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mapping the struggle for education on equal terms in la ucla idea and yoc february 12 2004

Mapping the Struggle for Education on Equal Terms in LAUCLA/IDEA and YOCFebruary 12, 2004

slide2

In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.

Brown v. Board of Education, May 17, 1954

mapping history mapping inequality
Mapping History/Mapping Inequality
  • The struggle leading to Mendez/Brown
  • Lessons from Mendez
  • Mapping Demography of post-Brown LA
  • Mapping Opportunity to Learn (over time)
  • Mapping Overcrowding in Garfield Cluster
  • Creating Map of New Construction
slide5

One Hundred years before Chief Justice Warren declared that racial segregation in the public schools is a denial of the equal protection of the law, another chief justice declared [in Dred Scott] that Negroes had no rights which a White man must respect. Thus in a century this nation has taken might steps along Freedom Road and raise the hopes of mankind, black, yellow, and White. But we must go further and insist that great as is this victory, many and long steps along Freedom Road lie ahead . ---W.E.B. DuBois, 1954

slide7

California schools must be “open for the admission of all White children … the education of children of African descent, and Indian children, shall be provided for in separate schools.” -California education code, 1870

ward v flood

Ward v Flood

“though separated from the other, [students of different races should be] educated on equal terms with [each] other, and both at common public expense.”

--California Supreme Court, 1874

freedom s road or the high cost of segregation

Freedom’s Road or the High Cost of Segregation?

1875 SF School Board Votes to do away with separate schools for African Americans

education code 1667 1880

Education Code 1667, 1880

“Every school … must be open for the admission of all children between six and twenty-one years of age residing in the district; … Trustees shall have the power to exclude children of filthy of vicious habits, or children suffering form contagious or infectious diseases.”

segregation for some 1921

Segregation for Some, 1921

The governing body of the school district shall have power to exclude children of filthy or vicious habits, or children suffering from contagious or infectious diseases, and also to establish separate schools for Indian children and for children of Chinese, Japanese or Mongolian parentage.

Education Code 1662

mexican americans and the construction of racial categories

Mexican Americans and the Construction of Racial Categories

1930: Texas Supreme Court declares children of Mexican descent to be members of the white race (in distinction to African American students who were legally segregated);

1930: California Attorney General declares Mexican American children like Indians, and hence subject to school segregation.

segregation as a response to economic pressures
Segregation as a Response to Economic Pressures
  • Segregation of Chinese Americans in 1880s
  • Segregation of Japanese Americans in 1906
  • Lemon Grove and the Depression
education as economic threat

Education as Economic Threat

“The schools teach Mexicans to look upon farm labor as menial. It only makes them dissatisfied and teaches them to read the wrong kind of literature.”

Employer in Imperial Valley, 1930

economic pressures constructed as threat to public safety

Economic Pressures Constructed as Threat to Public Safety

"Guard well the doors of our public schools that they do not enter ... for we must "defend ourselves from this invasion of Mongolian barbarism."

SF Board of Supervisors, 1885

economic pressures constructed as sexual threat

Economic Pressures Constructed as Sexual Threat

“Ninety-five percent of the so-called children are young men ... we object to an adult Japanese sitting beside a twelve-year-old school girl, and if this be prejudice, we are the most prejudiced people in the world."

SF Superintendent Roncovieri

social pressures constructed as health threat
Social Pressures Constructed as Health Threat
  • Sherman School (E. Hollywood) 1916, White parents submit petition claiming newly arrived Mexican children carried communicable diseases (and hence needed to be put in separate facilities);
the liberal alternative pedagogic rationales for segregation

The “Liberal” AlternativePedagogic Rationales for Segregation

Separate “Americanization school” is better suited to address the linguistic and cultural “deficiencies of the children of Mexican descent … avoiding the deterioration of American students.”

From School District’s Arguments in Lemon Grove, 1931

the liberal alternative ii different learning styles

The “Liberal” Alternative IIDifferent Learning Styles

“They are primarily interested in action and emotion but grow listless under purely mental effort.”

---Grace Stanley (1920) on why Mexican American children are happier in segregated settings

no rationale required

No Rationale Required

“Our educational theory does not make any distinctions between Mexican Americans and native white population. However, pressure from white residents of certain sections forced a modification of this principle to the extent that certain neighborhoods have been placed to absorb the majority of Mexican pupils of the district.”

LAUSD School Official, 1933

roosevelt hs 1936
Roosevelt HS 1936
  • 28% American
  • 26% Jewish
  • 24% Mexican
  • 7% Russian
  • 6% Japanese
  • 9% Italian, Armenian, and other ethnic
moments of social equality roosevelt in the 1930s

Moments of Social EqualityRoosevelt in the 1930s

Students elected a Japanese student body president and an African American female vice president

notions of in equality
Notions of (In)Equality
  • “Nothing is so unequal as the equal treatment of unequals.”

-----Los Angeles Supervisor, 1920s

  • “The doctrine that ‘all men are born free and equal’ applies to man’s political equality … In no way can this idea of equality be applied to intellectual endowment.”

-----Principal of ‘Mexican School’, 1920s

slide27

“We build on a biological foundation. We cannot make a black child white, a deaf child hear, a blind baby see, nor can we create a genius from a child whose ancestors endowed him with a defective brain. Within the limits of heredity, we can do much.”William Cooper, CA Supt of Public Instruction, 1927

intelligence tests as sorting tools
Intelligence Tests as Sorting Tools
  • 60% of Mexican American children in CA score in ‘nonacademic’ range in 1928.
  • At Belvedere Jr HS, with 50% Mexican American population, 55% of all students scored below 90.
  • At Lafeyette Jr HS, over half of all Mexican American students channeled into non-academic track.
contradictions in the system

Contradictions in the System

“Students in the 7th grade of the Lincoln School [serving Mexican Americans] were superior scholarly to the same grade in the Roosevelt School [serving White students] and to any group of 7th graders in either of the schools in the past.”

Mendez v Westminster, 1946

tracking in multi racial schools

Tracking in Multi-Racial Schools

“What would make you think that anyone who is sick in bed would want anyone as black as you to take care of them?”

---Response of Guidance Counselor at Belvedere Intermediate when Hope Mendoza Schechter asked to switch from home economics to academic track to pursue nursing.

mendez contradictions and lessons for organizing
Mendez, Contradictions, and Lessons for Organizing
  • Opportunities out of repression
  • Racial Hierarchy and Consciousness
  • Divide and Conquer to Collective Action
  • The masters tools turning against the master
  • Appealing to broader ideological shifts in mainstream discourse
  • The ‘win’ as a moving target
california s segregation ranking 2000 2001
California’s Segregation Ranking 2000-2001

African American Segregation

  • CA Ranks 2nd in % African American students in Majority White Schools (14%)
  • CA Ranks 4th in % Whites in school of typical African American (23%)

Latino Segregation

  • CA Ranks 2nd in % Latino students in Majority White Schools (13%)
  • CA Ranks 2nd in % Whites in school of typical Latino (21%)