The book in question this time around, The Mexican American Studies Toolkit by Tony Diaz — a Mexican American studies advocate, professor and writer — was rejected on November 10.
After the board rejected the first textbook, they called for a second wave of submissions for a Mexican American studies textbook. Diaz, who was one of the biggest opponents of the first textbook, stepped up to the challenge, and submitted his textbook titled The Mexican American Studies Toolkit to the board in June.
After a panel found errors in the June draft, criticizing it as having "grave lack of historical context" and "informal tone and language" according to HuffPost, Diaz made some changes to address the panel's concerns by September. He added more than 100 pages of essays by Mexican American studies experts, according to the Texas Tribune. But his efforts ultimately failed to gain the approval of the board. Democrat members argued the process had been unfair to Diaz, who had little guidance from the board and was given one year instead of the usual two years to submit a textbook.
In a blog published in the Huffington Post after the board rejected his textbook, Diaz argued that his book "met and exceeded all the requirements and standards" set by the board, and he recommended they provide more time and clarity.
Diaz also criticized the board for not adopting a Mexican American studies course this session, and for not issuing a third call for submissions for Ethnic Studies textbooks, since the board has been talking about the issue for years but taken no concrete action.
The rejection is the latest update in the board’s unsuccessful mission to come up with an accurate Mexican American textbook.
Mexican American Heritage, which was the first book considered by the board and the only entry in the first submission call back in 2014, was rejected after expert reviewers found racist undertones and over 900 factual errors. According to the inaccurate textbook, Mexican American laborers are lazy compared to “American Industrialists,” the Civil War was a battle over state’s rights that had nothing to do with slavery, and Chicano activists sought to “destroy this society” during the Chicano rights movement of 1970s.
After the board unanimously voted to keep that controversial textbook from being used in public schools across the state, they announced a second call for submissions. But with Diaz's being the second book rejected by the board, it’s unclear when, or even if, the board will be able to approve an appropriate Mexican American textbook anytime soon.
Until then, public school teachers across the state will continue to be without an approved Mexican American studies textbook.