Taking back the schools - Smith|1 Robert G Smith Professor...

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S m i t h| 1Robert G. SmithProfessor Devon BridgewaterHistory 10923 April 2015Taking Back the SchoolsIn part three of the Chicanodocumentary series, Taking Back the Schools, the film focused on the struggle of equality of education for Mexican-Americans in Los Angeles. At the time of the origins of this movement, East L.A. was the biggest barrioin the United States. The unemployment rate was twice the national average and only one out of four Mexican Americans graduated high school. Despite laws and court rulings to the contrary, the schools still segregated Mexican American students and furthermore demeaned and ridiculed the very culture of the students. Young people were treated harshly for speaking Spanish in school and were basically taught at a young age that Chicanos were meant for labor and farm work not for advanced studies. This had a negative impact on Chicano youth who were being taught in schools that their communities and way of life was inferior to that of Anglo-America. By the late-1960s this became an untenable situation, and a new movement organized to fight back.Prior to the students who organized in the 1960s, the Mexican American community in California had already won key fights against school boards. In 1946, the Chicano community in Santa Anna, California organized and sued the Westminister School District which resulted in thecourt ruling that it was illegal to segregate Mexican American students; this set the stage for the
S m i t h| 2landmark court ruling in Brown vs. the Board of Education which illegalized all segregated schools in the United States.

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