Analyzing Race and Education: Dr. Luis Urrieta

When analyzing education, Dr. Luis Urrieta, Jr, Professor of Cultural Studies in Education at UT Austin and Gates Millennium Scholarship recipient, is a professor not afraid to bring the truth. Through his curriculum, his students identify how inequality creates barriers to minorities’ education. Professor Urrieta’s course discovers the power structures that were placed in the education system and its critical history.

This could be a touchy topic for some when thinking about the past and present challenges of minorities in American education, but looking into this perpetual issue is essential. Professor Urrieta’s students are able to analyze and reflect on the interactions of minority communities and how they were affected.

Urrieta not only pushes his students to be future educators but also inspires future generations to become advocates. By giving his students a first hand experience, they are able to witness how their community could be both an asset and a barrier.

According to Medium, Urrieta started this course thirteen years ago. The framework involves taking his students to different communities and schools. For instance, one of their visits was Austin’s Zavala Elementary, which was originally built for students as a segregated school for Mexican-American students. Additionally, their trip to George Sanchez’ civil rights activism for Latinx communities was another great example of how minorities were affected by the education system.

The class studied the archives of Sanchez’s work at the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection where they critically analyzed reports and photos on Texas’ segregated education system. This gave them a better understanding of how minority communities were affected and how those interactions shaped education in America today.

At the end of the semester, in a field report, the students critically analyze, reflect, and describe their findings of how race is connected to education. By visiting and volunteering at schools, they are able to gain a deeper perception of the current education system.

According to Medium, Urrieta’s goal is to make sure his students become advocates for minority students through their own curriculum as professors.

For more information on Professor Urrieta‘s curriculum on Medium, click here.

Photo credit: Medium