The Other Struggle for Equal Schools

Mexican Americans During the Civil Rights Era

By Rubén Donato

Subjects: Education
Series: SUNY series, The Social Context of Education
Paperback : 9780791435205, 220 pages, October 1997
Hardcover : 9780791435199, 220 pages, October 1997

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Table of contents



1. Schooling in the Pre-Brown Era

2. Evolution of a Community and the Making of a School District

3. Emergence of Grassroots Activism

4. The Irony of Year-Round Education

5. Mandated Bilingual Education Comes to Town

6. Self-Interest and Compliance in the Desegregation Process

7. Summary and Conclusion




Contrary to popular belief that the struggle for educational opportunity during the civil rights era was waged exclusively by African Americans, this fascinating book shows that the Mexican American population challenged discriminatory educational practice more than was portrayed by the media.


Examining the Mexican American struggle for equal education during the 1960s and 1970s in the Southwest in general and in a California community in particular, Donato challenges conventional wisdom that Mexican Americans were passive victims, accepting their educational fates. He looks at how Mexican American parents confronted the relative tranquility of school governance, how educators responded to increasing numbers of Mexican Americans in schools, how school officials viewed problems faced by Mexican American children, and why educators chose specific remedies. Finally, he examines how federal, state, and local educational policies corresponded with the desires of the Mexican American community.

Ruben Donato is Professor of Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the author of Mexicans and Hispanos in Colorado Schools and Communities, 1920–1960, also published by SUNY Press.


"Donato builds a strong case for understanding the segregation and resistance to integration that Mexicans and Mexican Americans faced early in this century, and continue to face to this day. He is an exceptionally good storyteller who is able to weave scholarship into events. This book will be an eye-opener to most educators. " -- Christian Faltis, Arizona State University, Tempe

"Mexican Americans comprise the fastest-growing group of school-aged children in the United States. Because of the dearth of information about their history, and particularly about their public schooling, the perception is that the population is mostly an immigrant population that has recently arrived. Donato debunks several common stereotypes and establishes many parallels related to modern-day immigrant issues and the educational system. " -- Kathy Escamilla, University of Colorado, Denver

"Mexican Americans have been a historical presence in the Southwest since well before their U. S. annexation. The need for historical documentation of this group's educational experiences is urgently needed. " -- Lilia I. Bartolome, Harvard Graduate School of Education