The ACLU has produced this video that shares the story of Cineo Gonzalez and his daughter who was given a paper in front of her entire class that explains HB56 in Spanish. When Gonzalez spoke with the principal asking why his daughter was receiving this information, the principal replied “they give this paper to all the students who appear to not be from here (US).” There are subtitles in English in the video. The ACLU has created a website specifically devoted to working to challenge HB56 and you may visit it at Crisis In AL.
Yesterday, undocumented youth in Georgia amped up the action by committing an act of civil disobedience, risking deportation. The arrests of Georgina Perez, Viridiana Martinez, Jose Rico, Dayanna Rebolledo, Andrea Rosales, David Ramirez and Maria Marroquin near Georgia State University, were preceded by the state’s first “coming out” event, where the young people first publicly declared their undocumented status. The young people also delivered
a letter to the Georgia State University President asking him to not comply with the recent Georgia Board of Regents ban of undocumented youth from the top 5 public universities.
With no DREAM Act currently in play in the U.S. Congress (although that may change soon), DREAMers across the country have been working locally to make sure that all young people have access to education regardless of their immigration status.
CNN has the following video of the protest and arrests.
The “DREAM Now Series: Letters to Barack Obama” is a social media campaign that launched Monday, July 19, to underscore the urgent need to pass the DREAM Act.:
Dear Mr. President:
I greet you with respect and admiration, but also with a complaint and a request.
In April 2010 I packed my clothes in two bags and left my family and friends in California to work full time for the DREAM Act, a bill that you know well, and for which I have waited for many years. At that time I had nowhere to live but a friend lent me his chair for several months until I could rent a room. Washington is very different from Los Angeles in the culture and lifestyle. The adjustment was difficult, but received the support of many people across the country, who share the same dream: to become citizens of the United States.
Students at the University of Puerto Rico have declared victory in their two-month strike against massive budget cuts at their school. The students and the university’s Board of Regents have signed an agreement that includes an extension of tuition waivers, the cancellation of a fee that would have drastically raised education costs, and a commitment not to arbitrarily punish strike participants. The students also say the University of Puerto Rico has agreed to reject a series of initiatives that would have increased privatization of the school. The students will hold a general assembly on Monday to seek campus-wide approval for the agreement.
Students also created and celebrated a communal commencement at the Rio Piedras campus. Berta Joubert-Ceci at Workers World reports:
On the 52nd day of a strike against privatization and tuition increases, the students of the University of Puerto Rico celebrated a symbolic yet very genuine act of commencement right on Ponce de León Avenue, in front of the Río Piedras campus. Accentuating one of the strike’s main slogans — “Eleven campuses, one UPR” — it was the first time a graduation was held of all 11 campuses and the UPR High School together. This was a graduation that rewarded the most essential education — the commitment to a just society shown by these students, who are aware of their historic role and loyal to their people, particularly the poorest on the island. Dressed in a variety of ways, from graduation gowns to jeans, the students wore ribbons that read, “UPR 2010 Dignity.”
Members of the police department have gotten into quite of bit of hot water since screen grabs of their facebook pages and status updates have started to surface in the media. The officers have been boasting about beating students or complaining about the lack of opportunities to brutalize students.
Alexander Luina: “Por fin puedo dar un macanazo en esta bendita huelga, despues de 12 dias.” (“Finally, after 12 days I can use my baton in this damn strike.”)
Marisol shares that there are more screen grabs as shown above of “cops expressing their intentions to do physical damage.” Marisol reports that some of the officers claim they are victims of hackers.
At the age of 79, the man who inspired Latino youth in California to reach their full potential through mathematics and science, has died. Radical teacher and educator, Escalante was first introduced to many of us in the 1988 film Stand and Deliver.
An immigrant from La Paz, Boliva his first stop was Puerto Rico before settling in California. He died in Reno, Nevada after batteling cancer. Please take the time to read about Escalante’s life and efforts to encourage and support Latino youth and their/our education.
In the spirit of radical and revolutionary teachers, I encourage each of us to take some time and remember a teacher/educator/tutor who has shaped our identity and our sense of self. In Escalante’s honor, please share your testimonio with us.
The House has voted in favor of the biggest overhaul of college aid programs since their creation in the 1960s — a bill to oust private lenders from the student loan business and put the government in charge.
Thursday’s vote was 253-171 in favor of a bill that fulfills an array of President Barack Obama’s campaign promises, ending subsidies for private lenders, boosting Pell Grants for needy students and paying for community college reforms, among other things.
I’m not a huge fan of Pell Grants–when I was in school, I found that the more money you got through Pell Grants, the more school tuition was raised. I think caps on the cost of university in conjunction with Pell Grants would be more beneficial to students.
At the same time, however, I can’t tell you how pleased I am that private companies would no longer have control over student loans. As a teacher who saw many of her poorer students being forced into private loans out of desperation (i.e. a crisis during the middle of semester), I know that private loans target those who need the money most but are some of the most marginalized and under protected (think: homeloan crisis we’re now in).
What I would really *rather* see over anything in this bill, however, is the ability for students to declare bankruptcy returned. As much as it sucks for homeowners to have to declare bankruptcy and lose their houses–at the very least, they know once the deed is done, their economic burdens are considerably lightened. Students do not get that–they are forced to take out a type of loan that is the ONLY type of loan in the U.S. that can not be dismissed in bankruptcy. Which effectively means that no matter how bad things get, no matter what hospital bills you rack up or what jobs you lose or how life messes with you–your school loans are going to be there with you.
It’s not clear yet if this legislation will also pass the Senate. If it does, it looks as if Obama will sign it (I got this article off of Obama update on twitter!), which is good. But there’s still a long way to go–too many U.S. citizens are working there way into permanent debt simply because they wanted an education.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to school after summer vacation: ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is back and he wants to be your professor. At least that’s what the fine young men and women of Texas Tech have to look forward to this coming school year. According to Amarillo.com, Gonzales will teach the course “Contemporary Issues in the Executive Branch,” and will also help the university recruit Latino students. Um…yeah…
“I am long past the time of worrying about criticism,” said Gonzales, 53, in a Tuesday evening telephone interview.
“When you are involved in the most controversial issues of the day, you draw some criticism,” he said. “I am excited to be in an environment where ideas are debated. I will open a dialogue for a discussion about the policies of the previous administration.”
MSNBC has an interesting piece on how increased immigration to formerly non-Latino areas of the country is affecting the educational landscape of public schools, and the contrast with areas of the country where English Only has succeeded in being instated and has subsequently failed students.
Have a look at the video and let us know what you think about this continuing debate. What’s best? Bilingual education? Immersion?