Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Transformative Education and Social Change

Committee Chairperson

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jason Wozniak, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Elmore, Ph.D.


In this thesis, I will explore the historical undervaluing and miseducation of Latino youth in U.S. public schools using a lens of decolonial theory to combat the systems of oppression that continue to affect our Latino youth today. First, I explain what experiences brought me to this concern and provide a clear theoretical framework to explain my philosophy of education. I also articulate key concepts from decolonial scholars and educational activists that inform my own work on the educational experiences of Latino students. In Chapter Three, I provide a historical review of how a public school system rooted in colonialism and racial capitalism has delegitimized Latino students’ languages, cultural practices, and epistemologies and sought to replace them with Eurocentric values and ways of being. In Chapter Four, I present a practical outline and guide for my intervention project: a high school Spanish curriculum that I developed for native and heritage speakers of Spanish entitled “Critical Latino Studies.” Finally, I evaluate the effectiveness of the program in establishing a safe space for Latino youth to form a learning community that uplifts their ethnic identities, cultural values, and linguistic practices, while challenging systems of oppression.