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Seipp follows up on aspects of Walkout that the movie -- which is about a 1968 walkout by Hispanic students protesting L.A. education policies -- somehow leaves out, especially the legacy of "bilingual education" that seems to have on balance been a disaster for Hispanic students. Here's an excerpt, though the whole piece is much worth reading:

As it happens, this year marks the 10th anniversary of the state's anti-bilingual backlash, which began when Skid Row activist and Episcopal priest Alice Callaghan organized about 100 Spanish-speaking parents who wanted their Ninth Street Elementary children to learn English in class.

In the film, spunky 17-year-old heroine Paula Crisostomo, now an administrator at Occidental College, has a friend and fellow protester named Vickie, who (at the end we learn) grew up to be Victoria Castro, L.A. school board member from 1993 to 1997 and board president in 1998. The film doesn't mention that after Castro refused to help those frustrated Ninth Street parents, they staged a walkout of their own, an incident that inspired Ron Unz to back Prop. 227 two years later....

JLR (mail) (www):
One of the many interesting nuggets of information in Ms. Seipp's NRO essay:

Ambitious Latino students now wonder why the only foreign-language instruction available to many of them is Spanish, a language they already speak.

“It’s like they’re saying, ‘You guys aren’t smart enough to take anything else,’” a North Hollywood high-school senior who wanted to learn French complained to the Los Angeles Times.

“No, ma’am, here you go,” snapped [high school history teacher and hero of Walkout Sal] Castro in response. “That’s the problem — counselors in our school were programming kids to learn French. What Mexican family can help their kid with French homework?”


I would hope that most college preparatory high schools would offer instruction in more than one foreign language -- preferably at least three: e.g., Spanish, French, and German. It also appears that the best college prep high schools also offer instruction in other languages such as Latin, Japanese, or Mandarin Chinese.

Mr. Castro's response to Ms. Seipp reflects, with all due respect, a lack of understanding about how important it is to learn foreign languages.

One would hope that Los Angeles will try to encourage all of its college prep high schools to offer at least two (and preferably three) foreign languages for instruction.

Thank you Professor Volokh for the link.
3.18.2006 11:19am
John Jenkins (mail):
Latin and French are a minimum, if only to better understand English.
3.18.2006 11:30am
Mr L:
Mr. Castro's response to Ms. Seipp reflects, with all due respect, a lack of understanding about how important it is to learn foreign languages.

I think he knows perfectly well the importance of foreign language instruction -- particularly, the importance of good test scores. Kids who've been raised in the language of course do very well on the relevant exams, and a free 'A' in Spanish goes a long way towards evening out D's and F's in math and english.
3.18.2006 12:05pm
tefta (mail):
Wow. A movie that substitutes leftwing propaganda for the truth. Who wudda thunk it.
3.18.2006 12:13pm
sbron:
The problem is that many teachers and Latino
students/families are simply not focused on academics.
Schools of education require that future teachers
have an appropriate "disposition" by agreeing that
"white privilege" is the source of all disparities.
Teachers thus spend too much time obsessing about
"inherited privilege" and "wealthy white students"
rather than on enhancing the academic performance of
Latinos. As the student above complains, some
teachers believe "You guys aren't smart enough."

Unfortunately, as Cathy Siepp's revealing comment
about Victoria Castro shows, some Latinos
let their inherent prejudice against what they
consider an "Anglo" culture dominate their
educational philosophy.

As long as many Latinos
view the vast store of Western knowledge as
"White" and thus not appropriate for their
education, and as long as leftist teachers and
education schools blame all problems on "white privilege"
nothing will change.
3.18.2006 12:17pm
JLR (mail) (www):
Mr L -- It seems as if your comment might be facetious. Nevertheless, it must be said that if a student has been raised in a Spanish-speaking household, then it would seem that Spanish would not really be a "foreign language" for them. As Mr. Jenkins implies above, foreign languages are useful not only for enabling conversations with people of other nations and ethnicities, but also for enabling a better understanding of languages generally, including and especially English. Learning French, German, and/or Latin is incredibly helpful for developing skills in reading and writing English.
3.18.2006 12:20pm
JLR (mail) (www):
Postscript: I reread Mr. L's comment and it definitely seems to be facetious. But perhaps I'm wrong -- one never knows. :-)
3.18.2006 12:24pm
sbron:
Also, having seen the HBO preview of this,
does anyone else find the student chants
of "Viva La Raza" somewhat creepy?
3.18.2006 1:24pm
Mobius (mail):
I've always had a problem with "Hispanic" politics. As far as I know Spanish is a European language, so doesn't that make Mexicans part of the European tradition i.e. "white" western tradition? I realize that most Mexican Americans state that they have indigenous roots, but the same people do not have a fundamental understanding of those tribes language or culture. See Zapatista and Chiapas.

I think the argument for bilingual education is very weak. If we say that we should have bilingual education, then shouldn't we have it for all groups? In certain areas of American there are literally a hundred different languages spoken, from Spanish to Russian to Thai to Chinese. To say that it is a burden on society to satisfy all these groups is an understatement. The burden on Spanish speaking people to learn english is small in comparison.
3.18.2006 3:59pm
FXKLM:
The logical consequence of Mr. Castro's response is that no child should ever be encouraged to achieve a higher level of education than their parents. Would it be equally unfair to teach calculus to children if their parents never learned it? And, if so, wouldn't that create an unbreakable educational caste system?
3.18.2006 4:20pm
Dishman (mail):
Por La Raza todo, Fuera de La Raza nada.
3.18.2006 6:30pm
Mobius (mail):
"Por La Raza todo, Fuera de La Raza nada"

That's pretty Machiavellian; cut-throat politics based on race.
3.18.2006 7:59pm
Sam (mail):
Mobius, in case you don't know, that is supposedly a motto of Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) (wikipedia), found in the preamble of a their manifesto.
3.18.2006 8:21pm
Mobius (mail):
Sam, scary. "the brutal 'gringo' invasion of our territories." The Spanish are as much European invaders as the French or British. If fact, didn't Christopher Columbus go to Queen Isabella of Spain for funding to find the New World? I don't see how they can claim "Atzlan" when it wasn't theirs to begin with and Chicanos aren't even Mayan. If they were the true indigenous people, they would know how to speak Mayan. And even more shocking is that Mexican's of Spanish decent brutalize the real indigenous population of Mexico.
3.18.2006 8:30pm
Lev:

In the film, spunky 17-year-old heroine Paula Crisostomo,


Paula Goldenmouth?


I don't see how they can claim "Atzlan" when it wasn't theirs to begin with and Chicanos aren't even Mayan.


There were many tribes and languages other than Mayan before Cortez burned his ships. The main empire he destroyed was not Mayan.
3.18.2006 11:34pm
Ubertrout (mail) (www):
I happened to pass this by yesterday, and it struck me as relevant (it's from the Congressional Record for March 2, 1891 Pg. 3789)

I do not beleive in seeking to nationalize a community by banishing a certain tongue from the schools, by forbidding parents from educating their children in any language which they may please. I do not beleibe in those arbitrary methods which obtain in the more despotic regimes of europe. But I beleive it is equally wrong to legislate against that nationalization and assimilation of sentiment and speech.
3.19.2006 11:00am
ROA:
If the high schools are going to teach foreign languages, and I desperately hope that the will, wouldn't Chinese, Japanese, Hindi, and Arabic be more useful than French and Latin?
3.19.2006 11:33am