The university’s oldest multicultural center continues to be at the forefront of transformational education access for diverse and bilingual learners
A new book chronicling the BUENO Center for Multicultural Education, the University of Colorado Boulder’s oldest multicultural-serving center on campus, is set to be released the first week of December.
"¡Qué BUENO!: A History of Advocacy and Care for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education” commemorates the BUENO Center's nearly 50-year history. Founded in 1976 as Bilinguals United for Education and New Opportunities (BUENO) Center and housed in the CU Boulder School of Education, the acronym also works in Spanish as Bilingües Unidos Para Educación y Nuevas Oportunidades (BUENO). This retrospective captures the transformative journey of the center as it nears this significant milestone.
“The nationally recognized BUENO Center — and by extension the university and the state of Colorado — has long been at the forefront of research and programming for culturally and linguistically diverse learners through its mission to facilitate equitable education opportunities for bilingual learners, their families and the educators who serve them,” said Phil DiStefano, Chancellor of CU Boulder and former dean of the School of Education.
Nationwide, bilingual learners are the fastest growing populations of students in K-12 public education, and by 2025, one out of every four children in the nation will be bilingual learners, according to the National Education Association.
The new book chronicles the BUENO Center’s innovative pathways and access to educational opportunities for historically underrepresented groups, particularly Latinos, and their access to comprehensive professional learning opportunities for educators and educational leaders.
Concomitant to increased access to education, the book documents the role that the BUENO Center played in research and the development of new knowledge about Spanish-speaking children and families that influenced the movement for bilingual education in the U.S. and resulted in the creation of the field of Bilingual Special Education.
Leonard Baca, who founded the BUENO Center and led it for 40 years, is featured prominently in the book. Baca has been aptly considered the “godfather of the field of bilingual special education.”
Under Baca’s leadership and as a result of his vision, the BUENO Center has garnered more than $150 million in grant funding, and its faculty and staff have published more than 500 academic publications. The center and its programs have supported countless students, including: more 8,400 migrant students earning high school diplomas, over 500 students attending college through the College Assistance Migrant Program; over 300 paraprofessionals earning college degrees; over 900 teachers gaining Master’s degrees; and over 100 students earning doctoral degrees.
The book is divided into six sections, with chapters written by education leaders, many of whom are alumni of the BUENO Center. These individuals' lives have been forever changed by the center. The sections delve into Baca's vision, the center's history and the development of teaching innovations and pathway programs for historically marginalized students. These initiatives, cultivated within the center, persist in having an enormous influence on Colorado and the nation today.
“Dr. Leonard Baca was known as the gentle and humble custodian of our collective dream for equitable educational opportunities for culturally and linguistically diverse students,” said Dr. Tania Hogan, executive director of the BUENO Center and one of the book’s co-authors. “His vision remains just as relevant today as it was when he established BUENO, inspiring its many pathways that continue to provide access and thrive today.
“The ¡Qué BUENO! book is for every educator, student, family and concerned citizen who shares that dream of a truly inclusive education system where all learners are seen, understood and supported.”
¡Qué BUENO! was published by Velázquez Press, and it is available for purchase beginning Dec. 7 at: velazquezpress.com/es/products/que-bueno-a-history-of-advocacy-and-care-for-culturally-and-linguistically-diverse-education.