Saturday, June 03, 2006

Public tax dollars fund racist California school

K-8 institution backed by groups seeking to retake Southwest U.S.

Taxpayers along with radical groups that aim to reconquer the Southwestern U.S. are funding a Hispanic K-8 school led by a principal who believes in racial segregation and sees the institution as part of a larger cultural "struggle." The Academia Semillas del Pueblo Charter School was chartered by the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2001, local KABC radio host Doug McIntyre - who has been investigating the school for the past three weeks - told WND.

Among the school's supporters are the National Council of La Raza Charter School Development Initiative; Raza Development Fund, Inc.; and the Pasadena City College chapter of MeCHA, or Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan. "La Raza," or "the Race," is a designation by many Mexicans who see themselves as part of a transnational ethnic group they hope will one day reclaim Aztlan, the mythical birthplace of the Aztecs. In Chicano folklore, Aztlan includes California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas.

The school teaches the ancient Nahutal language of the Aztecs and its base-20 math system. Another language of emphasis is Mandarin, even though no Chinese attend. MEChA, founded at U.C. Santa Barbara in 1969, has the stated goal of returning the American Southwest to Mexico. As WorldNetDaily reported Sunday, students identifying themselves as members of MEChA at Pasadena City College said they stole 5,000 copies of the campus newspaper because it did not cover their high school conference. One of the charter school's listed donors, a Nissan/Infinity dealer in Glendale, Calif., asked to be removed from the website after hearing McIntyre's broadcast about the school yesterday, the host told WND.

Marcos Aguilar, the school's founder and principal, said in an interview with an online educational journal, Teaching to Change L.A., he doesn't think much of the Brown v. Board of Education decision that desegregated American schools. Aguilar simply doesn't want to integrate with white institutions. "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," he said. The issue of civil rights, Aguilar continued, "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." Ultimately, he said, 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."

Aguilar said his school is not a response to problems in the public school system, as it's available only to about 150 families. "We consider this a resistance, a starting point, like a fire in a continuous struggle for our cultural life, for our community and we hope it can influence future struggle," he said. "We hope that it can organize present struggle and that as we organize ourselves and our educational and cultural autonomy, we have the time to establish a foundation with which to continue working and impact the larger system." On its website, the school describes itself as being "dedicated to providing urban children of immigrant native families an excellent education founded upon their own language, cultural values and global realities." "We draw from traditional indigenous Mexican forms of social organization known as the Kalpulli," the website says, "founded upon the principles of serving collective interests, assembling an informed polity, and honestly administering and executing collective decisions."

Born in Mexicali in Baja California, Aguilar attended schools on the border in Calexico, a farm worker community. "We grew up with the knowledge that in Arizona, in Yuma, Arizona, everything was black and white," he said in the journal interview. "The dogs and Mexicans drank from one spot and the white people drank from the other one." Teachers in the Los Angeles area, he contended, have little regard for the culture of Hispanic children. By learning the Aztec tongue of Nahuatl, he said, students "will be able to understand our own ancestral culture and our customs and traditions that are so imbued in the language." Said Aguilar:

"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."

KABC's McIntyre, noting the school's emphasis on Aztec language and culture combined with test scores that fall below the L.A. school system's meager results, told WND he believes the school is bordering on "educational malpractice." "What high schools are they preparing kids to go to?" he asked. "The whole multi-culture-diversity argument is blowing up in our faces," McIntyre said. "What's lost is, we have a culture, too. But when you defend American culture - which I believe is the most diverse in the world - you are branded a xenophobe."

The school has no whites, blacks or Asians, McIntyre pointed out. According to statistics he found, 91.3 percent are Hispanic and the rest Native American or Eskimo. McIntyre said he was teaching a writing class at UCLA in 1993 when Aguilar, as a student, participated in a 50-day student takeover after Chicano activist and labor leader Caesar Chavez died. School officials eventually gave in to demands to create a Chicano-studies major and agreed to pay some $50,000 in damages caused by the protesters. Aguilar repeatedly has refused to come on McIntyre's program, the host said.


U.K.: Back to basics as maths problems multiply

The usual inexcusable use of kids as guinea-pigs shows up once again

Modern methods of teaching maths which have mystified parents and confused many pupils are to be abandoned six years after the Government forced them on primary schools. The same unit at the Department for Education which devised the strategy now wants teachers to go back to the "standard written method" it abolished.

The decision has prompted a backlash from some primary teachers and maths advisers who say children are better able to understand the concept of arithmetic when they break sums down into a series of units. They say the "back to basics" approach heralds a return to the "dark ages" of adding up, subtracting, multiplying and dividing in vertical rows without understanding what they are doing. But evidence has shown that many pupils are arriving at secondary school unable to do long division and multiplication and reliant on columns of workings out which take longer and are more prone to errors along the way.

The proposed change, put out to consultation yesterday, has already won support from many teachers on the website of The Times Educational Supplement, who say it is better for pupils to master one, simple, standard method than struggle with many. Primary schools were inundated with complaints from parents when the new method came in and some organised meetings to explain the technique. However, many parents who gave it the benefit of the doubt began to panic when their children entered the teenage years unable, for example, to divide 196 by six or multiply 56 by 27 with speed and accuracy.

The lesson plan for the numeracy hour introduced in 1999 instructs teachers to use the "grid" method for multiplication. Numbers are split into tens and units which are multiplied by each other in turn to give four totals which are then added together. In division pupils are taught to subtract multiples of the divisor until they end up with a number less than the divisor. They then add up the number of times they have multiplied the divisor and express the number less than the divisor as the remainder. Children are not allowed to "carry" numbers or put figures in vertical lines, such as 56 with x27 beneath it. They are also strongly discouraged from using the bracket form of dividing each number in turn with the answer above the line and the remainder placed before the next digit.

The proposed new framework says the techniques of the last six years may still be used with younger children, especially to help with mental maths, but that by the time they reach the age of 11, pupils should be able to use the "standard written method", by which they mean the way parents were taught.

In a joint statement, five leaders of the Mathematical Association opposed the change. "Don't let us go back to the bad old days with books full of pages of vertical sums when only a minute percentage of pupils understood what they were doing and only a third could carry out calculations," they said. National statistics for maths show that 25 per cent of 11-year-olds failed to reach the basic standard expected for their age last year rising to 26 per cent of 14-year-olds.

The decision to return to the old methods will come as a relief to many parents. Christine Turno says she dreads the twice-weekly homework with her nine-year-old daughter. "She goes ballistic," she said. "We have massive rows because she says I'm doing it wrong and she has to do it the way the school says. But she can't understand what they want and it's a complete mystery to me." A 20-minute homework session turns into an hour. Mrs Turno, of west London, said: "The teachers say it is the new way and if the answer is wrong it doesn't matter as long as she is using the right method. It's quite bizarre." Of 30 in the class, 10 get private tuition.



For greatest efficiency, lowest cost and maximum choice, ALL schools should be privately owned and run -- with government-paid vouchers for the poor and minimal regulation.

The NEA and similar unions worldwide believe that children should be thoroughly indoctrinated with Green/Left, feminist/homosexual ideology but the "3 R's" are something that kids should just be allowed to "discover"

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