Olivares-Alvarado, Ana Margarita (2015-04). Luchando Unidos por la Libertad: the Latina/Latino Struggle for Education in the United States. Master's Thesis. Thesis uri icon


  • This thesis explores the historical relationship between education and the political sphere in order to understand the current dynamic between education and democracy in the United States. The project discusses how the present institution of public education has inherited values and beliefs from Western political thought, reminding educators the education system has been used to impose racial and gender distinctions. Due to an increasingly pluralistic and multicultural American democracy, educators must critically address the exclusionary practices and principles within the public education system. Additionally, relevant educational policy is both a culmination of the historical relationship between education and politics in the United States and a major cause of educational transgression. Policy such as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 presents a majoritarian narrative perpetuating white privilege and, contrary to its prescriptive purpose, leaves minority students far behind. The educational attainment of racial minority students continues to be a fraction of the attainment achieved by their White counterparts, and Latina/o students in particular have the lowest educational attainment of all minority students. This disparity is significant as the Latina/o population is the fastest growing minority group in the nation, especially in the Southwest. By drawing from the educational philosophies of Maria Montessori, Paulo Freire, and Nel Noddings, this thesis makes the case that educators must redirect their pedagogical efforts towards the needs of historically oppressed students in proposing a pedagogy informed by humanity, liberty, and care that enables the development of meaningful student-teacher relationships.

publication date

  • April 2015