Grades 6 – Adult
Scene Selection • Closed Captioned
A film by Enrique Alemán, Jr., and Rudy Luna
“A powerful documentary. I highly recommend this film to educators and students. Stolen Education provides a historical foundation for understanding current forms of racism that continue to operate in our schools and shape the educational experiences of our children. Stolen Education demands educators take a serious look at current policies that continue to underserve and marginalize students of color and linguistic minorities.”
–Charise Pimentel, Assistant Professor, Dept of Curriculum and Instruction, Texas State University
–Educational Media Reviews Online
"Absolutely outstanding -- truly one of the most authentic and important presentations of its kind I've ever seen."
- Dr. Tahita Fulkerson, President, Tarrant County College-Trinity River Campus
“A heart-wrenching story of unparalleled discrimination perpetrated against Mexican American children by the school board, administrators, and teachers…the effects of which impacted their lives into adulthood.”
– Desert Magazine
"Recommended. A solid remembrance of a significant chapter in Hispanic history that deserves attention...detailing how the Texas schools used racism and fear to wreck the lives of a number of intelligent Mexican-American children."
– Video Librarian
CineSol Film Festival
Ruby Mountain Film Festival
38th Annual Bilingual Education Conference, Texas A&M University-Kingsville
Civil Rights Program, Institute of Texan Cultures, University of Texas-San Antonio
College of Education Critical Film Series, Texas State University
Office for Equity & Inclusion, University of New Mexico
As a 9 year-old second grader, Lupe had been forced to remain in the first grade for three years, not because of her academic performance but solely because she was Mexican American. She was one of eight young students who testified in a federal court case in 1956 to end the discriminatory practice (Hernandez et al. v. Driscoll Consolidated Independent School District), one of the first post-Brown desegregation court cases to be litigated.
Degraded for speaking Spanish and dissuaded from achieving academically, Mexican American students were relegated to a “beginner,” “low,” and then “high” first grade – a practice that was not uncommon across the Southwest. School officials argued in the case that this practice was necessary because the "retardation of Latin children" would adversely impact the education of White children.
The film portrays the courage of these young people, testifying in an era when fear and intimidation were used to maintain racial hierarchy and control. The students won the case, but for almost sixty years the case was never spoken about in the farming community where they lived despite its significance.
Stolen Education presents the full story and impact for the first time, featuring the personal accounts of most of those who were at the center of the court case. The film documents not only an important moment in Mexican American history, but also provides important context to understand our current educational system’s enduring legacy of segregation, discrimination and racism.