Monday, May 14, 2007

Educational Choices: How Far Diversity?

I made an oblique reference, yesterday, to the Academia Semillas del Pueblo Charter School in Los Angeles. "Chartered by the [Los Angeles Unified School D]istrict in 2001, the institution is backed by MEChA [Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán], a radical student group with the stated goal of returning the American Southwest to Mexico," WorldNet Daily reported last year.

The principal of the school, Marcos Aguilar, is quoted as saying that the "white way, the American way, the neo liberal, capitalist way of life will eventually lead to our own destruction. And so [the school] isn't about an argument of joining neo liberalism, it's about us being able, as human beings, to surpass the barrier."
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. . . . 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.
Cause for concern?

"Not at all!" claims Gustavo Arellano in "Raza isn't racist," an Op-Ed piece in the Los Angeles Times.
I can testify that, without a doubt, MEChA, is harmless.

Sure, the organization's founding documents, the Plan de Santa Barbara and the Plan Espiritual de Aztlán, call for a Chicano homeland. But few members take these hilariously dated relics of the 1960s seriously, if they even bother to read them. Little of the modern-day MEChA remains separatist, other than the occasional Che-spouting junior and a few cute mestizas with Aztec names like Citlali who sport Frida ponytails, black-frame glasses and Chuck Taylor high-tops.

MEChA's primary objectives are not secessionist but educational (get as many Latino high schoolers into the universities as possible and help them stay there) and cultural. For many Mexican American students, MEChA is their family by proxy, a support network for those of us who were the first in our families to graduate from high school, let alone college.

The open-borders philosophy expressed by many Mechistas isn't born from an irredentist ideology but from their experience of having relatives divided by borders. All that raza clatter isn't racism, it's the traditional way immigrants climb the success ladder — through solidarity and education.
Please read the rest of his article to understand the full range of evidence he brings for his claims.

Perhaps Arellano is speaking the truth. Perhaps, as he says, "a few indige-nazis are stains sullying a noble organization."

Maybe. Indeed, I'm rather inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Interesting to me, however, that, in his article, he begins that last sentence I quoted with a reference to Islam: "It doesn't help MEChA's case that Semillas del Pueblo Principal Marcos Aguilar, a former UCLA Mechista, once dismissed the importance of Brown vs. the Board of Education during an interview, adding that 'the white way, the American way, the neoliberal, capitalist way of life will eventually lead to our own destruction,'" he says. "Or that members of Pasadena City College's MEChA chapter recently destroyed an entire run of the campus newspaper because they considered the paper's coverage of one MEChA event inadequate.

"But, as in Islam, a few indige-nazis are stains sullying a noble organization." [Emphasis added. --JAH]

And that brings me to my true reason for posting.

I've been reading Mark Steyn's America Alone.

At one point (pp. 71-73) he writes,
In 2005, a twenty-three-year-old American citizen named Ahmed Omar Abu Ali was charged with plotting to assassinate the president. . . . [A]ccording to the Associated Press report in the New York Times, he "was born in Houston and moved to Falls Church, Va., where he was valedictorian of his high school class." . . .

Neither the Times nor the AP had space to mention that the . . . high school Mr. Abu Ali attended was the Islamic Saudi Academy, funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It's on American soil but it describes itself as "subject to the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" and its classes are based on "the curriculum, syllabus, and materials established by the Saudi Ministry of Education." So what does it teach? No room for American history, but that's not so unusual in Virginia high schools these days. Instead, the school concentrates on Wahhabi history and "Islamic values and the Arabic language and culture," plus "the superiority of jihad." By the eleventh grade, students are taught that on the Day of Judgment Muslims will fight and kill the Jews, who will find that the very trees they're hiding behind will betray them by saying, "Oh Muslim, oh servant of God, here is a Jew hiding behind me. Come here and kill him." Beats climate change and gay outreach, or whatever they do in the regular Falls Church high school.

Here is a standard Saudi Ministry of Education exercise, as taught in the first grade at that Virginia academy and at other Saudi-funded schools in the Western world:
Fill in the blanks with the appropriate words:
Every religion other than __________ is false.
Whoever dies outside of Islam enters _________.
Correct answers: Islam, hellfire.
And what do America's president and the secretary of state and the deputy secretary of this and the undersecretary of that say in return?
The Saudis are our ________.
. . . The Saudis are our friends. No matter how many of us they kill.

The Germans and Japanese had to make do with Lord Haw-Haw and Tokyo Rose. If only they could have had Third Reich Academies in every English city and Hirohito Highs from Alaska to Florida and St. Adolf's Parish Church in every medium-sized town around the world.
Fifty pages later, Steyn notes that people in Europe who raise concerns about the threat of unassimilated Muslims--even Muslims (or former Muslims) themselves who raise such concerns,
are either murdered, forced to live under armed guard, driven into exile overseas, or sued under specious hate-crimes laws. Dismissed by the European establishment, they're banished to the fringe.
He illustrates his point with the story of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Somali-born Dutch parliamentarian who "spoke out against the ill-treatment of Muslim women, a subject she knows about firsthand." She
found herself under threat of death. Her neighbors, the justice system, and the Dutch government reacted to this by taking her to court, getting her evicted from her home, and announcing plans to revoke her citizenship. Boundlessly tolerant Europe, which finds it so hard to expel openly treasonous jihad-inciting imams, finally found one Muslim it's willing to kick out.
And I am reminded of the case of Melissa Busekros, a German girl who, after falling behind in her public school, was brought home by her parents to be taught there. The police, in what some observers called a SWAT-style raid, entered the Busekros' home on February 1st this year and took Melissa to a mental institution for treatment of what authorities called "school phobia."

Since then, having turned 16, Melissa has been permitted to return home. Her case, however, is not yet closed. See also "German Homeschool Girl Free for Now."

The question for run-of-the-mill, patriotic (i.e., non-revolutionary) homeschoolers of any nationality: how far can the state go in permitting unrestricted, unsupervised, unexamined diversity of education before there are real, serious consequences?

Another question for all of us who are non-Muslim: How far will our states (and by "states," I am referring not merely to the kinds of entities that seem to be subsumed under larger bodies like the federal government of the United States of America, but to those larger bodies themselves: the federal government of the USA, and the EU, etc.) . . . --How far can and will our states go in permitting radical Islamists to push their agendas within their schools before they decide "enough is enough"?

(Putting the question directly: Why is it that those who teach Christian doctrines in their (home)schools seem to come under crushing state scrutiny, yet those who teach doctrines that are wildly at odds with the kind of freedom that the West has enjoyed, now, for many years . . . these others seem to get off scot-free? --Actually, I have few doubts about the answer to that question. But we'll leave that discussion for another time.)
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