Eventos Académicos, 39 ISCHE. Educación y emancipación

Tamaño de fuente: 
From Desegregation to Decolonization to Diversity: Inventing Latino Education in 1970s Chicago
Nicholas Kryczka

Última modificación: 2017-07-16


The proposed paper presents a school-centric account of the transition from a politics of civil rights to a politics of multiculturalism in urban America. Specifically, I present an account of how Spanish-speaking ethnic groups came to claim a place at the political table of educational reform during Chicago’s school desegregation debates. While Chicago’s school-centered civil rights struggles of the 1960s were conducted without any reference to groups not delineated as “black” or “white,” the regime of school desegregation in the 1970s witnessed an expansion of identity categories with standing for legal remedy. By the middle of the decade, “Latinos” (or “Hispanics”), along with students of “Limited English Proficiency” were part of a shifting educational civil rights landscape. For parents, activists, and educational policymakers, these changes presented both opportunities and challenges. While leftist activists in some Spanish-speaking communities sought to convert schools into insurgent sites of “decolonized” pedagogy, other parents understood that being declared “non-white” offered a new means by which older traditions of separation from black communities might be preserved

Building from research in the archives of the city’s Board of Education, neighborhood organizations, and oral history interviews with activists and educators, this paper demonstrates how efforts to develop bilingual educational programs proved an awkward fit with the enrollment policies that anchored programs of racial desegregation. Indeed, Latino parents’ efforts to claim status as an “other minority” with linguistic and cultural rights came into direct conflict with mandates that black students be granted access to desegregated schools. Such conflicts exposed the divergent parental interests that had begun to amass in an increasingly unequal urban system, straining nascent alliances between black and Hispanic advocacy groups. In other communities, educators successfully repackaged bilingual education as “dual language immersion,” raising the profile of Spanish-language education as a desirable option for middle-class parents. By 1980, Chicago’s newest round of school desegregation mandates had incorporated the Latino lessons of the seventies into an expanding marketplace of public educational options. When parents chose “diverse” schools, it was multiculturalism, rather than desegregation that they embraced.