Creating Diverse Political Analysis in Texas

In a recent study titled, “In Increasingly Diverse Texas, Political Analysis is Anything But” the Texas Research Institute found that when it comes to public policy narratives in Texas, a mere seven political scientists—all male, all Anglo—dominate media coverage. These seven individuals were quoted by the media 1,331 times from June 1 to December 31, 2014. The larger findings, and concerns, were summed up by the following TRI statement:

The political challenges facing the state of Texas are vast and wide. The people of Texas deserve access to multiple perspectives that can analyze those challenges from diverse geographic and demographic backgrounds.

Following TRI’s study, the Texas Observer released the article, “State of the Media: Building a Better Punditocracy,” that elaborated on the larger implications of such narrow insights on statewide issues, which concluded the following:

What we have here is a lot of white guys calling a lot of white guys to talk about a lot of white guys.

You can also click the below link to listen to the Texas Standard’s interview with TRI’s Executive Director, Ed Espinoza.

As the 84th legislative session was giving the silent treatment to important issues like school finance, water, and health care, these two pieces sparked a much-needed discussion on whose knowledge and insights are leading conversations related to the needs and best interests of diverse Texans. This discussion included the acknowledgement of qualified academics—particularly women of Color—whose expertise and insights merit inclusion in policy and political analysis pieces.

It’s an honor to have my expertise and research contributions recognized by the Texas Research Institute, and to be added to the following list of impressive academics:

Texas Research Institute's  list of diverse policy and political analysts.

Texas Research Institute’s list of diverse policy and political analysts.

As debates on hot-topic issues and high profile elections proceed, it’s important to consider the final argument posed by the Texas Observer and that my own research has similarly underscored as pivotal:

We’re far better off talking to marginalized Texans than talking about them…

For more information on current projects and political analysis please contact me directly using the form below:

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AERA Critical Educators for Social Justice Distinguished Dissertation Award

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On April 16, 2015 I had the honor of receiving the Critical Educators for Social Justice Distinguished Dissertation Award during the annual American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference in Chicago, IL. This award is only possible because of the support of many organizations and individuals who are committed to advancing equity in a collective manner. I am deeply grateful to AERA, the CESJ SIG, and members of the award committee for giving national recognition to this collective work.

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“A woman who writes has power, and a woman with power is feared.” —Gloria Anzaldúa

A Texas Latina/o Education Agenda: More Money, Better Teachers

Recently, I shared the Senate Hispanic Caucus (SHC) and Mexican American Legislative Caucus (MALC) Latina/o K-12 and Higher Education Policy Agenda. This collaboration between the SHC-MALC Latina/o Education Task Force, 70 participating organizations, and the nearly 200 participants—128 of which are proud Texas bilingual teachers—is an initial step towards reframing state-level policy discourses and debates in Texas public and higher education.  

Among the top public education policy priorities and directions identified are: School Finance; Teaching Quality; School and District Accountability; Access to Curriculum; High-stakes Testing; Preserving Public Education.

Top higher education policy priorities and directions: Access to Higher Education; Funding Capacity, and Expansion of Higher Education; Student Retention and Completion; and College and University Climate.

Here’s the link to the complete agenda: Latina/o K-12 and Higher Education Policy Agenda.

Also consider reading the recent Texas Observer article, “A New Agenda for Texas’ Hispanic-Majority Schools” by Patrick Michels

-Patricia D. López, Ph.D.

Announcements

Below is information for two upcoming events that I will be participating in:

National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Annual Conference

Salt Lake City, Utah | April 9-12, 2014

Conference Theme: Fragmented Landscapes in Chicana and Chicano Studies: Deliberation,Innovation or Extinction?

Roundtable Participant: “Chicana/o Studies in the Flesh: A Narrative of Agency, Commitment, and Connection.” Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 2:30 – 3:40 p.m. Co-participants: The Honorable Luis Alejo, California State Assembly; The Honorable Karina Cervantez, City of Watsonville and the University of California, Santa Cruz; Celina Moreno, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF).

Student Symposium Chair: “Engaging Chicana/o Issues in a Climate of Political Hostility: Chicana/o Studies, Affirmative Action, and Women’s Reproductive Rights in Context.” Saturday, April 12, 2014 at 10:40 – 11:50 a.m. Student participants: Marianna Anaya, University of California, Los Angeles; Angelina Loyola, San Jose State University; Samantha Robles, University of Texas at Austin.

Texas A & M Student Conference on Latino Affairs Sponsored by the Committee for the Awareness of Mexican American Culture (CAMAC), the Student Conference on Latino Affairs (SCOLA)

April 4-5, 2014 | College Station, Texas

Conference Theme: Latinos Rising: Empowering Leaders in Civic Engagement

Presentation: “Wide Awake and Calling Shots: Engaging the Texas State Legislature”

Description: During the past three legislative sessions (2009, 2011, 2013), certain Texas legislators have made aggressive attempts to push forth highly contentious policy agendas; some have succeeded and others failed. Among them are unprecedented cuts to public and higher education, anti-immigrant and anti-Mexican/Latin@ policies, diminishing access to healthcare, and the obstruction of reproductive rights. While the Legislature remains a battleground, these same sessions have witnessed notable acts of courage—primarily among Mexican American/Latin@s—within, and outside, of the pink dome. This discussion will engage participants in the politics of the Texas State Legislature. Dr. López brings six years of expertise participating in, and researching the interworkings of the state legislature, the policymaking process, and how external actors—such as university students—traverse this political landscape in meaningful ways. The discussion will also include insights on existing and newly forming efforts that are placing Mexican American/Latin@ and marginalized communities at the fore.

Texas Education Policy & the Politics of the Latino Majority