CRC Tools in the Classroom: See the Connections

Professor Gloria M. Rodriguez, School of Education, University of California, Davis

Gloria Rodriguez

I teach an undergraduate course through Chicana/o Studies called Political Economy of the Chicana/o Community every spring quarter. I have three mid-term papers that are opportunities for students to use publicly-accessible data (via websites, mostly) to do some analysis of the education, health, and labor conditions that intersect to shape the political economies of California’s Chicana/o-Latina/o communities.

Every year, there is some frustration — and lots of learning — about the (in)ability to find data in these three areas of interest that can be tied to the same geographical area. What typically occurs is that students have to make compromises, moving from presenting a school district or school-level analysis of their selected community, then having to present a city or county level analysis of the health and labor conditions. This means they lose a lot of that local connection when they work toward synthesizing what they’ve learned.

In 2013, one of my students was able to bring a CRC colleague to help the class use the pilot version of the Putting Youth on the Map (PYOM) tools, and it was a fantastic resource! The students who tried it were excited to see the connections among the data tables and maps. They also came away with a much deeper appreciation for why having full information and multiple data sources can empower communities to hold folks in power positions accountable for the challenges and barriers that keep people — particularly youth — from thriving.

It was an excellent supplement to the other data sources that the students were using. The layered design that allows for disaggregation of the PYOM data was useful to my students. I look forward to learning more about it, and if available next time I teach this course, I will certainly make it known to my students.

Gloria Rodriguez is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education and the Co-Director of the CANDEL (Capital Area North Doctorate in Educational Leadership) Program at UC Davis. Her work focuses on the educational conditions and trajectories of Chicana/o-Latina/o communities, other communities of color, and low-income populations in the U.S. Her current research explores notions of educational investment. Learn more about Dr. Rodriguez’s work at

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