Chicana/o Studies – Publishing an Alternative View Since 1970 – CSU, Northridge


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El Popo Staff has 138 articles published.

Mexican-American Studies Ban: An Update

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Students of the Tucson School District found identity in the Mexican-American Studies program which is precisely what Tom Horne wants to ban.

In 1997, Mexican-American Studies was brought into the Tucson School District. The high rate of Mexican/Latino students dropping out of high school was the main reason they created the program. The program offered an interest in education by creating a curriculum that would be geared toward their ethnicity. Having a program like this helped students to find identity in their ethnicity; it helped them to find their purpose. MAS also encouraged students to attend class because they would be learning about their own ethnic background, a subject they found a high interest in. However, Tom Horne, Superintendent of all Arizona’s schools, believed the MAS program was in violation of Arizona state law HB2281.

What sparked the controversy in April of 2006 was when a guest speaker, Dolores Huerta, came to a high school and stated that “Republicans hate Latinos.” A statement like that caused uproar with Republican Tom Horne. He began an investigation in the Mexican-American Studies program and believed it to be in violation with HB2281. Arizona state law HB2281 states that school districts cannot promote the overthrow of the U.S. Government or promote resentment toward a race or class of people. Although he never actually attended any of the program’s classes, he deemed that “[the program] caused resentment toward white people.”

Both teachers and students denied that their teachers ever taught to resent white people or overthrow the U.S. Government. In fact, the University of Arizona study found in 2009 showed that MAS improved Mexican/Latino standardized test scores. The study also showed that 51% of students enrolled in MAS were more likely to graduate high school than students not enrolled in the program with a similar ethnic background. This is solid proof that the purpose of the Mexican-American studies program is effective.

In no way was the curriculum designed to promote the resentment of any race, it simply shined a light on a particular culture. Not to mention that this program is not a requirement to take. Every student has the choice to opt out of taking World History and take Mexican-American studies.

January 10, 2012 – After reviewing all the information on the case, the federal court made their final decision to ban Mexican-American studies in a vote 4-1. Although this sounds like complete racism toward the Mexican and Latino people, the federal court later announced that there can be the study of Mexican-Americans. Sounds like the outcome we were all hoping for right? Not quite. The federal court is allowing Mexican-American studies with the addition of African-American studies. The problem the court faces is that they have to comply with both HB2281and the desegregation order that says Tucson has to create “culturally relevant courses of instruction” for both Latinos and African-Americans due to the hardships they faced in the past. With the Fall semester just beginning, the community awaits to see  the new curriculum .

New Building Complex Disturbs Neighborhood

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249-2By  Gabriela Torres

Marmion Way runs through many neighborhoods such as Highland Park, Mount Washington, and Lincoln Heights. Throughout the years, the City of Los Angeles has made changes to Marmion Way.

Beginning in the early 2000’s, many homes were affected by the construction of the Gold Line Metro. Numerous homeowners were asked to leave their properties and others were asked to remodel their homes in order to make the users of Gold Line feel comfortable about local transportation. Now, the residents of Marmion Way have a set of people who chose to remain anonymous trying to build a 50 unit apartment complex. There are many upset residents who do not like the idea of once again being bothered to make changes to accommodate more disturbance.

The residents of Marmion way believe that the new apartment complex will be a burden to the community, “not only will there be construction going on for a year or two, but this is not safe for the children of the community considering Loreto St. Elementary school is located just a couple feet away from this area,” expressed a concerned resident.  Many of the residents seem to be against the idea of this apartment complex being built. They worry for the community and the safety of the children.

It appears that the residents of Marmion Way are fed up with people coming to their community and always asking to make a changes. “ We already had to adapt to the Gold Line station coming in to our community, we should not be getting stepped over by all these companies, enough is enough we do not need any more changes!” The concern of these residents is still there, the residents are going to neighborhood council meetings and making petitions to stop the apartment complex from being built. No promises have been made and no action has been taken, whether or not the apartment complex will be built is still a question.

Sal Castro Passes Away

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Sal Castro passed away on April 15, 2013.

I’m sure many of us have seen the movie “Walk Out” or heard of the story behind the east LA walkouts of 1968. In 1968, after many events and acts against Latino students at different schools, teacher Sal Castro decides to take a stand for his students and encourages students to walk out of school. In the late 1960’s East Los Angles high schools were predominantly made up of Latino students.  Students who were constantly put down by their teachers for speaking their native language, students who were encouraged by their teachers to go out and get jobs that are not taken serious. Sal Castro was a teacher who was not okay with the mistreatment of Latino students. He dedicated his career to advocating education and rights for Chicano and Chicana students from the Los Angeles Unified School district. Sal Castro led Latino students to fight for themselves to prove to misjudging teachers that Latino students were not incapable of succeeding and that they should not be prohibited to speak their native language at school. Sal Castro and the Chicano Youth Leadership brought a group of high school students together to show them how Latino students at the time were last on the list based on education, and appeared to be the ethnicity with highest drop out rates. The purpose of Sal Castro and the Chicano Youth Leadership conference was to encourage Latino Students to earn a higher education and to make something of themselves in order to put Latino students in a better place. It is thanks to Sal Castro that Latino students from East LA high schools made a change, a change that ‘til this very day still makes a difference in lives of many current Latino students. Forty-five years later Sal Castro passes away, leaving his honor to many Latino students. He will always be known as a hero to Latino students and will be remembered as the teacher who led his students to success, the teacher who helped his students earn respect from foul teachers who misjudged Latino students. Sal Castro will be remembered through out history as a brave teacher who legitimately cared for his students and the education system, Thank you Sal Castro, thank you for helping students like myself have an interest in earning a higher education.  Castro always said, “Go to school pendejo!”


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