The Pedagogy, Power, and Politics of Excellence in Latina/o Schools and Communities
Chapter 7. The Pedagogy, Power, and Politics of Excellence in Latina/o Schools and Communities in the 21st Century
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“Through our collective political commitment, critical consciousness, and the power of love, we, together, can make a just world possible.”
Excellence Campaigns and the excellence work described in this book aspire to provide a vehicle to respond to the Excellence Paradox facing many struggling urban public schools, particularly those serving low-income children and Latina/o students specifically. Concentrated inequality and disparities in educational opportunities for Latinas/os and other communities of color are widely apparent, and as stated by Richard Valencia (1997), are concentrated, pervasive, and disproportionately affecting the Latina/o community. These educational conditions are particularly real for those who are trying to respond on the ground every single day—the teachers, counselors, educational leaders, organizers, non-profit workers, and others who directly serve the Latina/o community. Additionally, the economic, health, and political access disparities surrounding schools only exacerbate, and in many cases worsen, the realities for Latinas/os in our public schools, and in our nation’s community colleges and universities, for that matter. While ← 123 | 124 → there have been modest gains in graduation and college-going rates for Latinas/os over the last couple of years, there remain major gaps across the educational pipeline. Furthermore, just as these challenges and systemic inequities are largely concentrated in low-income communities of color, so should our responses be.
As we are well into the second decade of the 21st century, it is important that equity-driven practitioners, leaders, scholars, and policymakers remain mindful of the Excellence...
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