"We Want Better Education!"

The 1960s Chicano Student Movement, School Walkouts, and the Quest for Educational Reform in South Texas

978-1-64843-088-6 Hardcover (Printed Case)
6.12 x 9.25 x 0 in
296 pp. 15 b&w photos. Map. 3 appendixes. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 11/09/2023


  • Hardcover (Printed Case) $49.95 s
In “We Want Better Education!”, James B. Barrera offers a detailed and comprehensive analysis of the educational, cultural, and political issues of the Chicano Movement in Texas, which remains one of the lesser-known social and political efforts of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. This movement became the political training ground for greater Chicano empowerment for students. By the 1970s, it was these students who helped to organize La Raza Unida Party in Texas.
This book explores the conditions faced by students of Mexican origin in public schools throughout the South Texas region, including Westside San Antonio, Edcouch-Elsa, Kingsville, and Crystal City. Barrera focuses on the relationship of Chicano students and their parents with the school systems and reveals the types of educational deficiencies faced by such students that led to greater political activism. He also shows how school-related issues became an important element of the students’ political and cultural struggle to gain a quality education and equal treatment. Protests enabled students and their supporters to gain considerable political leverage in the decision-making process of their schools.
Barrera incorporates information collected from archives throughout the state of Texas, including statistical data, government documents, census information, oral history accounts, and legal records. Of particular note are the in-depth interviews he conducted with numerous former students and community activists who participated or witnessed the various “walkouts” or student protests. “We Want Better Education!” is a major contribution to the historiography of social movements, Mexican American studies, and twentieth-century Texas and American history.

Elma Dill Russell Spencer Series in the West and Southwest

Published by Texas A&M University Press