Despite the rise in Latino population in the United States, academic achievement in schools is scarcely recognized among Latino youth. Dr. Jason G. Irizarry, an assistant professor of multicultural education in the Neag School of Education’s Department of Curriculum and Instruction, analyzed this issue of underachievement in his recently published book, The Latinization of U.S. Schools: Successful Teaching and Learning in Shifting Cultural Contexts.
Dr. Irizarry’s inspiration came from a high school student of his, who told him on his first day that, “Latinos are not smart; we are just not smart.” After conducting his professional development research with Latino youth (through Youth Participatory Action Research), Dr. Irizarry collaborated with his students to write the text, proving his trust in their abilities and further driving his message home that ethnicity should not limit achievement.
“I really felt committed that their stories had to be told,” Dr. Irizarry said.
Each of Dr. Irizarry’s students contributed a topic or issue of interest for a chapter in The Latinization of U.S. Schools they felt needed to be addressed. The author’s intention was to not only amplify the voices of Latino youth, but also prove to his students that they were, in fact, smart.
The text examines the issue of schools lacking the acknowledgment of Latino accomplishments through the passionate voices of youth and empirically based recommendations. Written from the students’ perspective, Dr. Irizarry’s book provides inspiration and information for teachers, students and those concerned with the future of education in the United States.
“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, yes, brilliance—of Latino students in America today,” said Sonia Nieto, professor emerita of language, literacy and culture at the University of Massachusetts.
For more information about the book, contact Dr. Irizarry at firstname.lastname@example.org.