This School Was Named After the Father of the Chicano Psychology

Isaac Vallenilla
 | November 22, 2022

Image courtesy of Nuestro Stories.

The George I. Sanchez Collaborative Community School was Albuquerque’s first school serving kindergarten through eighth grade. The school also promotes critical thinking, innovation, and collaboration. 

The school is named after an essential Mexican-American better known as the “Father of Chicano/a Psychology.”

George Isidore Sanchez was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in the early 20th century. 

His vocation as a teacher began early, long before his 17th birthday, when he accepted a teaching position at the Rancheria of Yrrisarri

While working as a teacher, George Isidore Sanchez continued his studies. In 1930 he graduated from the University of New Mexico and, in 1931, obtained a master’s degree in Educational Psychology and Spanish from the University of Texas-Austin. His thesis was entitled “A study of the scores of Spanish-speaking children on repeated tests.” Sanchez made it clear that he was against standardized testing, which caused segregation based on a lack of English proficiency.

From 1931 to 1935, Sanchez became director of the Information and Statistics Division of the New Mexico State Department of Education. From 1935 to 1936, he studied rural education in Mexico, concluding with his book Mexico: A Revolution by Education.

Sanchez was an advocate of La Raza. In the early ’40s, he became president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). His thoughts on defending Latinos against discrimination and stereotypes made him a pioneer of the Chicano movement.

George I. Sanchez died in 1972, and many honors have been given in his memory. A building at the University of Texas bears his name, as well as the George I. Sanchez Collaborative Community School, which hopes to carry on the legacy of an egalitarian education for Latinos and other members of the Albuquerque community.

Things you should know:

  • Sanchez’s relatives had been in New Mexico since early colonial times
  • Sanchez was a writer and member of the editorial board of The Nations Schools.
  • In 1937-1938, Sánchez was in the Venezuelan Ministry of Education and was director of the National Pedagogical Institute. His experience in Venezuela led him to write The Development of Education in Venezuela. 
  • When Sanchez was president of the League of United Latin American Citizens and published Forgotten People.

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