Edition: July 2021

From The Editor

By:  Chuy Ramirez

1.  The first Texas compulsory education attendance law was enacted right at the time the Mexican Revolution of 1910 . Texas students were required to attend school for 60 days in 19161917, 80 days in 1917-1918, and 100 days from 1918-1919.

2.Ethnolinguistic” refers to a community that is ethnically, culturally and linguistically similar. 

3. Corporal punishment was common in the Texas public schools through the 1960s.

4.  Articles from the 1930s referring to Mexican American education in Texas: See 1931 article by Gladine Bowers, Mexican Education in East Donna, reprinted from Texas Outlook, in the July 2021 edition of IberoAztlan, rationalizing a Salvatierra-type segregation;  See the article by William O. Sisk, The Mexican in Texas Schools, reprinted from Texas Outlook, in the July 2021 edition of IberoAztlan.

5.  Blandina Cardena, Breaking Through in Migrant Education, 2004, reprinted in the February 2021 edition of IberoAztlan.

6. See 1930 article by Hershel T. Manuel, The Spanish  Speaking Child

7. See 1936 article by Emma P. Weir, The Mexican Child,


By: Chuy Ramirez

The theme of our July 2021 edition of IberoAztlan is Teaching Mexican American students in Texas: 1930s   vs.  2020s. During the 1930s, segregation of Mexican American students from Anglo students was the norm.  Educators rationalized the practice as a reasonable approach to teach English to Mexican American students through a methodology called “English-immersion”.   We feature education in this July 2021 edition of IberoAztlan and offer a unique contrast in historical approaches to public education in Texas.  From the 1930s, several articles reprinted from Texas Outlook (no longer in publication) give us the perspective from educators of that period.  We learn directly from teachers how they justified the segregation and how they implemented an English-only pedagogy.

Fast forward to 2021: In interviews with three Mexican American scholars I attempt to understand the development and evolution of bilingual and dual language programs.  Dr. Alejo Salinas implemented one of the first bilingual education programs at the Pharr San Juan Alamo (Texas) public schools during the late 1960s.  He shares the struggles early educators faced in developing approaches to using the innovative methods bilingual education offered.  Dr. Leo Gomez developed methods for teaching one-way and two-way dual language instruction in the elementary schools.  His programs are used extensively in public school districts.  Finally, Dr. Francisco Guajardo, formerly at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, and currently Chief Executive Officer a the Museum of South Texas, focuses on teaching the teachers who provide dual language instruction.

By: Herschal T Manual

Reprinted from Texas Outlook, 1930

IN THE COLONIZATION of Texas and in later immigration, there have been two main currents—the first, of Spanish-speaking people from the South; the second, of English-speaking people from the East and North.  It was a full century, however, following the founding of San Antonio in 1718 before English-speaking colonists came to Texas in any considerable numbers.  Yet when they began to arrive on the invitation of the Mexican government, they soon out-numbered the Spanish-speaking colonists and assumed political control.  While the immigration from Mexico has continued until the present, reaching an average of 12,000 per year between 1910 and 1920, the Spanish-speaking people have long been greatly in the minority.

By: William O. Sisk

Port Arthur – Reprinted from Texas Outlook, December, 1930

N RECENT years the problem of the Mexican in Texas schools has received an undue amount of attention by the educators of our state.  Research work has been carried on in this field.  Surveys have been made for the purpose of securing accurate information on the subject.  Graduate students in the school of education have chosen this field in which to do their thesis work.  Perhaps the most comprehensive study that has been made of the problem is that recently completed by Dr. H. T. Manuel, professor of education in the University of Texas.  

By:Gladine Bowers

Reprinted from Texas Outlook March, 1931

Building:  That the Mexican child in the Donna Public Schools is not discriminated against in his school environment is conclusively established after an hour’s visit to what is popularly known as the East Donna School, a $75,000 one-story brick structure, which was first put into use November 1929.

There are twelve classrooms, each of which is equipped with modern furniture.  The rooms used by the first, second and third grades have group tables and chairs. The fourth and fifth grade rooms are equipped with the individual 

By: Emma P. Weir

Reprinted from Texas Outlook, June 1936

THERE should be in the schools of Texas at the present time about 20,000 Mexican children, and it ought to be the duty and the business of parents, teachers and citizens to see that these children attend school, for our Texas constitution states that the public schools were founded primarily for the good of the state, and secondarily for the good of the child; therefore all good citizens should be interested in seeing that all children attend school, especially the Mexican child who so much needs the training for citizenship.  Someone is at fault somewhere, for every year a few Mexican children enter the Austin schools, sixteen years old, and under, who have never been in school before.

By: Mrs. L. A. Wilder Taylor

I recommend this 1936 article for two reasons. The reader will find it amusing for its condescending approach to teaching Mexican American children in 1936 how to learn English. But more importantly, I wonder whether any of those methods are still being used in any elementary schools around the country.  Dual-language advocates need to understand why their approach is so essential in certain communities and that disproved alternatives may be in the offing if dual language instruction is rejected.

Reprinted from Texas Outlook, August 1936

By: Chuy Ramirez


Dr. Leo Gomez is a retired university professor, having taught at Texas A&M University and Pan American University (predecessor to University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) and currently owner of the Dual Language Training Institute. Dr. Gomez attended college at Pan American University, Brownsville where he obtained both his B.A. and M.A. degrees. In 1994, 

Dr. Gomez received his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Bilingual/ESL/Multicultural Education. 

Dr. Gomez founded The Dual Language Training Institute (DLTI), a consulting firm dedicated to providing professional development services and technical support to schools and districts interested in educating all of their students through either a one-way or two-way dual language education, thereby providing greater educational equity and biliteracy opportunities to the students they serve. The Gomez & Gomez DLE Model is committed to the belief, as evidenced through research, that successful Dual Language Learner (DLLs) (inappropriately referred to as ELLs or LEP) that achievement is largely based on the extent and quality of native language instruction (L1).

By: Chuy Ramirez

Dr. Francisco Guajardo is a native of the Texas-Mexico border, has been a public high school teacher, a school administrator, a nonprofit executive, and a spirited advocate for public education. Dr. Guajardo holds a B.A. in English, an M.A. in History, and a Ph.D. in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a founder of the Llano Grande Center for Research and Development, a community-based nonprofit organization nestled inside Edcouch-Elsa High School. He is a founder of the Edinburg Dance Theatre, a local arts organization that offers quality ballet and other dance instruction to children in rural communities along the border.

He is a founder of the Community Learning Exchange, a national movement focused on building local leadership for community change. Locally, he has led public efforts to pass bond issues totaling more than $130 million to build new schools, and he led a citizen committee brought together to raise more than $184 million in bonds to improve the drainage infrastructure for the neediest areas in the South Texas county of Hidalgo. Dr. Guajardo has also served on the board of directors of the Center for Rural Strategies and the Rural School and Community Trust, both national organizations.

At the time of the interview (late 2017), Dr. Guajardo was still at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley, Edinburg and, among other work, developing a bilingual/bicultural/biliterate program for the University.  He has since left the University and currently heads the Museum of South Texas at Edinburg.


By: Jonathan T. Jones

The history of the Texas Rangers is filled with tales of bravery and daring in the wild Texas frontier.   But many of those tales are fantastical as some of the heroic narratives harken back to the 19th century tall-tales of Pecos Bill roping a tornado and riding on a giant snake.   Such hyperbolism would be amusing if not for the violence that marginalized and removed ethnic Mexicans and ultimately established a minority, Anglo-centric power structure in South Texas.   And that meant specific events in counties south of San Antonio, including those that make up the Rio Grande Valley:  Cameron, Willacy, Hidalgo and Starr.   In the summer of 1915 Adolfo Muñoz was tortured and lynched while in Texas Ranger custody a mile and a half from San Benito, Texas in Cameron County.   This is one among many incidents of Ranger terror.   And much of it took place while the founder of Harlingen, Texas, Lon C. Hill, served as a Texas Ranger.  Hill organized vigilante groups and believed that “every Mexican in the country” was a raider, a criminal suspect.   According to Monica Muñoz Martinez, Hill spent his entire career trying to prove this point as many Rio Grande Valley residents lived in terror.

By: Ricardo Romo


Mario Longoria, a San Antonio native and graduate of John F. Kennedy High School in the Edgewood District, served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. Following his honorable discharge in August of 1970, he relocated to Los Angeles where he and his military buddy from the U.S. Marine Corps,  Anthony  Zapata, shared an apartment in West Los Angeles while attending Santa Monica Community College on the G.I. Bill. Dr. Longoria earned a B.A. degree from California State University Northridge and a Ph.D in English from The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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READ: Alejo Salinas Jr
This month's Legacy Interview is Alejo Salinas Jr. Read his story as he tells it in his own words.

Edition Archive


By: Ruben Barrera


After the 2010 census, Governor Perry called a special session of the Texas Legislature for redistricting. On June 6, 2011, the Texas Legislature approved a redistricting plan. After its passage, Senator Eddie Lucio of Brownsville said, “How fair is it that although Anglos only make up 45% of the state’s population, they control 72% of our congressional districts. It does not make any sense; it is unfair.”[i] Governor Perry signed the redistricting plan on July 18, 2011.[ii] Thus began several lawsuits against Texas for violating the Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965. The state approved redistricting maps were challenged in two federal courts: The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in San Antonio which heard evidence regarding Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia which heard evidence regarding Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Both courts found Texas violated Sections 2 and 5 of the VRA. Texas subsequently appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court which heard final arguments on January 12, 2018.


By: Chuy Ramirez

Mike Lopez grew up in Donna, Texas during the 1950s and 60s.  As  most other Mexican American students, he was directed to attend school at East Donna, some distance away.  His recollection of attending school at East Donna elementary school and later being pushed to attend “la escuela de los burros” provides an interesting contrast with what an Anglo educator wrote about the East Donna elementary school during the early 1930s. Read the article about the East Donna Mexican school (later named Guzman Elementary) and Mike Lopez’ interview. 

By: Chuy Ramirez

Mike Lopez describes the typical composition of farm labor crews during the 1950s and 60s and the financial arrangements among packing sheds, crew leaders and their crews.

Mike:  So, for the first six years, I was raised in Weslaco. Very big family, Bro—primos y primas—uuf! I don’t know—treinta, cuarenta—sepa la madre. It’s funny because when we would visit my grandmother on Saturday or Sunday, you’re talking about fifteen, twenty kids there—at one time.


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