Escuelitas and children's literature of Texas




Barragán Goetz, Philis M.

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Between 1880 and 1930, ideas around inclusion and exclusion in American society often revolved around the increasing importance of language and citizenship. Within this context, ethnic Mexicans’ relationship to education—their enrollment in the public school system, as well as in escuelitas—provided a means for both resisting and complying with the dominant United States society’s demands for a linguistically homogenous populace. The escuelitas’ proliferation during various time periods points to an unfulfilled need, and likewise, their decline signals their growing irrelevance amongst the ethnic Mexican population. Essentially, their existence—their rises and their falls— points to junctures of ethnic Mexican cultural negotiation. This dissertation examines the proliferation and decline of escuelitas in the context of the expansion of the public school system, modernization, progressivism, and the Mexican Revolution. Mapping escuelitas’ vicissitudes against the backdrop of these historical developments also maps the role of education in the transformation of how Texas Mexicans became Mexican Americans.


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