The New Mestiza: A Memoir of a Latino Teacher

Letters to the Editor: Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, why haven’t you resigned? The “lifer” has left office Kevin de León, the new chairman of the N.M. Democratic Party, had the same reaction…

The New Mestiza: A Memoir of a Latino Teacher

Letters to the Editor: Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, why haven’t you resigned?

The “lifer” has left office

Kevin de León, the new chairman of the N.M. Democratic Party, had the same reaction I had after reading his biography, “The New Mestiza.”

The author tells us, “As an immigrant Latino, my family was forced to go to a private school in the South and live without the opportunities that other Hispanics, including my brother, enjoyed in New Mexico. We moved a short drive from my parents’ home to Santa Fe, where I attended high school.

“But my grades were abysmal, and I didn’t do so well on college entrance exams. With my parents’ encouragement, I attended community college for two years, graduated, and moved to Albuquerque. That’s when my education really began. I graduated from the University of New Mexico with a BA in English literature and a BA in communication. I majored in writing because my dad, an educator, said I would probably turn out to be a writer.

“After graduation, I moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA Extension School, which is a wonderful thing. Then I studied at Cal State Northridge, got a master’s degree in English and communications, and got my teaching credential. And I was offered a job as a high school teacher by the local school district.

“But I decided to apply to Stanford, which was a little higher priced but offered its own academic program. I interviewed with them and got the job, and we moved to a place in Palo Alto called the Stanford Graduate School of Education.”

As the author said, “It was a wonderful opportunity, but I soon discovered that Stanford graduate students don’t like the idea of working with adults, especially not in small, rural schools. So I went to a different school, the San Francisco State University School of Education. It was a very different experience. There was no problem getting teaching credentials–I was the first person to obtain one–but the school was located in a ghetto, and I was not given much autonomy. I was expected to do whatever I was told.

“The job lasted eight years before I finally got a raise and a transfer to El Camino College, which was located in a place called San Jose, near Walnut Creek. I worked there for five years and got a Ph.D in education, which opened new doors

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