Latino Convening and Bilingual Education

Posted: July 6, 2012 by meghandoran in Uncategorized

In early June we partnered with Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion to hold a conversation about the Latino experience in the Boston busing/desegregation crisis. Miren Uriarte, director of the Gaston Institute at UMass Boston and member of the Mayor’s External Advisory Committee on school choice, started the conversation  with the historical context in the Latino community (see her Powerpoint here.)

Long time community activist Carmen Pola then shared her experience as an activist during school desegregation, followed by former BPS teacher and Teacher Activist Group founder Jose Lopez, who talked about the situation in the schools today.  Click here to see our report from the evening.

That same week we had the pleasure of seeing a play at the Rafael Hernandez school that chronicled the school’s history. A citywide bilingual (English/Spanish) K-8 school, the Hernandez  was born out of Latino parents and activists’ struggle for education. The play, which featured elders Carmen Pola and Jeannie Dunn (a community activist and retired BPS teacher) along with each class in the school, started by illustrating Boston’s busing/desegregation crisis and the struggle for bilingual education. We were thoroughly impressed about how the school and its young people rooted their understanding of today through history in this play. Unfortunately, the Hernandez is one of the few schools in the city and even the state today that centers around bilingual education, largely due to Massachusetts’ English only law, despite the enduring popularity of bilingual programs.

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