William Chun-hoon: Early Days of Bilingual Education

With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1965 and the effects in Los Angeles of East Asian migration during and after the Vietnam War, Castelar Elementary became a microcosm from which to view the demographic changes of L.A.'s Chinatown. In order to deal with issues affecting this immigrant diaspora - including language, class and race - William Chun-Hoon, then the school's principal, turned Castelar into a community hub. Chun-Hoon understood early on that in order to serve his constituency, he needed to create a place-based neighborhood ecology that could serve the community at large. During the 1970's and 1980's, Chun-Hoon hired teachers from diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds to properly target issues of bilingual education and provide adult classes for parents and grandparents needing a bridge to assimilate to the larger mainstream society, and allow community organizations such as the Chinese Historical Society, the Friends of the Chinese American Museum and the Chinatown Branch Library a way to congregate, organize and evolve.


Educating Chinatown
"From a family of 17, leadership came easily."


Early Days of Bilingual Education
"Bilingual necessity encouraged Castelar to develop pilot programs in both Chinese and Spanish."


School as Community Center
"Being, and staying community centered is one of the many goals of Castelar School."


Origins of the Chinese Library
"Castelar school was home to the first public library in Chinatown."



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