How the 1968 Walkout Impact Los Angeles Schools Today

Written by Patricia Hawke for www.schoolsk-12.com

March this year marks the 40th anniversary of the so called Chicano walkout in 1968 at Los Angeles Schools. Angered at the perceived discrimination against Mexican Americans, a small band of Hispanic students walked out of their Los Angeles schools in protest. 
 
The walkout then, was a reaction to the appalling conditions that Hispanic majority schools had to suffer through. The school buildings at these Los Angeles schools were dilapidated, paint peeling, and there were in many cases, not even enough desks for the students.  The problems faced by the Hispanic students didn’t end there.  The teachers were openly antagonistic of the Mexican American student population.   Dropout rates were at a staggering 45 percent in Los Angeles schools that had majority Hispanic populations. 
 
When the walkout took place, all participants were Mexican Americans from all walks of society.  Together they felt they were taking a stand against the kind of prejudice and discrimination that was being shown to them at Los Angeles schools. 
 
While the Mexican Americans who took part in the walkout at Los Angeles schools all those decades ago look back fondly on their courage and the strong stand that they took walking out of the schools, experts are divided as to whether the walkout was of any use at all in helping alleviate the condition of Hispanic students in Los Angeles schools and the condition of Hispanics in the country in general.
 
 
How the Walk Out is Relevant in Los Angeles Schools Today
 
Many Hispanics however, believe that the Chicano walkout did more harm than good in the larger scheme of things and that far from alleviating the conditions of the community, it set progress back by a few years.  They maintain that far from being a landmark event when the community came together as a whole to express their displeasure with the conditions meted out to them, the demonstration itself consisted of a small number of students who really didn’t do anything to change things much for the community.  You look at statistics, and you wonder if they may be, at least partially, right.
 
At many Los Angeles schools, particularly those that had large numbers of students who walked out, dropout rates still remain high, in some cases almost 45 percent.  Things have hardly changed at all in many ways, although the community itself is a lot more advanced and confident than in those days.
 
It seems that the key to success in eradicating discrimination is to get yourself a good education. Holding demonstrations might have a small term effect, but if you were to look for long lasting change in Los Angeles Schools, demonstration and protest hardly help their cause while a better thrust towards education for students at Los Angeles schools might prove more beneficial in promoting literacy levels.
 
 

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