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Authentic Cariño

Transformative Schooling for Latinx Youth

Marnie W. Curry Angela Valenzuela

256 pages
Teachers College Press

As the population of Latinx students grows in U.S. public schools and our nation seeks to address systemic inequities, racism, and xenophobia, this counternarrative provides inspiration to those wishing to reinvigorate schools and build a more caring and just world. Authentic Cariño documents the innovative practices, successes, and struggles of a full-service community high school serving mostly low-income Latinx youth in an economically depressed California city. Based on 4 years of qualitative research, the author examines how educators, families, and community members established and sustained a social justice school that immersed youth in authentic cariño—a holistic blend of familial, intellectual, and critical care. By nurturing students’ moral, social, personal, and academic development, the school produced college-bound graduates ready to be agents of change in their own lives and in their communities. This case study synthesizes and extends scholarship on color-conscious, healing-centered educational care and offers rich portrayals of praxis that illuminate how schools can equip marginalized youth to thrive. All royalties from this book will support Molina High School and a college scholarship for urban youth.

Book Features:

  • Advances a fully elaborated model that specifies three fundamental dimensions of care: familial, intellectual, and critical.
  • Provides an in-depth account of a high school that successfully institutionalized authentic cariño schoolwide.
  • Advocates for “college and community readiness,” conveying to students how additional schooling would enable them to become community change agents capable of contributing to collective uplift.
  • Offers insights into the structures, processes, and complications that arise when a school commits to authentic cariño as a path to promote engaged learning and social transformation.
  • Shows what is possible when educators in partnership with local communities dare to care deeply and widely for Latinx youth.
Author Bio

Marnie W. Curry is an associate researcher at the University of California–Santa Cruz.