Immigration and Higher Education Policy
As Chair of the San José State University Political Action and Legislative Committee, I had the honor of working with State Asm. Ash Kalra and members of the 2017 and 2018 California State Legislature on Assembly Bill 21, which makes substantial changes to current statute that requires any private college or university in receipt of state funds to have procedures in place to protect immigrant communities from unlawful or otherwise predatory actions. Assembly Bill 21 was one of multiple pieces of legislation responding to the rights and protections of immigrant communities in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.
Selected publications and briefs from this project:
López, P.D. (under review). Legislating Safe “Sanctuary” Spaces: State’s Rights and the Politics of Prioritizing Immigrant Communities in Higher Education Policy.
Public postsecondary education: Access to Higher Education for Every Student. Invited Testimony for Assembly Bill 21, before the California State Legislature’s Senate Judiciary Committee, July 11, 2017, Sacramento, CA.
Public postsecondary education: Access to Higher Education for Every Student. Invited Testimony for Assembly Bill 21, before the California State Legislature’s Assembly Committee on Higher Education, March 28, 2017, Sacramento, CA.
The Latina/o Education Task Force
On October 19, 2013, I was appointed by the Texas’ Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) and Senate Hispanic Caucus (SHC) to serve as the Primary Investigator and Co-Chair of the Latina/o Education Task Force. This Task Force was given the task to develop frameworks for state-level policy agendas in Public and Higher Education, and on July 9, 2014 released “A Latina/o K-12 and Higher Education Policy Agenda in Texas.”
The Agenda reflects the contributions of 70 local, state, and national participant organizations and nearly 200 individuals—128 of which are proud Texas bilingual teachers. Over the course of six months, these organizations took part in a collective process focused on advancing a much-needed paradigm shift in state-level policy and political engagement.
Selected publications and briefs from this project:
López, P.D. & Moreno, C. (2014). A Latina/o K-12 and Higher Education Policy Agenda in Texas. Austin, TX: Senate Hispanic Caucus and Mexican American Legislative Caucus Latina/o Education Task Force.
López, P.D. (2015). Policy Brief on Senate Bill 161: Relating to a study regarding the costs of educating students of limited English proficiency in public schools. Austin, TX: SHC-MALC Latina/o Education Task Force. April 28, 2015.
López, P.D. (2015). Policy Brief on House Bill 3671: Relating to the public school finance system. Austin, TX: SHC-MALC Latina/o Education Task Force. March 16, 2015.
López, P.D. (2015). Policy Brief on Senate Bill 149: Relating to alternative methods for satisfying certain public high school graduation requirements, including the use of individual graduation committees. Austin, TX: SHC-MALC Latina/o Education Task Force. February 19, 2015.
López, P.D. (2013, September 30). “Texas Latinos and the Politics of Change.” Huffington Post, Latino Voices. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/patricia-d-lapez/texas-latinos_b_4017945.html
The Political Construction of Texas’ Lone STAAR System of Accountability and College Readiness
My dissertation titled, “The Process of Becoming: The Political Construction of Texas’ Lone STAAR System of Accountability and College Readiness” (López, 2012) was a three-year ethnographic study (2008-2011) that focused on whose knowledge informed the construction of STAAR (and whose knowledge did not), the forms of agency exerted by various political actors, and how agency changed over time. The dissertation study was extended to include a third legislative session, and a five-year longitudinal analysis (2008-2013). Among my findings, I reveal how political practices subvert the legislative process, and consequently educational equity in the wake of massive anti-testing outrage, unprecedented budget cuts, and a political climate riddled with anti-Latino/anti-immigrant sentiment. This insiders glimpse of power and the various aspects involved in state-level policymaking has also been used to educate and incite political engagement among numerous communities in the fight for education in Texas, including the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), who in part used my study to win a recent Edgewood Independent School District et al. v The Texas Education Agency school finance litigation following the 2011 legislative session. My research has informed numerous policy debates in the Texas State Legislature, State Board of Education, as well as local-level decision making processes.
Selected publications from this project:
López, P.D. (2016). Latina differential consciousness and race-gendering in Texas’ legislative process. In S. Navarro, S. Hernández & L. Navarro, Latinas in Politics: Changing and Embracing Political Tradition. New York, NY: Lexington Books.
López, P.D., Valenzuela, A. & García, E. (2011). The Critical Ethnography of Public Policy for Social Justice. Companion to the Anthropology of Education.
López, P.D. (2012). The Process of Becoming: The Political Construction of Texas’ Lone STAAR System of Accountability and College Readiness. University of Texas at Austin: Dissertation.
López, P.D. (2011). Deconstructing the Interdisciplinary in Policy: Critical Education Policy Analysis, Social Justice, and the Politics of Urgency. University of Texas at Austin: Unpublished Doctoral Specialization Paper.
Also see my public scholarship for policy briefs and testimonies.