Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil.
by Duane Campbell. Prof. Emeritus. Bilingual/Multicultural Education. CSU-S.
In 2015 after the Great Recession a new state budgets sent large amounts of funds to k-12 schools and the funds of the Local Control and Accountability Plan were targeted to low income schools. This increased funding will lead to a dramatic need for new teachers. Sacramento City Unified plans to hire 100 new teachers, and many other local urban districts will do the same. This faculty growth will continue for from 3-5 years.
But credentialed teachers from the Latino community and several Asian communities will not be available to hire because the Sac State pipeline for minority teachers has been broken. A new generation of mostly Anglo teachers will be hired which will continue the past failure to integrate the teaching profession in this region. Ending the pipeline will shape the nature of the local teaching profession for decades. Latino students make up 37 % of Sac City Unified students, Asians 17.4 %, African Americans 17.7 %, and White students 18.8 %. Latino families now make up over 37 % of California residents and Latino descent children now make up over 50% of public school students.
The Bilingual Multicultural Education Department at Sac State was set up as a structure so that the university, CSU-Sacramento, could serve the community by preparing and advancing hundreds of Chicano and Asian teachers each year. Unfortunately, others shut down this vehicle. Between 1994 -2006, Latino descent students were about 35% of the total teacher preparation students each year ( 60 -90 students per semester). After the termination of the department in 2010, Latino descent students were less than 10% of the total students in teacher preparation at Sac State (about 7 students). This decline was a direct consequence of eliminating the department.
The Bilingual Multicultural Education Department program at Sac State, like the earlier Mexican American Education Project, was a product of the Chicano movement, the influence of the United Farm Workers, and the social justice movement in public education. A goal was to penetrate the institutions ( universities) to create an alternative democratic social justice educational vehicle as a strategy for social change.
A significant organizing vehicle at Sac State was a small changing core group of faculty focused on a series of common goals. Specific organizational and change strategies changed over time.
A major strategy for change was to create a program with majority status for Chicano/Mexicano students and students of color. The experience of being in the majority ( majority status) changed the lives of many, focused the students and faculty on empowerment, and introduced, renewed and continued the positive aspects of the Chicano/social justice movements to students from later generations who were born, reared, and educated after the movement decline. The program kept the dream of educational justice alive for over two decades.
Over the decades of the 1980’s and 90’s, fewer and fewer faculty had themselves participated in the social movements. As a consequence the commitment to educational efforts based upon social movements, empowerment, and participatory democracy declined. By 2006 the political culture of the College of Education regressed to its mean- away from multicultural education goals and toward an increase in the normal, traditional, College of Education culture of faculty seeking individual advancement.
In each generation of students after the 1980’s we had fewer and fewer students who had participated in movements, particularly the Chicano Civil Rights movement. However until 2006 the BMED center was a place where the few students who had experienced movements and had been educated by movements were re-enforced, encouraged, and where they became opinion leaders.
Our programs presented multicultural and bilingual teacher preparation as a vocation ,as a change agent as much as a career. When the student population of conscious students declined, they were less influential. A similar pattern occurred among faculty as the generations changed.
The increased ambivalence toward the need for substantive school reform and teacher preparation reform to achieve multicultural goals and social justice goals along with the changing experiences of faculty and students led to a rupture of the prior faculty unity of purpose to create and extend a multicultural teacher preparation program. The BMED department was terminated by a vote of the entire College faculty in 2010. The great majority of the students did not even know the matter was under consideration. This illustrates how far the engagement and empowerment of students had declined.
In the BMED department we set up a structure so that the university, CSU-Sacramento, could continue to serve the community by preparing and advancing hundreds of Chicano and Asian teachers each year. Unfortunately, others shut down this vehicle. Between 1994 -2006, Latino descent students were about 35% of the total teacher preparation students each year ( 60 -90 students per semester). After the termination of the department in 2010, according to reports of students and faculty, Latino descent students were less than 10% of the total students in teacher preparation. This decline was a direct consequence of eliminating the department. You will not recruit significant numbers of Latino students if there is no program for them.
Programs such as BMED and Chicano Studies are ultimately based upon people- both faculty and students. As long as the faculty were dedicated to building a pipeline to open the teaching profession to Latinos and other people of color the program was successful.
After a decade a number of faculty lost this interest. Instead they pursued their individual career goals and projects and the collective responsibility to protect the program was lost.
In this environment a decline in FTE caused by the Great Recession and endless personal conflicts led to the “re-organization” of the College of Education including the elimination of the Bilingual/Multicultural Education Department. The individual faculty members kept their positions, but the program was dissolved and the educational pipeline broken.
Individual faculty in the department of Teacher Education who had long criticized the BMED program as separatist joined with a segment of the BMED faculty in voting to eliminate the program.
Like prior reforms including bilingual education (repealed by Prop. 227) and affirmative action hiring (repealed by Prop.209) once a program has become successful the forces of repression find a way to stop the program and to return the power to the (mostly Anglo) power structure. This is accomplished by faculty who consider themselves enlightened, liberal, and progressive.
There is little doubt that individual faculty and students will continue to create positive projects and efforts at CSU-Sacramento. But, an organized, collective effort is always stronger than individual efforts and this organized, collective effort has been terminated.
For a longer, detailed description of these events. See https://sites.google.com/site/chicanodigital/home/the-creation-and-demise-of-bilingual-education-at-csu-sacramento-2