Fueled largely by significant increases in the Latino population, the racial, ethnic, and linguistic texture of the United States is changing rapidly. Nowhere is this 'Latinisation' of America more evident than in schools. The dramatic population growth among Latinos in the United States has not been accompanied by gains in academic achievement. Estimates suggest that approximately half of Latino students fail to complete high school, and few enroll in and complete college. The Latinization of U.S. Schools centres on the voices of Latino youth. It examines how the students themselves make meaning of the policies and practices within schools. The student voices expose an inequitable opportunity structure that results in depressed academic performance for many Latino youth. Each chapter concludes with empirically based recommendations for educators seeking to improve their practice with Latino youth, stemming from a multiyear participatory action research project conducted by Irizarry and the student contributors to the text.
“Articulating what many know from experience but do not find reflected in the studies on Latino education, Jason Irizarry and his high school coauthors provide readers an insightful, inspiring, and powerful view of the capabilities—and often brilliance—of Latino students in America today. Breaking the mold of presenting Latino/a students as a group incapable of academic success and riddled with deficiencies, The Latinization of U.S. Schools confirms that what students need most is the belief in their unique abilities and the support to achieve their goals. Teachers and schools would do well to heed this message.”
--Sonia Nieto, University of Massachusetts; author of Dear Paulo: Letters from Those Who Dare Teach (Paradigm 2008) and Why We Teach (2005).
The Latinization of U.S. Schools illustrates the potency of participatory action research that intimately involves high school students in knowledge creation that surrounds their own lives and experiences. With eloquence, passion, and ringing clarity, Jason Irizarry and the youth from his research collaborative articulate a vision of schooling in which getting educated is synonymous with retaining their cultural, linguistic, and community-based identities. This is a courageous, inspiring, and life-saving book that truly succeeds in raising the heretofore silent voices of Latino students.”
—Angela Valenzuela, University of Texas at Austin; author of Leaving Children Behind: How “Texas-Style” Accountability Fails Latino Youth (2004) and Subtractive Schooling: U.S.-Mexican Youth and the Politics of Caring (1999).
"Through the collective capacity to construct knowledge, Irizarry engenders a space for students to realize what they already know but adults often fail to acknowledge . . . Young Latinos will become the next generation of leaders in this society and we can no longer afford to ignore their intellectual capacities. Irizarry's FUERTE is a model that can save us from losing out on the resources of an entire generation." –- --Julio Cammarota, The University of Arizona
“The research presented here was conducted by urban Latino high school students with their teacher Irizarry (Institute from Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, U. of Connecticut). The book emerged from Project FUERTE, a long-term participatory actionresearch project that engages Latino youth in urban schools in meaningful, co-constructed research while enhancing their academic skills and familiarizing them with the conventions of Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR). The students wrote and dictated their personal stories and school experience through ‘testimonios,’ a qualitative methodology springing from the field of Latin American studies and scholarship in Latino critical race theory. Although the students originally wrote and spoke in informal language, slang, and hybrid language, the author worked with each student to transform their writing into more traditional academic language. Students also conducted reviews of literature, with Irizarry’s guidance, and these findings are integrated into their testimonies. After an overview of Latino education, chapters look at issues such as deficit perspectives of Latino students, undocumented Latino students, and school discipline and exclusion. In the final section of the book, chapters co-written by the author with college students offer personal reflections on YPAR. Each chapter concludes with three concrete recommendations for teachers and discussion of implications for teaching and teacher education.” --Eithne O’Leyne, October 2011 Reference and Research Book News
"Recommended" -- CHOICE, April 2012