Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The future of North American education?

A charter school for Aztlanians:
Our mission is to provide urban children of immigrant native families an excellent education founded upon their own language, cultural values, and global realities through a k-8 California public charter school to fulfill our commitment to justice, freedom and dignity in education.

Our vision of education emphasizes a student centered school society that cultivates academic excellence, talents, humanist ethics, positive culture, and social consciousness for students grades K-8 and their parents. Our pedagogy is meant to enrich the human capacity to transform our reality into one that is more just. We believe our school will be an integral member of a community, capable of providing learning and leadership opportunities to the entire community.

Ancestral Mexican schooling ethos embodied social ideals and appreciations intended to develop the child as a complete person. The indigenous heart of our vision is a repossession of an identity denied from our children in standard schools.

From an interview with the school's founder and principal, Marcos Aguilar:
TCLA: How does learning different languages impact your students?

MA: By learning Nahuatl, they will be able to understand their relationship with nature (because language is based on our human relationship with nature) and be able to understand themselves as part of something larger, not as an isolated individual. They will be able to understand our own ancestral culture and our customs and traditions that are so imbued in the language. The importance of Nahutal is also academic because Nahuatl is based on a Math system, which we are also practicing. We teach our children how to operate a base 20 mathematical system and how to understand the relationship between the founders and their bodies, what the effects of astronomical forces and natural forces on the human body and the human psyche, our way of thinking and our way of expressing ourselves. And so the language is much more than just being able to communicate. When we teach Nahuatl, the children are gaining a sense of identity that is so deep, it goes beyond whether or not they can learn a certain number of vocabulary words in Nahuatl. It’s really about them understanding themselves as human beings. Everything we do here is about relationships.
TCLA: What do you recommend to students and parents who are frustrated with schooling and want to create change?

MA: If we want anything we have to organize ourselves. We should organize with other people who share that frustration and see what we can do to solve the problem. The people have to change from an attitude of asking for things to a practice of organizing things for ourselves. We have to get away from the welfare mentality and the welfare society and more and more develop self-reliance and resolve our problems by organizing our own resources.

TCLA: Finally, what do you see as the legacy of the Brown decision?

MA: If Brown was just about letting Black people into a White school, well we don’t care about that anymore. We don’t necessarily want to go to White schools. What we want to do is teach ourselves, teach our children the way we have of teaching. We don’t want to drink from a White water fountain, we have our own wells and our natural reservoirs and our way of collecting rain in our aqueducts. We don’t need a White water fountain. So the whole issue of segregation and the whole issue of the Civil Rights Movement is all within the box of White culture and White supremacy. We should not still be fighting for what they have. We are not interested in what they have because we have so much more and because the world is so much larger. And ultimately the White way, the American way, the neo liberal, capitalist way of life will eventually lead to our own destruction. And so it isn’t about an argument of joining neo liberalism, it’s about us being able, as human beings, to surpass the barrier.


Unknown said...

Right now in Indiana there is increasing pressure to force Amish to abandon their schools and to stop using child labor. Ofcourse that would change them forever.

The two may not seem related, but then again the first language the Amish learn is rarely English. They will not fight in the armed forces and they insist they be left alone because they believe their way is the better way...and they have been here for a very long time...and there are a lot of them.

Unknown said...


The guy does sound like a kook.

Unknown said...


It makes you wonder what other kind of alternative schools there are out there.

But skook has a point, the hispanics need to marginalize people like this.

buddy larsen said...

Well, teaching the kids about life in the distant past is great, but only if the six-year old will project his spirit forward in time, to when he will be a 21st century adult in the job market, and sign a release first.

buddy larsen said...

"But that is the point."

Yes--consciously, for the strategists, unconsciously for the following echelons.

All the wonderful all-American NEA members in the country can't change the fact that there is a powerful political force working diligently to dumb-down the nation.

buddy larsen said...

Coisty, read more here:

buddy larsen said...

Yes, we've been so damn good at building the Shining City, we've forgotten the Jungle, and that we're the exotics. I mean, we know the world's a zoo--but we thought WE were looking at THEM.