Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A Battle Over Who Speaks for Latinos in Vista Schools

A Battle Over Who Speaks for Latinos in Vista Schools
May 31, 2010
Voice of San Diego

Before Eduardo Preciado took over, it was a placid committee where parents gave their input on programs for English learners in Vista schools.

Now the group is embroiled in Vista's struggle to find a voice for a Latino community that has grown in numbers but not in political posts over the last decade.

Preciado has changed the committee on English learners into a platform for a small but passionate group of Latino parents who say it's their only place to speak out on all kinds of issues. Though Latino children are now much more common than white students in Vista schools, the school board is largely white and other Latino groups are scarce. One fan calls his group "the voice of the Latino people."

But not everyone wants him to be that voice. His group has split Latino parents -- and some want the outspoken and impassioned Preciado out. Some take issue with his injection of politics into the committee. Others call him too aggressive and confrontational.

There is fierce disagreement over whether the English learners committee should even play the role Preciado has pushed it to. Such committees are supposed to advise their districts on programs for English learners. Preciado has pushed the group to voice its opinions and seek change on much broader, more controversial debates.

He rails against the teachers union and the school board. He argues that the school district has failed Latino kids, pointing to the sobering dropout rates for Latino teens and decrying cuts to busing and programs...

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