Bruin Alumni Association
Indoctrination, Not Education: Rampant Radicalism in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies

Chapter 1 - The Sad Saga of Dori Kozloff

Chapter 2 - GSEIS - A Closer Look

Chapter 3 - Par for the Course(s)

Chapter 4 - Coloring the Definition of Diversity

Chapter 5 - Sandra Harding

Chapter 6 - Peter McLaren

Chapter 7 - Daniel Solorzano

Chapter 8 - Clara Chu

Chapter 9 - Take Action

Indoctrination, Not Education: Rampant Radicalism in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies

By Andrew Jones
Chapter 7
The GSEIS Professoriate - Daniel Solorzano

    GSEIS Freireanism is not the sole province of Peter McLaren.  His colleague and department chair Daniel Solorzano has been a fan of such politicized teaching since at least the 1970s, and in recent years has churned out research on topics like “Using Critical Race Theory, Freire Problem Posing Method, and Case Study Research to Confront Race and Racism in Education” and “Teaching and Social Change: Reflections on a Freirean Approach in a College Classroom.” 

    In his contribution to the book “Education is Politics: Critical Thinking Across Differences, Postsecondary,” Solorzano explained that he first made successful use of Freirean pedagogy in the 1970s with his Chicano Studies class students at a Southern California community college.[i] After Solorzano lead the students through a critical examination of media portraits of Chicanos, the students concluded (wonder of pedagogical wonders) that Chicanos were indeed unfairly depicted as being primarily thugs or gang members. 

    In response (and Freireanism is all about responding), the students joined with local and statewide organizations to boycott and publicly criticize the movie studios who had produced the offending films.  As a result of their hard work, (liberal) Los Angeles mayor Tom Bradley refused to attend the premiere of one targeted film.  This illustration of “personal empowerment” conveys perfectly the goals and practice of critical pedagogy.  Regardless of students immaturity and nascent stage of political development, Solorzano and fellow critical pedagogy theorists openly advocate for politicizing the classroom.  By encouraging not just radical thought but radical action, Solorzano deviates that much farther from the legitimate mission of public schools.

    Appropriate to his status as former department chair, Solorzano is burning up with diversity fever.  Since 2000, Solorzano has co-authored four studies on behalf of groups pursuing the diversity agenda.  The most famous is a so-called “expert report written in conjunction with the Defendants in the case of Gratz, et al. v. Bollinger, et al,” authored after the case had moved up to the federal level.  Titled “Campus Racial Climate at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor: A Case Study,”[ii] the 119-page behemoth sets out to prove that “Blacks, Latinos and other students of color continue to be targets of discrimination and are denied equal opportunity to achieve.”  While claiming to be a “systematic, empirically-based examination,” the actual data is so much sociological claptrap: “data from focus groups, personal interviews, surveys, university records, newspapers, natural observations and other sources.”

    The methodology alone places the study’s validity in doubt.  For example, to study the climate of so-called feeder schools to the University of Michigan, Solorzano and his fellow authors held focus groups composed of a mere 68 total students between the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard University.  Quotes from these focus groups pepper the balance of the report in great profusion.  Unfortunately, because they are resolutely personal opinions (from undergraduates, no less), quoting them in great number does nothing to make a convincing case. 

    In fact, most of the quotes reveal the truly circular logic behind the report’s cries of racism.  Solorzano and co-authors quoted one Latino student’s lament, “It seems like the forces to get rid of affirmative action have a much larger voice than the forces that are trying to protect affirmative action and there’s a lot of misinformation fed into the White population about who affirmative action helps and the effects that it has.”  Solorzano presents this complaint about a campus debate on educational policy as proof of a hostile campus environment.  In the worldview of Solorzano and many of his GSEIS faculty colleagues, it’s actually racist to even question sacred cows like affirmative action.

    Further proof of Solorzano’s personal philosophy of racial separatism is found in his political allegiances.  Records on file at the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters show that Solorzano has been a registered member of “El Partido La Raza Unida” (The [Hispanic] Race United Party) since 1971.  This rump political party was a cog in the 1960’s and 1970’s radical Chicano machine which sought to create a racially-pure Aztec state (known as “Aztlan”) out of virtually all of the Southwestern United States. 

    California Secretary of State records show the Partido disappeared after two failed attempts at qualifying for the California ballot in 1980 and 1984, but the organizational filings are littered with the all-too-familiar names of lifelong Chicano irredentists.  The 1982 treasurer of the Partido was one Carlos Pelayo, who keeps the radical faith to present day (he signs internet postings with his residence as “Califaztlan, Aztlan.”)[iii]  Like Solorzano, Pelayo is still pursuing his own path toward revolucion as part of the modern-day “Partido Nacional La Raza Unida” whose platform calls for “Complete recognition of sovereignty for native nations and all colonized nations” and “Land grant restoration and restitution where appropriate.”  This reformed Partido’s platform also states, “We see no human being as “illegal.” Those who have arrived to the U.S. with heritage indigenous to the Americas, and specifically those crossing the southern border, are migrants on their own continent.”[iv] 

    The national leadership of the various Partido manifestations were actually worse.  Party co-founder Jose Angel Gutierrez, now a University of Texas – El Paso political science professor and activist lawyer, is notorious for his life-long anti-white hatred.  At a January 1995 conference at the University of California, Riverside, Gutierrez stated, “We have an aging white America…They are dying…They are shitting in their pants with fear!  I love it!...We have got to eliminate the gringo, and what I mean by that is if the worst comes to the worst, we have got to kill him.”  “Our devil,” Gutierrez said in 1970, “has pale skin and blue eyes.”[v]  If we are judged by the political company we keep, Solorzano has much to answer for.