Date of this Version
Published in E. T. Hamann, S. Wortham, & E. G. Murillo, Jr., eds., Revisiting Education in the New Latino Diaspora (Westport, CT: Ablex Publishing, 2015), pp xi-xv.
I share this short autobiography because I think it ties together so much of this book. In Chapter 1, Hamann and Harklau (reprising their chapter for the 2010 Handbook on Latinos and Education) acknowledge that in emphasizing the “new” of the New Latino Diaspora (NLD) the first edition of Education in the New Latino Diaspora (Wortham, Murillo, & Hamann, 2002) made invisible Latinos like my dad and uncle who, per the construct of the NLD, settled in Kansas earlier than the NLD narrative describes. Yet as the comparison of my northwestern Kansas childhood and my sister’s illuminates, something did change back where I am from. There is a NLD, and there was a reaction to it by more established populations that also impacted how my family was viewed.
As a product of the early Latino diaspora of the 1970s in Kansas, I am able to see my family’s experiences represented in many of the narratives and perspectives shared in this book. As a researcher and practitioner working in a NLD state, I feel this volume will be an essential addition to my library, as each chapter raises many critical points for consideration. As I think about K–State’s challenges and opportunities as we work with schools and school districts, I suspect I will draw a lot from the chapters by University of Pennsylvania colleagues (Chapters 9 and 14) as we consider what the academy can and should do to support improved education in the NLD. As I think about the descriptive statistics shared in Chapter 17 about the NLD continuing to get larger and more established (even as new immigration tapers off) and in Chapter 1 that suggests Latino high school completion rates lag those of other populations in NLD states, I find myself concurrently both invigorated and angry. This matters for more and more kids and more and more places. It is not yet as good/successful as it needs to be. I don’t say that purely abstractly, nor about some obscure popula- tion. I am a sister of a student who struggled in the NLD; I am the teacher of teachers who will or will not adequately understand and support NLD students and parents. And I am a mom who lives in Kansas. My children, my most sacred and intense connection to the future, are getting a public education as part of the NLD. I join the various authors here in declaring: “We have to get this right.” You must see me.