Letter: Students learn less about influence on U.S. history

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A frequent complaint we hear in San Antonio is that history classes do not sufficiently cover the influence of Spain and Mexico on the history of the United States.

In HIST 1301, United States History 1, and Texas History classes I’ve taught at this college, I have assigned students to read a good historical novel written by Tina Juárez, a Hispanic Texas educator. “Call No Man Master” describes life in Mexico during the early 19th century and the causes and progress of the war for independence. Action in the story then shifts to Texas to discuss the causes and events of the Texas war for independence.

Unfortunately, a new Alamo Colleges policy that was announced in March will make it impossible for me to use this book or assign any book other than the textbook that adjuncts are told to use beginning this year.

I like the required textbook and do not object to using it. The text is a good book but covers all aspects of U.S. history. The influence of Spain and Mexico now will be a minor part of the narrative. Students will then learn considerably less about the early history and prehistory of this region of North America.

“Call No Man Master” is not an expensive book. Arte Público Press, a publisher at the University of Houston, lists the book for less than $20. In March, I found the book available online priced at 51 cents for a used copy — plus shipping and handling, of course.

The new Alamo Colleges policy will make critics’ complaints more true in the future. Beginning in fall, Alamo Colleges students will learn less about the influence of Spain and Mexico on the history of the United States.

Jerry Robert Poole

History adjunct


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