Teachers' skillful efforts to instill pride and self respect in their Hispanic students is thwarted
This is perhaps the best of the many excellent Independent Lens films I've seen.
Hispanic students in the Unified Tuscon school district had very high dropout rates. The high school added ethnic study programs for Hispanic, black, Asian, etc. students.
Several excellent teachers are portrayed in their classroom of Hispanic ethnic studies in a Tuscon high school. Their deep bonds with the students are obvious.
Students who previously were indifferent to their schoolwork become motivated and successful. The content is interesting and relevant to them. They develop a deepening understanding of their culture. And their self respect blossoms as their internalized self contempt is eroded. Students are taught to love and respect themselves and others.
I have a cousin who lived in Tuscon and she told me that Hispanics are viewed by most whites as at the bottom of the heap -- below blacks, i.e they are oppressed.
A teacher was using the text, "Pedagogy of the Oppressed". The index has entries like Marx or Che Guevara. Reportedly, a teacher said Benjamin Franklin was racist.
Well, we had a group of founding fathers who wrote "All men are created equal . . . inalienable rights of life, liberty, . . . Freedom and justice for all . . ." and these guys OWNED slaves. And All of the thirteen colonies had slavery.
Well, an ignorant and racist - IMHO - male white school board member*decides that teaching factual history constitutes denigration of our founding fathers. And a text that has Marx or Che on the index is subversive and has no place on a classroom.
And so, despite the success of ethnic studies raising graduation rates to 93%, this program should be stopped. A battle ensues.
*I hate this guy. BTW,I am a white male in my 60's.
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