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New Raza Left

Liberation Requires a Real Education

by Ray Sosa |
January 1, 2001

Los Angeles, CA - On Nov. 18, members of the New Raza Left and other community members came together to draft a list of demands for a campaign to make changes in the deplorable conditions of the Los Angeles public school system. The meeting identified three main areas of focus and came up with demands to be placed on the school district.

The first issue is educational curriculum. We demand that Chicana/o Studies, which teaches about the history of Mexicana/os and their social, cultural, political and economic experiences in the United States, be given full institutional status in every college campus.

Chicana/o Studies needs to be included in the social studies curriculum of grades K-12. We plan to focus on curriculum development in the present school system, targeting a few schools in the East Los Angeles area, and mobilizing students around these issues.

The second issue was building more schools. The state of California needs to use public funds to build more schools rather than more jails, especially in densely populated areas, to eliminate the overcrowded classrooms.

The schools we have are in bad condition. There needs to be a clean up of all school campuses (especially the student rest rooms), along with more money for repairs, for safety and to modernize the public school campuses.

The third issue was bilingual education. The demands are to put more pressure on the L.A. District School Board to inform parents of their rights to request a Bilingual Waiver. A waiver is a parent's request form to receive bilingual education classes for their child. We demand equal education for all students on all "track systems." Some track systems have "honors" curriculum and others have "regular" curriculum. This type of tracking only causes more academic inequality among students. Standardized testing, like the SAT 9, which discriminates on the basis of language, class and race must be stopped.

The last demand is to repeal Proposition 227. This state proposition abolished bilingual education in the California public school system.

Liberation requires a real education. The current policies of the L.A. school district are discriminatory and under-educate our kids. Research documents that holding students back in first grade increases the chances that a student will drop out by 50%, and that holding students back in second grade increases the chances of dropout by 90%. The Harvard Civil Rights Project found that L.A. county schools in communities of color are 12 times more likely to lack basic materials than schools in white communities, and are six times as likely to have less experienced teachers.

For further information contact
NEW RAZA LEFT
511 ECHANDIA
LOS ANGELES, CA 90003
(323) 221-4000

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