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Semillas Community Schools Responds to CA Dpt of Ed

Open Letter: Direct intervention of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor of the State of California needed

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: April 8, 2014


Semillas Community Schools Responds to CA Dpt of Ed


Semillas Community Schools adamantly opposes the California Department of Education's recent recommendation to deny the renewal of the charter of Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory Schools (AIUP) and calls for the direct intervention of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor of the State of California to provide redress to this latest injustice against our school community.

On April 4, 2014, only five calendar days before a scheduled Advisory Commission on Charter Schools (ACCS) meeting in Sacramento, the California Department of Education (CDE) Charter Schools Division (CSD) personnel have finally released their verdict, "to deny the renewal petition to establish the AIUPHS charter school under the oversight of the SBE based on the CDE's finding ... that the petitioners are unlikely to successfully implement the program set forth in the petition."

Given the record of excellence and resilience demonstrated by the learning community of Anahuacalmecac and the entire community-based educational organization that is Semillas Community Schools for over a decade, the CDE's recommendation for denial flies in the face of the most recent statewide initiatives calling for "local control" and "smarter balanced" curriculum. Omitted from the CDE's findings, are the institutional and community-based indicators of Anahuacalmecac's remarkable success with its students - high school graduation and college eligibility among the most educationally disadvantaged student populations in the State of California. Also omitted from the CDE's position is our community's petition for redress due to a long line of discriminatory actions against our school community by government agencies and agents that judge from afar while the very institutions directly under their charge fail the people of this state - particularly in communities such as ours.

As Indigenous Peoples, we know that our right to educational autonomy, mother language, culturally based curriculum and access to all levels of education are globally recognized by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples among other international mechanisms - but obviously not respected or implemented in the State of California. Our cultural and linguistic heritage is intricately rooted in this continent and this State. Our mother language, Nahuatl, is both related to and an extension of the indigenous languages of what is now called Southern California - and yet, only in our schools can any indigenous language be learned in all of Los Angeles County.

The CDE's reported agreement with the LAUSD and LACOE in asserting the allegation that Anahuacalmecac's educational program, "is not likely to be of educational benefit to the pupils who attend, specifically pupils who are classified as English learner (EL)," contradicts California's official commitment to statewide priorities which Anahuacalmecac has exceeded for over five years. Anahuacalmecac merits renewal based upon the achievements of its students and educators. Anahuacalmecac merits renewal based upon its external evaluations by WASC and the IB. Anahuacalmecac merits renewal based upon its stellar compliance with an audit by federal monitors. Anahuacalmecac deserves justice based upon its roots as a living community expression of our community's LOCALLY CONTROLLED practice of education for our children.

The CDE's reaffirmation of the LAUSD and LACOE's discriminatory actions makes the government of the State of California complicit in the conspiracy to destroy a thriving educational and cultural learning community in the heart of the most dysfunctional school district in the state.

On behalf of the children, families and educators that make up the community of Anahuacalmecac International University Preparatory, we call for the direct positive intervention of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Governor of the State of California to provide redress for our community to this latest injustice against our school community. We cannot simultaneously celebrate the martyrdom and movement of the likes of Cesar Chavez, while we idly stand by the discrimination of an entire community.

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