Thursday, October 29, 2015

Chicano History and School Textbooks

By Duane Campbell
The Mexican American Digital History Project and a broad group of allies word  for over a year to add Chicano history to the California History/Social Science Framework, the document that determines what goes into textbooks in California.
 Now, the Quality Instructional Materials Commission of the California State Board of Education have posted their proposed revised framework and it includes most of what we proposed. 
The actual proposed course descriptions  are listed as appendices to this meeting agenda.
You need to read the specific appendices for grades 9-12.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Charter Schools Fuel Inequality and Hinder Reform

by Jimmy  Franco
Charter school interests led by the Broad Foundation have recently unveiled an expansion plan called “The Great Public Schools Now”. This plan is proposing a huge increase of privately operated schools within the Los Angeles School District with the creation of 260 new charters during the next eight years at a cost of 490 million-dollars. The approval and implementation of such a plan would eventually double the number of LAUSD students attending privately operated charter schools and this would comprise almost half of the LAUSD’s students. According to this plan such a massive expansion of charters would also require the services of about 5000 teachers to staff these new schools, however, the
Real estate billionaire Eli Broad and his charter foundation want to privatize half of the public schools within the LAUSD.
Real estate billionaire Eli Broad and his charter foundation want to privatize half of the public schools within the LAUSD.
proposal makes no mention of recruiting any teachers presently employed by LA Unified who are unionized and generally more experienced. Instead, this Broad Foundation plan proposes to hire recent college graduates as its instructors who will be trained by ‘Teach for America’and other private groups. These young college graduates and prospective charter teachers are generally inexperienced, paid less and non-union, all of which keep business costs down for the privately operated charters. If the Broad plan is approved and implemented, this loss of tens of thousands of students to these new charter schools could possibly result in the elimination of  thousands of jobs for LA District’s teachers, administrators and non-teaching employees. The reaction of the present school board to this proposal has been mixed. Charters are businesses that privately operate public schools and use public school sites and tax monies to fund their for-profit operations. The first privately operated LAUSD charters were created and approved during the 1990’s by the school board which was under heavy pressure to reform the District’s schools.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Dolores Huerta: The Latino Community Must Stand United

“The United States is a country of immigrants.” That is a phrase that is heard many times during each election cycle. And although the Latino and immigrant communities across the United States have always played a key role in all facets of government, business and society, we still continue to face a significant amount of challenges.
Yet, we continue to witness more anti-immigrant rhetoric across the mainstream media, while state legislatures — like North Carolina — enact laws that negatively affect Latinos. Meanwhile, too many politicians at all levels have used their soapboxes to spew ugly language that scapegoats and vilifies our communities.

We can change this.

As we inch ever closer to 2016, Latinos need to become aware of the true power that they wield. Every day we work hard to ensure that our communities remain vibrant, that our families continue to strengthen this great country, and that our loved ones are afforded a chance to pursue the American Dream. By our hard work, our dollars, and our ingenuity, we continue to ensure that this country grows and prospers.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Refugee Crisis from Central America Continues

Joseph Sorrentino
The refugee crisis isn’t over. I’m not talking about the tens of thousands pouring into Europe over the last several months, but about the tens of thousands who are still trying to get to the United States from Central America.
But you’d never know it from listening to our government or our media. After the panic over the “surge” of children at the border last summer, stories about Central American refugees all but disappeared. Now, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is crowing about a nearly 50 percent drop in apprehensions of family units at the Southwest Border over the last 12 months, compared to the previous year.
Yet, according to staff in refugee shelters across Mexico, shelters are full and refugees are still streaming into that country, hoping to make it to the United States. If we’re apprehending fewer people, it is because more are being deported by Mexico or falling prey to gangs, drug cartels or dangerous terrain on a voyage that is becoming as treacherous as the Mediterranean crossing.
And like the Syrians, they meet the UN criteria for a refugee: anyone fleeing their home country because of violence and who fears persecution upon return. I spent seven weeks in Mexico between late January and March of this year, interviewing Central American refugees in shelters stretching from Oaxaca to Mexico City. Although several mentioned economic concerns, almost all said it was violence that drove them from their homes; violence mainly perpetrated by the incredibly brutal gangs Mara 18 and Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13). Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have some of the highest murder rates in the world. People told me of having to pay la renta, extortion money, to operate a business or even to live in a particular neighborhood. If they did not pay, the gang would kill their children. Gangs also forcibly recruit young men; if they refuse, they or their families turn up dead.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Dreamers and Immigration Reform

Puerto Rican Crisis

Puerto Rico is in crisis. But the crisis is not only about how to pay Wall Street. It is about the impact of centuries-long economic devastation on the men, women, and children—especially children—that live in Puerto Rico. While failure to pay the banks and the vultures makes headlines in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, the human misery caused by five centuries of colonialism does not.

Tourists are fascinated by the heavy blue cobblestones that pave the streets of Old San Juan. Why they are there is as good an explanation as any for Puerto Rico’s current crisis. In the days of Spanish colonialism, they were ballast to keep the ships crossing the Atlantic from tossing about and blowing over. The ships came empty, and left for Spain full of gold, silver, and other riches stolen from the indigenous Taínos. The ballast left behind was used to pave the streets.

Puerto Rico has been sacked by colonial powers for half a millennium. Is it any wonder it is in dire straits? Today, it is $73 billion in debt. As a point of comparison: Greece recently asked for about $82 billion from the European Union. The German finance minister thought it was funny when he proposed to U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew that the Eurozone exchange Greece for Puerto Rico. This is not funny; it is not even a good analogy. Neither the Germans nor the Eurozone have the power to “trade Greece” to anyone; its citizens can tell their prime minister what they think about EU debt proposals. Of course, they have to weigh their choice against the threat of being kicked out of the Eurozone.1

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Republicans Use Courts to Block DACA- DAPA

Republicans Use Courts to Block Immigration Reform - 4.7 million now subject to deportation. 

Michael D. Shear and Julia Preston.  New York Times. Oct.14, 2015.
WASHINGTON — The prime-time assertion of executive power was audacious and far-reaching. Nearly a year ago, President Obama vowed that his administration would provide up to four million undocumented immigrants the ability to live and work in the United States without fear of immediate deportation.
It almost certainly will not happen for the vast majority of them.
The conservative legal campaign against the centerpiece of Mr. Obama’s immigration overhaul has largely succeeded in running out the clock, blocking the president’s executive actions from taking effect while judges consider their legality. Now, even if Mr. Obama ultimately prevails in the legal battle — which would occur next summer at the earliest — there will probably be time for at most a few hundred thousand of those immigrants to qualify for protection before the end of the president’s term.
Worse for the administration, in the next few weeks, the states fighting to stop Mr. Obama may score their biggest victory yet — achieving a long-enough delay in the lower courts to prevent the Supreme Court from even considering and ruling on the case until after next year’s presidential election. That timing would leave any final decision about immigration to Mr. Obama’s successor.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ethnic Studies Are Important

The Time for Ethnic Studies is Now
Christine Sleeter

California has one of the largest and most diverse student populations in the nation. Over 71 percent of California’s students are ethnic minority; over half are Latino. There is ongoing concern about closing racial/ethnic achievement gaps, and about building cross-racial understanding. What is often not understood is that ethnic studies helps to address both concerns.

Over the past two decades, very little attention done into making California’s curriculum more reflective of Californians. In 2002, I analyzed the History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools for its racial/ethnic representation. I found the 96 Americans named for study were 77% White, 18% African American, 4% Native American, 1% Latino, and 0% Asian American. All Latino and all but one Native American names appeared at the elementary level. AB 101 specifically addresses this absence of racial/ethnic minorities, particularly Latinos, in the state’s social science curriculum.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

AB 101 Vetoed- Ethnic Studies

From the Ethnic Studies Coalition.
Unfortunately, Governor Brown refused to listen to the people -- he vetoed AB 101. Sources also tell us that State Superintendent Tom Torlakson played a role in killing the Ethnic Studies bill. You can read Gov. Brown's letter and Assemblymember Alejo's response on our website.

But we will not lose our resolve. We will not allow the powers-that-be dictate to us what is worthy of study and what is not. Our communities deserve better. We will redouble our efforts at the local level and prepare ourselves to ensure we build insurmountable public pressure to bring Ethnic Studies into every school in California.

Thanks to your efforts, school districts across California are implementing Ethnic Studies programs -- to more than 200,000 students! This is a huge accomplishment and we will continue providing support to local districts, like those in Ventura County who recently launched their Ethnic Studies Now campaign. 
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See the letters linked above. 
A process to change the History Social Science Framework that would include the Ethnic Studies proposal offers an opportunity.  See the several posts on this process here.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Rethinking Columbus Day

Almost 25 years ago, Rethinking Schools published Rethinking Columbus, which described ways teachers can help students think critically about the so-called Discovery of America.

Educators were hungry for alternatives to the traditional rah-rah Columbus story. For three solid months we sold 1,000 copies a day, seven days a week—more than 90,000 copies in its first three months of publication.

Alas, today, we still need to rethink Columbus. Columbus Day is still a national holiday. This October too many school districts will introduce Columbus to children in kindergarten or first grade. The Columbus myth celebrates colonialism and the domination of Indigenous Peoples by Europeans. Countless Columbus biographies and textbooks fail to teach children anything about the Taíno people who greeted Columbus, and were later enslaved and killed by Columbus.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Still an Activist at 82, Dolores Huerta Calls Herself 'a Born-Again Femi...

Celebrating National Latino Heritage Month , 2012.


 Film Showing - McFarland USA: Campus Progressive Alliance The Freedom School Project Celebrates Latino  Heritage Month MCFARLAND  USA   “A rousing crowd pl...

Breakthrough on California History/Social Science Textbooks

by Duane Campbell
The Mexican American Digital History Project ( sponsors of this blog) and a broad group of allies have been working for over a year to add Chicano history to the California History/Social Science Framework, the document that determines what goes into textbooks in California.

 We are pleased to inform you that the Quality Instructional Materials Commission of the California State Board of Education have posted their proposed revised framework and it includes most of what we wanted. 

You need to read the specific appendices for grades 9-12.
Hearings on the draft are being held today and Friday.   See the agenda link above for details.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Trump’s Racially Divisive Politics Must Be Exposed and Opposed !

By Duane Campbell

The intolerant agitation promoted by Republican Donald Trump and support of its substance by most Republican candidates is a call to the “silent white majority” and a demand that 11 million immigrants be deported.  This campaign is a dangerous and divisive racial message.  It must be vigorously opposed.

While the English speaking media has substantially moved on from the racists anti immigrant statements of Trump to several of his other provocative statements, on Spanish language media the immigration issue remains pre eminent.  This was illustrated by the confrontation between Trump and journalist Jorge Ramos, an event that continues to shape front page news.  Ramos, the star anchor -journalist in this media says it this way,
“ When they attack one of us, they are attacking all of us.”  “But we already know what we’re going to do… On Election Day, we will remember who was with us and who was against us. No, we won’t forget.”

Trump’s popularity among Republican voters has dramatically risen in the polls, as he now has a double digit lead over runner-up Jeb Bush. His fear mongering political message has found a very receptive base within our society among xenophobic and angry conservative sectors.

We know these campaigns to be dangerous. It is not only the ranting of a fringe right.

Friday, October 02, 2015

About Hispanic Heritage Month

By Dolores Delgado-Campbell
Duane Campbell

Hispanic Heritage Month begins in the U.S. on September 15 of each year and celebrates  several of the independence struggles in Latin America from 1810- through the 1820’s.
More about the history further down this post, but what about this complex and at times confusing  term Hispanic?
Hispanic or Latino, refers to people in the U.S. from  Puerto Rican, South or Central American, as well as  the  indigenous people of the once dominant Spanish empire in the Americas. The majority of these people do not call themselves Hispanic.


The divisions and contentions  over the terms Hispanic, Latino, Mexican Americans, Chicanos and others have complex historical antecedents. We are not going to resolve them here- although we will suggest a operational “solution”.

Immigrant Rights Activist Joins Sanders Campaign

In the latest sign that Bernie Sanders is looking to expand his solid base of support beyond white voters and bring minority voters into the fold, the Vermont senator is bringing on longtime immigration activist Arturo Carmona to be his national Latino outreach director and southwest political director.
Carmona, who has served as the executive director of, a 300,000 member strong advocacy organization, said he believes Latinos need to be part of the political revolution Sanders is calling for. The challenge, Carmona acknowledges, is that Sanders repeatedly scores low in name ID in polls of Hispanics. But he sees it as an opportunity.
“We’re going to do it by connecting with everyday families on issues like immigration reform and economic inequality,” he said.