Natalia Mehlman Petrzela

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The intersection between Spanish-bilingual education and sex education might not be immediately apparent. Yet, as Natalia Mehlman Petrzela shows in her new book, Classroom Wars: Language, Sex, and the Making of Modern Political Culture (Oxford University Press, 2015), the meeting between these two paradigms of education firmly connects in California during the 1960s and 70s. Under the backdrop of California during an era of the sexual revolution, a dramatic influx of Latinos, and awakened protest movements, Dr. Petrzela, assistant professor at The New School, explores this historical landscape of education and society. From well-known political icons like Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, to lesser-known figures such as Ernesto Galarza, and even details from regular people who lived the moment, Classroom Wars provides an in-depth and nuanced look into this interesting intersection in American educational history.

Dr. Petrzela joins New Books in Education for the interview and you can follow her on Twitter at @nataliapetrzela or find her website at For questions or comments on the podcast, you can also find the host on Twitter at @PoliticsAndEd.


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