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Mexican American Education Project



The Mexican American Education Project at Sacramento State- CSU-Sacramento. 
Project Co-directors Steve Arvizu and Duane Campbell, along with Ricardo Torres, Cesar Chavez, Fr. Keith Kenny and others during a training visit in Sacramento.  Ca. 1972. Photo  c courtesy of Hector Gonzalez. 

Mexican American Education Project. By Duane Campbell.

The Mexican American Education Project was established in 1968  directed by Clark Taylor, in the Department ofAnthropology on the campus (1968–1973). The project  was an attempt to prepare educational change agents to overcome the decades of educational neglect suffered by Mexican American students in schools. The U.S. Office of Education first funded the program as an Experienced Teacher Fellowship Program. We recruited Mexican American Teachers  and others to prepare them as change agents. Some of the students in this program include Olivia Castellano, Jose Montoya, Steve Arvizu, Rene Merino, Dolores Delgado (Campbell), and Armando Ayala.

The program was originally located in the Department of Anthropology. The degree granted was an MA in Social Science with an emphasis in Anthropology. The project produced significant funds for the university ($5 million in five years) and led to the hiring of many new Chicano and Mexicano faculty. At the founding of the program in 1968, the CSU system only had 30 Mexican American graduate students in the entire system. The effort at Sacramento produced 25 graduate students each year in Sacramento alone. The mission of this project was to improve the educationalopportunities of Mexican, Chicano and migrant students in California.  The author (Duane Campbell )was hired in 1969 by the project to develop a curriculum intervention system. We began to work with Dos Rios Elementary School in North Sacramento as a laboratory school site and he was later appointed as an Assistant Professor in the School of Education.

Dr. Campbell became the co-director of the MAEP in 1970 for one year. After three years of focus on school change, the Mexican American EducationProject began to place increased emphasis on the School of Education. Courses were developed in the School on Teaching English as a Second Language and a reform of the existing course, "Teaching the Culturally Disadvantaged" was insisted upon. The School of Education also had a Teacher Corp program from 1972–1974, which brought many ethnic minority students to the School.

During 1970- 1974  period, federal funds were designed for capacity building. A goal of the MAEP was to develop enough faculty to sustain the program with state funds. In the 1971–1973 period, student activism on the campus, often including the students in the Mexican American Education Project (MAEP), helped to  establish the Ethnic Studies and Chicano Studies programs on campus.

Dr. Tom Carter, an established authority on education of Mexican Americans became Dean of the School of Education in 1972. In 1973–74, the MAEP completed its funding. In 1974, Dr. Robert Segura, in Education received a grant for an Experienced Teacher Fellowship Program (Title VII) and later a future teachers program. Rene Merino transferred from Anthropology to become the Assistant Director of this program. Adela Fernandez was the office manager. These federal projects became one of the sources for the development of the Department of Bilingual/Multicultural Education.

  The new program prepared Experienced Teachers in Education to work with Mexican American children. Teachers received up to $5,000 per year to take a year off and to work on their Masters Degree in Education. By 1976, the funding Title VII programs were transferred to local school districts and to doctoral programs at other  universities. Doctoral programs are far more expensive, and therefore most funds were used up and few funds remained available for our students. We could usually pay only tuition and fees. We had developed a graduate program in multicultural education during the period of Title VII funding.

  The Mexican American Education Project prepared over 200 graduates who continued on to provide leadership for educational efforts throughout the state. 

Student leaders in Mexican American Education Project

Arturo Aviña, Tanis Ibara and other student leaders from the Mexican American Education Project meeting with Cesar Chavez, Steve Arvizu and others.  1973.  These student leaders were elected President and Vice President of the Student Association at Sac State. 

Photo courtesy of Marie Guttierez Aviña. 

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