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“Revolutionizing Culturally Relevant Education: How Mexican American Studies can Inform Teacher Standards”

Author: Janet Rodriguez

Department: UIC Institute for Policy & Civic Engagement

Advisor: Dr. Joseph K. Hoereth, UIC IPCE

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the success of Mexican American Studies (MAS), recommend criteria to replicate it and, more specifically, to use MAS’s example to assess the effectiveness of the new Illinois State Board of Education Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading Standards that will be in use for 2025. This study’s methods include a case study of the MAS program as well as a literature review on culturally relevant pedagogies. The scope of this research is limited to utilizing the successful case of MAS in Arizona as a benchmark for evaluating the CRTLS. The strong positive correlation between taking MAS courses and having high grade point averages, passing standardized tests with above-average scores, and having a greater likelihood of graduation demands that we glean generalizable lessons from this program in order to bring equity to the educational system in the United States. Theories of culturally responsive teaching have built off of examples like MAS, which can help improve the Illinois State Board of Education’s CRTLS. This research recommends measures of expansion of state standards to some degree on the local level in order to better support teachers through curriculum specialists; actively work with universities and local colleges to provide students k-12 with resources and reduce the achievement gap; A fully funded program can reduce teacher resistance to implement the standards of illinois.

Keywords: Mexican Americans Studies, achievement gap, Culturally Relevant Teaching and Leading Standards, culturally relevant pedagogy