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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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Chapter 2. The Praxis Project: Participatory Research Advocating for Excellence in Schools (Louie F. Rodríguez)

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·2·

The PRAXIS Project

Participatory Research Advocating for Excellence in Schools

Louie F. Rodríguez

Context

The PRAXIS Project, Participatory Research Advocating for Excellence in Schools, is a school based, university-affiliated research collaborative aimed at recognizing and responding to the education crisis facing the Inland Empire. The Inland Empire, including San Bernardino and Riverside Counties in Southern California, is home to nearly 5 million people. Nearly 80% of the school-age population is either African-American or Latino, over 30% of the students are English Language Learners, and the community is faced with a 50%+ dropout rate. Educational attainment figures are dismal, especially among communities of color. Less than 10% of adults between 25 and 29 years of age have a bachelor’s degree, and year after year less than 10% of high school graduates are eligible for the state university system. Beyond education, the region faces one of the highest crime rates in the country (Institute of Applied Research, 2016), a significantly high unemployment rate (The Inland Empire Center, 2011), and had one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country during the nation-wide economic recession (Swanstrom, Chapple, & Immergluck, 2009).←39 | 40→

It is within this social and educational context that a response was needed. The objectives would need to be complex and multifaceted including transforming the institutional conditions that facilitate counterproductive outcomes, engaging students in the research and action process itself, and community-focused by engaging as many stakeholders...

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