, retention, and ultimately graduation.  Moreover, ethnic studies foster critical thinking and on students’ understanding of and attitudes about race and/or people who differ from themselves” (Sleeter, 2011). Please join us for a community panel discussion on the transformational work of ethnic studies  


Thursday, October 8, 2020

7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.

Closing Virtual Happy Hour

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For any further questions, please contact the Department of Chicana/o Studies at (303)615-0711.