Chicanas and Chicanos in School

Chicanas and Chicanos in School

MARCOS PIZARRO
Copyright Date: 2005
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7560/706361
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  • Book Info
    Chicanas and Chicanos in School
    Book Description:

    By any measure of test scores and graduation rates, public schools are failing to educate a large percentage of Chicana/o youth. But despite years of analysis of this failure, no consensus has been reached as to how to realistically address it. Taking a new approach to these issues, Marcos Pizarro goes directly to Chicana/o students in both urban and rural school districts to ask what their school experiences are really like, how teachers and administrators support or thwart their educational aspirations, and how schools could better serve their Chicana/o students.

    In this accessible, from-the-trenches account of the Chicana/o school experience, Marcos Pizarro makes the case that racial identity formation is the crucial variable in Chicana/o students' success or failure in school. He draws on the insights of students in East Los Angeles and rural Washington State, as well as years of research and activism in public education, to demonstrate that Chicana/o students face the daunting challenge of forming a positive sense of racial identity within an educational system that unintentionally yet consistently holds them to low standards because of their race. From his analysis of this systemic problem, he develops a model for understanding the process of racialization and for empowering Chicana/o students to succeed in school that can be used by teachers, school administrators, parents, community members, and students themselves.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79708-6
    Subjects: Sociology, Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. INTRODUCTION Rethinking Research in Chicana/o Communities
    (pp. 1-38)

    Chicana/o students live much of their lives in great jeopardy. Of all the data that point out the severity of this situation, perhaps the most alarming is that as recently as 1998 more than one of every three Chicana/o and Latina/o youth were being raised in poverty (U.S. Census Bureau 1998).¹ The limited opportunities that define a life of poverty translate into numerous negative outcomes that reveal the dangers of life as a young Chicana/o today: high rates of teen pregnancy, gang involvement, drug abuse, and incarceration. The cyclical nature of the inequality that has defined much of the Chicana/o...

  6. PART ONE INSIGHTS FROM LOS ANGELES CHICANA/O YOUTH

    • ONE IDENTITY FORMATION IN LOS ANGELES
      (pp. 41-57)

      I felt overwhelmed the first time I walked into Harding High School in East Los Angeles. It was exactly the type of place I wanted my work to eventually affect. The school sits in the heart of a Chicana/o barrio. The student body is huge, and almost every student is Chicana/o. The walls of the school are covered with murals, many of which are student creations and most of which have indigenous and Chicana/o themes.

      Harding is also an important historical site, since it was at the heart of significant protest and uprising by Chicana/o students in the late 1960s....

    • TWO IDENTITY AND SCHOOL PERFORMANCE IN LOS ANGELES
      (pp. 58-100)

      More powerful than the individual stories about how identity evolved for Chicana/o students in East Los Angeles is how these experiences affected them. Conflicts related to their disempowerment shaped not only how they saw themselves but also how they understood their schooling and their educational futures. At times I was overwhelmed by the students’ stories. Diego’s story is just one of them:

      The dean [at the school] got me for wearing big pants, and he made, like, a comment. I go, “What are you going to send me home for?” He goes, “’Cause of your pants.” I guess he was...

    • THREE LESSONS FROM LOS ANGELES STUDENTS FOR SCHOOL SUCCESS
      (pp. 101-112)

      In our conversations the Chicana/o students at Harding, the community college, and the university focused on describing their experiences, explaining how their identities had emerged and how that process was related to school performance. Although we did not have much time during the interviews to strategize how to address the needs of Chicana/o students, the revelations of some of the students contained ideas for strategies. This chapter focuses on one student, Ernesto, who told a compelling story through which a theme of both survival and empowerment emerged. This chapter and Chapter 6 in Part 2 are not intended to cover...

  7. PART TWO INSIGHTS FROM ACOMA CHICANA/O YOUTH

    • FOUR IDENTITY FORMATION IN ACOMA
      (pp. 115-157)

      In recent years, increasing attention has been paid to the experiences of urban Chicana/o youth. This has left an important part of the Chicana/o population ignored: rural Chicanas/os. To date, almost no investigation of the experiences and forces shaping the lives of Chicana/o youth in rural communities has taken place.

      The three chapters of Part 2 strive to understand the lives of rural Chicana/o youth from their own perspectives. Part 2 also takes a different approach, as I transition from developing theory and models and move toward testing them by analyzing this unexplored context. This analysis has led to more...

    • FIVE IDENTITY AND SCHOOL PERFORMANCE IN ACOMA
      (pp. 158-200)

      When we talked about their schooling, the students in Acoma told stories that were often frightening, in terms of both their experiences and the similarities of those experiences. Often the students were unable to fully explain what they thought was happening, because the problems they saw were frequently hidden behind layers of policy and procedure. A high school student provided an example of such experiences when he described how Chicana/o students were tracked into nonacademic classes in his school:

      I started noticing, from my junior year to my senior year, I noticed the Mexicanos were taking certain classes. And it...

    • SIX LESSONS FROM ACOMA STUDENTS FOR SCHOOL SUCCESS
      (pp. 201-226)

      The previous two chapters provided an in-depth understanding of the lives, identities, and school experiences of Chicana/o students in Acoma. That detailed analysis is of particular importance because no one has researched the experiences of this population, and very little research has been done with rural Chicanas/os in general. This chapter looks closely at a few individual students to help frame the overall findings of Chapters 4 and 5. Their experiences reflect what is now happening in rural areas across the country with emerging Mexican communities.

      As the information from student interviews demonstrated, the racial power structure in Acoma controlled...

    • TIME-OUT ERNESTO SANCHEZ’S AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL ANALYSIS OF IDENTITY AND SCHOOL IN ACOMA
      (pp. 227-236)

      Ernesto Sanchez enrolled in a class that I offered at the university in Washington that dealt with identity development among Chicanas/os. I offered the class while I was working on the project described in this book. The students were asked to write autobiographies that focused on their identities. Ernesto’s paper covered many of the themes I was finding in my research. I should add that I had not talked about that research when he submitted the paper. Another important point was that Ernesto was the only student in the class (and the only person I had met at that time)...

  8. PART THREE UNDERSTANDING AND TRANSFORMING THE SCHOOL LIVES OF CHICANA/O YOUTH

    • SEVEN RACIAL PROFILING, IDENTITY, AND SCHOOL ACHIEVEMENT: Lessons from Power Conflicts in Diverse Contexts
      (pp. 239-250)

      Racial profiling has been attacked as the most blatant example of the racial divide in the United States today. African American and Latina/o communities in particular have protested the informal policy that makes DWB (driving while black /brown) an offense in many areas. These protests are a response to the greater frequency with which black and brown drivers are pulled over by the police than are other drivers. In California, the San José Police Department (SJPD) monitored the ethnicity of drivers who were pulled over during a six-month period in 2000 and found that this frequency difference was indeed the...

    • EIGHT CHICANA/O STUDENT EDUCATIONAL EMPOWERMENT
      (pp. 251-266)

      The students themselves spent a great deal of time making suggestions about how to address the needs they laid out in our discussions. Mari’s suggestions in the following interview excerpt unpacked much of what has been covered in the first two sections of this book:

      I’d reinvent the whole school system. Make sure there’s mentors there and have people that care. And I don’t want any teachers that are too tired to teach kids. If they don’t wanna teach, just quit the job, find something else, weed ’em out. Have people that care and make sure even to reach out...

  9. EPILOGUE
    (pp. 267-270)

    Through my work with raza youth, I have learned the power of Che Guevara’s emphasis on the importance of love in social change (mentioned at the end of Chapter 8). This love is not the love of cheap novels and trashy TV shows. It is a deeper, spiritual love that is bonded to the realities of twenty-first-century oppression and that demands our work with others for justice. I elaborate on these ideas through the examples of a movie and an alternative school.

    Follow Me Home is an innovative independent film that analyzes the meaning and role of race in the...

  10. NOTES
    (pp. 271-276)
  11. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 277-282)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 283-286)