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PAR EntreMundos

A Pedagogy of the Américas

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Edited By Jennifer Ayala, Julio Cammarota, Margarita I. Berta-Ávila, Melissa Rivera, Louie F. Rodríguez and María Elena Torre

PAR EntreMundos: A Pedagogy of the Américas challenges the standard narratives of "achievement" to think about how Latinx students can experience an education that forges new possibilities of liberation and justice. Growing Latinx student populations have led to concerns about "assimilating" them into mainstream academic frameworks. This book offers an alternative, decolonizing approach that embraces complex Latinx identities and clears a path toward resisting systems of oppression. Educating Latinx students should involve more than just helping them achieve in school but rather having them recognize their agency to transform the larger structure of education to promote justice-oriented practices. The authors offer a framework for such transformation by honoring their theoretical lineages, proposing a set of guiding principles, and sharing stories about collective social action within and outside Latinx communities. PAR EntreMundos: A Pedagogy of the Américas is a practice of liberation and freedom.

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Introduction

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For a high school student, walking through the school hallways between classes can be an uneventful experience, just a transition from one class to another. One day Zach Rubio, a 16-year-old Mexican American student thought his transition through the hallway was as innocuous as the many other times he has traversed his school, but a teacher overhearing a conversation he was having with a classmate thought differently. She heard Zach and his classmate speak Spanish, which she believed was inappropriate and “abnormal”. The teacher reported Zach to the principal who summarily suspended him for 1½ days. After learning that his son was suspended for speaking Spanish, Zach’s father went to the principal to find out what policy had been violated. The school district did not have a policy preventing students from speaking non-English languages. In fact, the district superintendent rescinded the suspension after learning about the incident, stating that “the district does not prevent students from speaking foreign languages at school”. Although his statement indicated that speaking Spanish is not grounds for suspension, it was very telling as to how Latinxs are perceived in the education system—as a foreign, uninvited presence.1

Zach’s suspension happened in a high school located in Kansas City, one of the new areas with emerging Latinx communities. Punishment for speaking←1 | 2→ non-English languages is a significant part of educational history throughout much of the U.S. Southwest, West Coast, and East Coast. The fact that Zach’s suspension occurred in America’s heartland...

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