At a time when the United States could use a stiff dose of unity, some students are being taught just the opposite in a new phenomenon called “Schools of Social Justice.” The idea here is that the United States has a sordid history of racism and prejudice and that young people — particularly Latino kids — should rise up.
Schools of this type have been functioning for a while — some as taxpayer-funded affiliates of the National Council of La Raza (“The Race” in Spanish) — and some have grown out of the recent marches in support of illegal immigration.
According to organizers, a summer school non-credit course at Austin’s Lanier High School grew out of conversations with some of the students who protested an enforcement-first bill passed by the House of Representatives.
You would think the kids at Lanier, a high school with a pathetic academic performance record — would be crowding into summer school to brush up on reading, writing and math. Some may be — but about a dozen enrolled in a non-credit class where the “the three R’s” gave way to just one R: racism.
The curriculum included such subjects as prejudice, racial hatred, slavery, segregation, the civil rights movement, the United Farm Workers movement, and victimization though poverty.
The idea for the school came from Alfredo Santos, a 38-year veteran of the Chicano movement, who claims that no ideological views are espoused in the class. Well then, what were the kids discussing?
During one afternoon session, Santos and Tim Eubanks from “Austin Voices for Education and Youth,” the sponsoring organization, led the kids through the history of race relations in the United States. Students were asked to relate incidents of racism that they had seen — and to give their opinions on how racism may have contributed to the delayed response to Hurricane Katrina.
The next day, the kids were treated to a documentary on 1970’s efforts to desegregate Boston schools. The film taught the students about white residents’ opposition to court-ordered bussing and how the “N-word” was used as a weapon of hate.
Austin writer Janice Brauner sees the class as a way to “ramp up [Latino students’] already seething outrage.” She notes that an Austin policeman recently discussed Lanier students when explaining the incidence of crime and vandalism in the school’s neighborhood. That Lanier is a troubled school is evident in the fact that in 2005, 130 students (from a former ninth grade class of 802) took a college entrance exam with just nine passing.
Academics may have taken a back seat to classes of victimization and separatism in Austin, but as it turns out, the Texas capital is not the only place this is happening. In an op-ed piece, U.S. Rep. Charles Norwood, a Georgia Republican wrote: “…the National Council of La Raza succeeded in raking in over $15.2 million in federal grants last year alone, of which $7.9 million was in U.S. Department of Education grants for Charter Schools, and undisclosed amounts were for get-out-the-vote efforts supporting La Raza political positions.”
You can see what these schools are all about just by surfing the “affiliates” section of La Raza’s web site. One that stands out is “Aztlan Academy” in south Tucson. Its mission is to “integrate a meaningful Chicano Studies program” into the lives of its students — along with the usual self-esteem dribble that we’ve come to expect from schools. Of course, “Aztlan” is the separatist name for the Southwestern United States that is to someday be reunited with Mexico. Your tax dollars at work.
By the way, if “affiliates” of the National Council of La Raza support the political agenda of “The Race,” then the Chicano Studies program at Aztlan Academy and other such charter schools are surely in favor of virtual open borders and amnesty for illegal immigrants.
Please don’t misunderstand; your writer realizes that these are top-of-mind political issues of our day. But just as the Left insists on complete separation of church and state in our tax-supported schools, shouldn’t we also insist on a balanced curriculum without political indoctrination?
It might be worth the taxpayers’ dollar to teach these Latino kids a balanced history of the United States and a true representation of the current socio-economic situation in Mexico — along with reading and writing. It’s doubtful that’s happening in the La Raza affiliate schools and it certainly isn’t happening in Lanier High’s Social Justice School.
As Janice Brauner writes, “…when a ‘disparity of income’ hits in adulthood because the ability to function well has been compromised by an abysmal academic performance, these kids can simply chalk it up to the endemic racism of ‘the Man.’”
In any case, these kids will be prepared for whatever may befall them in life. They are being well schooled in the art of taking to the streets to demand Social Justice.