“The quick answer to Latina/o parents is to feed your child’s soul with your culture and cuisine, your language, and most importantly, your history, your folklore, your music, your art, your literature, and the sound of your laughter.”
– LAwtina M.O.M.
For LAwtina mothers and Millenials in general, who are unschooling and/or raising bicultural, and bilingual world citizens, the choice is not easy. Alternative methods of education and resources in public education are scarce and difficult to obtain. The term unschooling is one alternative approach to traditional education. The term has several meanings,”unschooling”, is also known as “natural learning”, “experience-based learning”, or “independent learning”.
For children who are raised in bicultural environments, and especially for Latina/o children, Latino parents face a unique set of challenges when seeking to immerse their children into a diverse school setting. To understand these unique challenges, we must first understand racial segregation of Latina/o school children in the United States and acknowledge the continued de jure segregation and exclusion of Latina/o history in public education.
To really comprehend racial segregation in the school environment we must go beyond Brown v. Board of Education. We must first study and understand a case that is often overlooked in our history, and in law school, Mendez, et al v. Westminister [sic] School District of Orange County, et al, 64 F.Supp. 544 (S.D. Cal. 1946), aff’d, 161 F.2d 774 (9th Cir. 1947) (en banc). This case was the foundation for Brown v. Board of Education; Indeed, the attorneys for Brown studied the Mendez case and strategized with their attorneys for the history defining desegregation case. It was the unity between Brown and Black that ultimately garnered a victory for a common cause.
Mendez, was a 1947 federal court case that challenged racial segregation in Orange County, California schools. In its ruling, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in an en banc decision, held that the segregation of Mexican and Mexican American students into separate “Mexican schools” was unconstitutional. It was the first ruling in the United States in favor of desegregation.
From this standpoint, Latina/o children have always and continued to be segregated into low-performing schools with inexperienced teachers and administration. Stereotypes of lazy and unintelligent Latina/os have permeated the public education system, resulting in less than stellar performances. Thus, the consequence is an entire generation of Latina/os that are unprepared for higher education, professional careers, or positions with power.
The result is disheartening, in 2016, there are less than 3% Latina/o attorneys, doctors, executives, politicians, zero in the Senate, yet, Latina/os are the largest minority in the U.S., and simultaneously, Latinas have a purchasing power that has corporations, media and advertising agencies immersing themselves in everything Latinas want, like and need, except education.
Continue reading this essay in I.M. McCall, Esq.’s forthcoming book: A Legal Discourse on the Rights of Latina Woman in the U.S.