Friday, May 30, 2014

Immigration Reform; Divisions on Strategy

by David Iaconangelo.  Latin Times 
The New York Times reports that on Tuesday, a group of pro-immigration reform groups including the Service Employees International Union and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops urged President Barack Obama to delay executive action on immigration enforcement until the August Congressional recess in order to give House Republicans time to act on legislation.  A day later, the administration said it was ordering Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson to hold off on final recommendations to the president on how immigration-enforcement policies could be made more “humane” – a task understood as preliminary to any potential executive action taken by Obama. 
Eliseo Medina, chief organizer with the SEIU, told the Times that the move would force the hand of Republicans in the House, saying that it would be “absolutely crystal clear for Latino and Asian voters that they blocked” immigration reform if the GOP did not act.  Democratic leaders in Congress have also gotten on board with that strategy; New York senator Chuck Schumer, a key proponent of reform and member of the eight-man bipartisan team that wrote last summer’s comprehensive Senate bill, said last Friday that Obama would have “no choice but to act on his own” if House Republicans refused to pass legislation. 
But some immigrant advocates express anger and impatience with the strategy as deportations of undocumented immigrants continue

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maya Angelou

There are numerous tributes to Maya Angelou on the web.  Democracy Now is particularly well done. FYI. Maya Angelou taught at CSU- Sacramento ( then Sacramento State) in 1974. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

RIP Vincent G. Harding, Historian Who Co-Wrote MLKs Beyond Vietnam Speech

RIP Vincent G. Harding, Historian Who Co-Wrote MLKs Beyond Vietnam Speech

Today we spend the hour remembering the pioneering historian, theologian and civil rights activist Dr. Vincent Harding. He died on May 19 at the age of 82 in Philadelphia. He lived in Denver, but was in Pennsylvania where he had been teaching at Pendle Hill, a Quaker retreat center. Harding was a close adviser to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and wrote King’s famous antiwar speech, "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence." King delivered the address at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4, 1967 — exactly one year before he was assassinated in Memphis.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Marcos of the Zapatistas says he is stepping down

Translated by Danica Jorden

For audio recording of Marcos' goodbye, click here.

“We believe that it is necessary for one of us to die so that Galeano may live on. So we have decided that Marcos must die today,” announced the Zapatista military head and spokesperson.

At 2:08 am this morning, Subcomandante Marcos announced that as of that moment, he had ceased to exist. In a statement made before those attending a tribute to Galeano, the Zapatista assassinated in the Zapatista community of La Realidad, the military head of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) noted: “If I were to define Marcos, the character, then I would say without hesitation that he was a mask.”

After more than 20 years at the helm of the political-military organization that first took up arms on the 1st of January 1994, Marcos announced that he has given up the command. He noted that after last year and the beginning of this year’s Zapatista Little School classes, “we realised that there was already a generation that could look us in the face, listen to us and speak to us without guidance or leadership, neither deferring to us nor requiring monitoring.” And so, he said, “Marcos, the personality, was no longer necessary. The next phase of the Zapatista struggle was ready.”

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Sacramento Bee covers one side of the story; Misses drop in Mexican American/Chicano enrollment

The story of the Chinese graduates from an MBA program in Singapore that  appeared in the Friday on-line paper and on Page 1 of the Saturday print edition  of the Sacramento Bee was interesting and a bit problematic. 
I don't have a problem with this entrance into international education. It could well be a valued new program.
Unfortunately, at the same time, Mexican American/Latino students in teacher preparation at Sac State have been reduced from over 100 per semester  to less than 10. This at the same time as the student population in California  k-12 schools has reached over 50% Latino descendent students.
And, in the graduate programs in education the percentage of Mexican American/Latino students have declined from 35% of the total enrollment! to less than 10%.
While the economic crisis of the last four years contributed to an  overall decline in enrollment,   the percentage decline  in Mexican American enrollment is a consequence of  eliminating programs serving language minority students. Prior to 2010, Sac State had one of the few teacher preparation programs in Northern California  successfully preparing a  large number of diverse future teachers, including bilingual teachers for the states  growing population of  language minority students. Successful programs in Bilingual multicultural teacher preparation  were dismantled  and potential future teachers  went elsewhere.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Crisis in Democracy and Education

James Banks. In Educating Citizens in an American Society says,

A fundamental premise of a democratic society is that citizens will participate in the governing of the nation and that the nation-state will reflect the hopes, dreams, and possibilities of its people. People are not born democrats. Consequently, an important goal of the schools in a democratic society is to help students acquire the knowledge, values, and skills needed to participate effectively in public communities. Educating students to be democrats is a challenge in any kind of society. It is a serious challenge in a society characterized by cultural, ethnic, racial, and language diversity, especially when these variables are used to privilege some individuals from some groups and to deny others equal opportunities to participate.” (p. 1)
The  The promotion of democracy should be a central goal of schooling. Teachers should promote and cultivate democratic values. One way we promote democracy is to teach about civic responsibility, the electoral process, and the U.S. Constitution. A second way is to teach using social participation and service learning strategies . A third way to promote democracy in the classroom is by developing in students a preference for fairness, justice, and mutual respect; these are issues of classroom management.
Excerpts from Choosing Democracy: a practical guide to multicultural education. ( 4th. edition. 2010)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

California- The Most Segregated State for Latino Students

California The Most Segregated State for Latino Students

Date Published: May 14, 2014
State Has Little to Celebrate 60 Years After Brown v Board of Education.

Related Documents
LOS ANGELES--Marking the 60th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v Board of Education, the UCLA’s Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles assessed California's progress in addressing school segregation, and found that California students are more racially segregated than ever.  In their new study, Segregating California’s Future: Inequality and its Alternative 60 Years after Brown v. Board of Education, the report authors conclude that California is the third worst state when it comes to school segregation for African Americans, behind New York and Illinois.  California is, however, the state in which Latino students are most segregated.
The Brown decision challenged the legitimacy of the entire "separate but equal" educational system of the South, and helped accelerate the march toward racial and social equality across the United States, but Brown impacted California very little. According to the report, various subsequent state court decisions resulted in California having no school integration policy, which allowed segregation to grown substantially in the past two decades.
After analyzing demographic data from California's more than 10,000 schools, the authors conclude that California’s school enrollment has grown far more diverse since Brown.  But demographic shifts that could have led to more diverse and integrated schools have, instead, resulted in the educational isolation of Latino and African-American students, in particular.  

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Our Families Can't Wait - Alma Lopez

Our Families Can’t Wait.
In late January, a group of Dream Activists and young supporters in Arizona and other regions near the border met to analyze the campaigns of 2013 and to propose alternative strategies. They issued an open letter calling for a “practical legislative solution for immediate relief for families,  even if it doesn’t include a special path to citizenship" and urged supporters to engage in an aggressive campaign for a presidential executive order  to end deportations of family members of U.S. citizens. (Full text of the letter can be found here:

 In January to get a sense of this viewpoint I interviewed Alma Lopez, an activist in Sacramento.  Alma had co-presented with me the workshop on immigration at the DSA national convention.
What do you think has been the effect of immigrant rights activism on young people?
“Young people have been playing a major role, along with students and the immigrants community members.  In Sacramento we have been coordinating with people in Northern and Southern California, with people who have been arrested in protests against ICE and deportations.”  
“The civil disobedience and the arrests, have played a major role in telling the community, and the general public, how important it is to keep families together and to come up with a policy that is fair and just for everybody.”

Monday, May 05, 2014

Obama or Republicans- Who is blocking immigration reform ?

As the Republican-led House stonewalls legislative action, insisting the president can't be trusted to enforce the law, Obama's pivot to executive action sets a dangerous political trap for the GOP. They'll feel compelled to oppose his steps to make life easier for undocumented immigrants -- they're already begun to do just that. But that will further alienate their party with Hispanics, the country's fastest-growing demographic, for whom immigration reform is a high priority.
Even worse, if Obama acts on his own Republicans won't share in any of the credit. Democrats will reap political gains with the Latinos -- whom GOP strategists insist the party must win over to stay competitive on the presidential stage -- in 2016 and beyond while Republicans take the side of those calling for deporting unauthorized immigrants.
"When Republicans say the President must do more to enforce the law, we hear it as a lame excuse for their own inaction and a call for the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants," said Frank Sharry, who runs the pro-reform group America's Voice. "Needless to say, the hole the GOP has dug itself with Latino, Asian American, and immigrant voters gets deeper every time they say it."

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Mexican American Studies in Texas.

and, in California?
See posts below. 

Free Trade Agreements are Killing People

Stop TPP.
By David Bacon
Truthout Report, 5/2/14

The free trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia, which took effect on May 15, 2012, hadn't yet reached its second birthday when the office of the public workers' union in Cali, SINTRAEMCALI, was firebombed.   On April 11 a Colombian court had ordered the country's government to apologize for attacking the union, along with that of the telephone workers,  SINTRATELEFONOS, and university workers, SINTRAUNICOL, during the past administration of President Alvaro Uribe, who signed the trade agreement.  The bombs were thrown five days later.

In 2004 a large number of SINTRAEMCALI workers were fired, and over the years since 15 were forced to flee Cali, eight were murdered and over a hundred more threatened.  Last year a leader of the city union's retirees' organization, Luis Fabio Campo Rodriguez, was murdered, and the union's past president Alexander Lopez Maya was revealed as the target of a government assassination program, "Operation Dragon."
Read the entire piece and see photos at the link provided.