Made in Texas

alignleft Made in Texas, a teacher's guide, is CentroVictoria's first major project.  Our goal is to mainstream literature by Mexican American writers and poets to students in Texas.  Our intention is to offer teachers—primarily of high school English but also middle school English as well as History and Social Studies—six weeks of lesson planning and material, an entire thirty-day unit's worth, that will make their job easier and their students more connected to one of the most important classes in their education.

So many of our students feel disconnected to their English classes. But that is only because none of the material they are now reading has to do with the state and neighborhood where they go to school.  Made in Texas changes that instantly.  Suddenly there is a wealth of material—fiction, poetry, nonfiction, memoir, even lyrics—that is about a community both student and teacher actually live in, the issues and concerns that students see, talk, and wonder about.  The material in Made in Texas is all written by well-published, even well-known writers, and each selection is chosen not only for the quality of the work, the core needs of literature class, but for the topics each piece certainly generates, for what will be lively and valuable discussions that will come as the result of reading them.

Within the next few years, the state of Texas will have reached a population of over 50% Mexican American.  Better than most, teachers are aware of this fact.  In offering Made in Texas, CentroVictoria is suggesting that the time is now for all students in Texas—Latino, Anglo, African- or Asian-American—to understand the culture and people who have been historically and geographically bound to the state of Texas since its legendary beginnings. If Made in Texas is about Mexican Americans, with material by Mexican Americans, it is emphatically not meant for them alone.  We believe that not only is this a good time for our Texas students to learn about themselves, or who they sit next to, either, it is the best time.

We want our students to understand that is through reading, through what in our schools is English class, that we learn the value of an education.  When students know that writing—literature—can come from down the street or on a farm or ranch just like one near them, they can more easily understand stories and people who live in Germany or England or Argentina, Maine or New York or Minnesota.  It is through intelligent reading that comes the appreciation of what an education is.  Our boys and girls must become the  brightest men and women in a future world that will be more demanding and competitive than ever before.