Principal Marcos Aguilar
Taxpayers along with radical groups that aim to reconquer the Southwestern U.S. are funding a Hispanic K-8 school led by a principal who believes in racial segregation and sees the institution as part of a larger cultural “struggle.”
The Academia Semillas del Pueblo Charter School was chartered by the Los Angeles Unified School District in 2001, local KABC radio host Doug McIntyre – who has been investigating the school for the past three weeks – told WND.
Among the school’s supporters are the National Council of La Raza Charter School Development Initiative; Raza Development Fund, Inc.; and the Pasadena City College chapter of MeCHA, or Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan.
“La Raza,” or “the Race,” is a designation by many Mexicans who see themselves as part of a transnational ethnic group they hope will one day reclaim Aztlan, the mythical birthplace of the Aztecs. In Chicano folklore, Aztlan includes California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and parts of Colorado and Texas.
The school teaches the ancient Nahutal language of the Aztecs and its base-20 math system. Another language of emphasis is Mandarin, even though no Chinese attend.
MEChA, founded at U.C. Santa Barbara in 1969, has the stated goal of returning the American Southwest to Mexico.
As WorldNetDaily reported Sunday, students identifying themselves as members of MEChA at Pasadena City College said they stole 5,000 copies of the campus newspaper because it did not cover their high school conference.
One of the charter school’s listed donors, a Nissan/Infinity dealer in Glendale, Calif., asked to be removed from the website after hearing McIntyre’s broadcast about the school yesterday, the host told WND.
Marcos Aguilar, the school’s founder and principal, said in an interview with an online educational journal, Teaching to Change L.A., he doesn’t think much of the Brown v. Board of Education decision that desegregated American schools.
Aguilar simply doesn’t want to integrate with white institutions.
“We don’t want to drink from a white water fountain, we have our own wells and our natural reservoirs and our way of collecting rain in our aqueducts,” he said.
The issue of civil rights, Aguilar continued, “is all within the box of white culture and white supremacy. We should not still be fighting for what they have. We are not interested in what they have because we have so much more and because the world is so much larger.”
Ultimately, he said, the “white way, the American way, the neo liberal, capitalist way of life will eventually lead to our own destruction. And so it isn’t about an argument of joining neo liberalism, it’s about us being able, as human beings, to surpass the barrier.”
Aguilar said his school is not a response to problems in the public school system, as it’s available only to about 150 families.
“We consider this a resistance, a starting point, like a fire in a continuous struggle for our cultural life, for our community and we hope it can influence future struggle,” he said. “We hope that it can organize present struggle and that as we organize ourselves and our educational and cultural autonomy, we have the time to establish a foundation with which to continue working and impact the larger system.”
On its website, the school describes itself as being “dedicated to providing urban children of immigrant native families an excellent education founded upon their own language, cultural values and global realities.”
“We draw from traditional indigenous Mexican forms of social organization known as the Kalpulli,” the website says, “founded upon the principles of serving collective interests, assembling an informed polity, and honestly administering and executing collective decisions.”
Born in Mexicali in Baja California, Aguilar attended schools on the border in Calexico, a farm worker community.
“We grew up with the knowledge that in Arizona, in Yuma, Arizona, everything was black and white,” he said in the journal interview. “The dogs and Mexicans drank from one spot and the white people drank from the other one.”
Teachers in the Los Angeles area, he contended, have little regard for the culture of Hispanic children.
By learning the Aztec tongue of Nahuatl, he said, students “will be able to understand our own ancestral culture and our customs and traditions that are so imbued in the language.”
“The importance of Nahutal is also academic because Nahuatl is based on a math system, which we are also practicing. We teach our children how to operate a base 20 mathematical system and how to understand the relationship between the founders and their bodies, what the effects of astronomical forces and natural forces on the human body and the human psyche, our way of thinking and our way of expressing ourselves. And so the language is much more than just being able to communicate. When we teach Nahuatl, the children are gaining a sense of identity that is so deep, it goes beyond whether or not they can learn a certain number of vocabulary words in Nahuatl. It’s really about them understanding themselves as human beings. Everything we do here is about relationships.”
KABC’s McIntyre, noting the school’s emphasis on Aztec language and culture combined with test scores that fall below the L.A. school system’s meager results, told WND he believes the school is bordering on “educational malpractice.”
“What high schools are they preparing kids to go to?” he asked.
“The whole multi-culture-diversity argument is blowing up in our faces,” McIntyre said. “What’s lost is, we have a culture, too. But when you defend American culture – which I believe is the most diverse in the world – you are branded a xenophobe.”
The school has no whites, blacks or Asians, McIntyre pointed out. According to statistics he found, 91.3 percent are Hispanic and the rest Native American or Eskimo.
McIntyre said he was teaching a writing class at UCLA in 1993 when Aguilar, as a student, participated in a 50-day student takeover after Chicano activist and labor leader Caesar Chavez died. School officials eventually gave in to demands to create a Chicano-studies major and agreed to pay some $50,000 in damages caused by the protesters.
Aguilar repeatedly has refused to come on McIntyre’s program, the host said.