40 Years Later, It's Time For Another Latino Walkout

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Since the only thing that continues to motivate educators and politicians is the Average Daily Attendance (ADA) money that is collected for warm butts in school seats where no education takes place, I would strongly support another Latino walkout.

However, this time members of the Latino community and those who support them as the majority population in the State of California need to have a clear platform of what the education establishment must agree to in order to bring the walkout to an end. Given the huge level of daily student truancy and movement from school to school without ever being engaged in a relevant process of appropriate education geared to the precise level the students are at, there must be a clearly stated platform that all elements of students and parents and the educators that support them require that all live up to in order for this walkout to be something more than more wasted time outside of school.

It is even possible for educators and students to meet in alternative venues where education can continue with the only difference being that LAUSD doesn't get paid for it. In the last 7 months of writing perdaily and observing the contempt which LAUSD continues to treat anybody or any reform that would truly require it to do business in a different way, it has become clear to me that the litmus test of any real education reform is the extent to which LAUSD is required to change its clearly long failed policies.

Creating Latino Studies programs at UCLA and CSULA in 1970 to buy off the Latino leadership of those demanding an equitable public education system will not suffice this time around. Either their is a clear and enforceable commitment by all concerned to stop social promotion and institute pragmatic education by qualified teachers at the actual level where the students can actually benefit and progress or the walkout will continue. The LAUSD school daycare system must be closed once and for all.

A good place to start building the platform necessary to build the active commitment to excellent public education in Los Angeles without excuses is www.perdaily.com. While it is intolerable to allow LAUSD to continue in its present form, there must be a grassroots movement that replaces LAUSD's accommodation to mediocrity approach to public education with one that is based on no excuses and a willingness to do what it takes to finally allow all of our children to reach their potential. What is the saddest fact that presently pervades public education policy in Los Angeles and elsewhere is the belief that minority students cannot really compete and attain with their White and Asian counterparts- regrettably this view is also held by too many minority educators.

While the generational process that continues to keep public education inferior and more segregated than it has every been in the past, clearly some real accommodations should be posited in engaging minority students at whatever level they are at by qualified teachers while never lessening the expectation that for all students the sky is the limit. The hardest day in bringing about this sea change in public education policy will be the first day that we get serious about teaching all our students and requiring them and their parents to also be committed and accountable. After that first day, the job should get easier and easier until all remnants of racist public education in America should be gone in the ten years necessary to clear out the culture of educational mediocrity that has afflicted and been tolerated in our schools for far too long.

From latinopoliticsblog.com:

More Disturbing Education Statistics -- Few Hispanic Dropouts Earn a GED

New Pew Hispanic Center Report released this week shows that Latinos once again are behind their white and black peers when it comes to educational certification after dropping out of high school. Dropping out of high school is horrible enough, but only one in ten Hispanic high school dropouts has obtained a GED. And unfortunately, the problem isn't just limited to immigrant Hispanics.

Associate Press reports:

"Richard Fry, a senior research associate at the center, said some of the Hispanics who did not finish high school are immigrants who may not have had any educational training in the United States. For these students, it takes time to learn and access information about earning a U.S. educational credential.

According to the report, the longer foreign-born Latinos without a high school degree are in the United States, the more likely they are to earn a GED.

But Fry said a puzzle still remains: Hispanics born in the United States who drop out of high school are also unlikely to have a GED. The report found that only 21 percent earn the credential."

There are several reasons people can point to for our lagging GED attainment including poverty and the immediate need to work, a lack of information about GED tutoring programs, ineffective community outreach for high school dropouts, and misplaced cultural priorities. But I think it's time we start taking our educational destiny into our own hands instead of waiting for the schools, our leadership, and others to come to the rescue. I have flipped through a GED test book, and anyone who speaks English or who has a working knowledge of English should be able to pass this test. People can request GED sample tests online, and most public libraries have sample test booklets.

If we don't commit to helping high school dropouts attain GED certification and continued education in vocational programs, we could face more trouble in the future. Overall, our high school and college completion rates have improved for all Americans. But at the bachelor's degree level, just 13% of Hispanic adults have completed an undergraduate degree, while 17.5% of black adults and 31% of white adults have earned bachelor's degrees. Asians blow everyone out of the water. For adults of Asian descent, 50% of them have earned bachelor's degrees. We have to stop being comfortable with being last in terms of educational attainment, and that change starts at home."

18

05 2010

4 Comments

As a follow-up to my comment of this morning and a response to Lenny's comment, I am a teacher of academic math at a large valley high school in its northeast quadrant. The most frustrating task, not just to me but to all math teachers, true for eight years now, is teaching algebra one. The students don't know basic arithmetic, don't study for tests, don't do homework, exhibit self-defeating behaviors. I don't see how this is LAUSD generating more low-level noncompetitors against whites and Asians. This culture needs to do some self-evaluation, and accept that not everyone should go to college. What about skilled and semi-skilled trades?

Latino students are set up to fail. They are systematically denied the foundational academic skills necessary to compete and to achieve mastery of secondary courses. There is nothing wrong with "traditional academics" or Latino students "motivation," if Latino students are held to the same standards that students in private schools are held to.

The most pernicious form of racism that still persists in LAUSD is the belief by too many teachers and administrators of all ethnicities that minor students are somehow incapable of competing and require accommodation.
This is self-serving nonsense to maintain the status quo in this country.

LAUSD is doing precisely what if has always done to deny Latino students and others the excellent public education they are entitled to so we don't lose our cheap unskilled labor source and the sons and daughters of the privileged do not have to compete against inherently smart Latino students which LAUSD continues to fulfill its mandate in sabotaging.

Ironically, the blowouts of the late sixties were over the denial of academics to Latino students. Now, we have gone overboard in the other direction, requiring every student to pass traditional academics, including such subjects as algebra and chemistry. Students sit in these classes with little background and/or motivation, and in their frustration become prime dropout material. And don't say to vary the modalities; there isn't time or space.

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