Chikkkano Studies Gets a New Five-Year Plan · 07 May 2007

By Lloyd Billingsley


Late last month the board of the massive Los Angeles Unified School District quashed a charter school that was helping low-income students improve. At the same time they renewed the charter of an academically failing madrasssa for sixties-vintage Chicano radicalism, the racially exclusive kind that perceives "Amerikkka" as the enemy.


The school the LA board turned down is Green Dot Public Schools, which teaches about 3,000 mostly black and Hispanic students. At one Green Dot campus the achievement of African Americans rose from less than 10 percent performing at or above the proficient level in mathematics to about 40 percent in just one year. The Green Dot high school graduation rate of nearly 80 percent far outpaces other district schools.


Green Dot has a waiting list of hundreds and wants to open new campuses in Watts but the board still nixed its renewal. However, the board's anti-charter animus, fueled by union politics, did not prevent approval of another, more politically correct charter school.


Academia Semillas del Pueblo, "Seeds of the People Academy," also formulated "Academic Semillas del Pueblo Xinaxcalmecac," is one of the worst schools in the LAUSD, one of the worst districts in the state and nation. The school's backers include Berkeley alum Jackie Goldberg, former member of the LA city council, a termed-out left-wing pol who as a state Assemblywomen chaired the education committee. Semillas Del Pueblo, a K-8 school, has existed since 2002 and has a low Academic Performance Index score of 577 out of a possible 1,000. A full 93 percent of fifth graders at the Academia test below the proficient level in math. On that basis alone, the LA board should not have renewed the school's charter. There are other reasons to reject it, including the educational philosophy of founder Miguel Aguilar.


“We don’t want to drink from a white water fountain,” Aguilar told a UCLA education publication. The “white way, the American way, the neo-liberal, capitalist way of life will eventually lead to our own destruction.” 


Besides this nightclub imitation of Hugo Chavez, Aguilar has a fascinating spin on Brown v. Board of Education.


"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. . . 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."


In the Academia's "way of teaching," Nahuatl, an Aztec language, looms large. “The importance of Nahuatl is also academic because Nahuatl is based on a Math system, which we are also practicing," Aguilar has explained. "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 are 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.” 


At the Academia, which also teaches Mandarin, this cant blends with a familiar gazpacho of Marxism, irredentism and racism. Founder Aguilar is a veteran of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan, or MEChA, dedicated to the recovery of Aztlan, a place with origins in 60s left-wing mythology, not the history of the Aztecs, a group Aguilar apparently imagines himself to represent. He wears a stylized black do-rag with militant insignia and would not look out of place in a gang movie.    


MEChA critics have good reason to see the members as Chicano Ku Kluckers. Even the apologists of the group concede that members act like "brown-skinned brownshirts." Mechista Gustavo Arellano of Orange County Weekly, for example, notes that meetings include chants of slogans like "Entre la raza todo, fuera de la raza, nada," or "Everything within the race, nothing outside the race." The raza is not the human race, just as the "pueblo" or people is not the wider populace, but only the oppressed "People of the Sun" the Mechistas imagine themselves to be, at eternal odds with evil "Anglos" and of course the oppressive Amerikkka that funds the school. With such racial exclusivity, they don't take criticism well.


Backers of Aguilar's academy include the National Council of La Raza, the Raza Development Fund, and the MEChA chapter at Pasadena City College. That group considered inadequate PCC's coverage of a MEChA event and busted up an entire run of the campus newspaper. Miguel Aguilar himself served as MEChA education committee coordinator from 1989 to 1991. In 1993, Aguilar participated in a takeover of the faculty lounge at UCLA, which caused $50,000 worth of damage. The violence was part of Mechista demands that UCLA offer a Chicano studies major. UCLA brass played the role of sixties reenactors by duly picking up the tab for the damage and giving the Mechistas everything they wanted. Aguilar graduated the following year and his educational philosophy remains standard brand Mechismo. His tactics are also of interest, particularly when the media want to take a look at the proceedings. 


The Academia's segregationist practices drew media attention and last June KABC reporter Sandy Wells showed up to interview Aguilar. While he waited across the street a man in a silver sedan jumped the sidewalk and drove toward him. The attacker chased Wells down, assaulted him and stole his tape. Wells told the Los Angeles Times he was targeted for investigating the school's academic program. The school denied any connection. In September, 2006, the police arrested one Ramon Flores, 31, in the attack after Wells identified him.


The LAUSD also looked into the attack on Wells and other controversies surrounding the school. Charter schools have five-year terms to meet their goals then come up for renewal. The board had ample reason, on academic grounds alone, to decline renewal for Semillas del Pueblo. Instead it approved an academic failure and in the bargain nixed Green Dot, an academic success. The LAUSD has since worked out a compromise with Green Dot that will allow them to expand, but the board has not revisited their decision to approve Academia Semillas del Pueblo, a non-action with consequences.


Courtesy of liberals who cave to militants, California taxpayers will continue to subsidize academic failure that will leave children educationally handicapped for life. They will also subsidize a new five-year plan of racism, segregation and sub-infantile leftism. The rule holds true that if you subsidize something you get more of it. Charter schools are public schools, so now it's all inherent in the system.



Lloyd Billingsley is the author of From Mainline to Sideline, the Social Witness of the National Council of Churches, and Hollywood Party: How Communism Seduced the American Film Industry in the 1930s and 1940s.