Thursday, September 17, 2020
Agreed. This heartless, incompetent, barbaric president should move over and let others who know how to run the country do so.
I'm happy to share this brief, powerful history written by independent scholar, Martha P. Cotera, on las Tejanas and how they/we connect to the 16 of September. Our ancestors were definitely warriors, "guerreras," and survivors. Thank you, Martha, for your dedication to our community by both preserving and correcting the historical record.
TEJANAS AND THE 16th of September
MARTHA P. COTERA
First of all, let us consider that the 16th of September 1810 is also Texas’ first independence since Texas as Mexican territory was then an important Spanish province with a colonial governor in San Antonio, and active military force. When Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla issued the cry for independence from Spain, Tejanas and Tejanos at the time participated in battles and as supporters of the war effort, at great personal sacrifice and suffering for eleven long years, until Texas, as part of Mexico became independent of Spanish rule in 1821.
Tejanas were active participants in the War for Independence on both sides of the war (less of them siding with the Spanish government) and the majority on the insurgent side fighting for independence. One wealthy woman (who by the way, law or no law had left her husband), Doña Maria Josefa de la Garza pledged to help the suffering Spanish troops of General José Joaquín de Arredondo by donating ten head of cattle to feed his soldiers, and promised to donate the rest of her herd and property in defense of King Fernando VII.
Other Tejanas joined the insurgent troops or simply moved out of harm’s way with their husbands, wherever they had to go during the war, and all suffered tremendously during the battles and afterwards, as their beloved fighting men were shot in the battlefield or executed in the paradon by the Spanish in their presence and in front of their children.
Describing the scene after the Battle of Medina on August 18, 1813, when Spanish General de Arredondo won, the vanquished went to San Antonio, and alerted the populace… “In the din of panic, there was wailing and there were tears, prominent insurgent families and other scurried to leave San Antonio. Three hundred of them with their belongings were fleeing to Louisiana; rebel families like the Delgados, Arochas and the Leals. Arredondo paraded the streets; he was merciless; and ordered the soldiers to pursue the fugitives; and to punish La Bahia; he imprisoned hundreds; 327 insurgents were executed in Bexar. He (Arredondo) set up the infamous “La Quinta” to imprison wives and daughters of the rebels and from 2 am to 10 pm they worked cooking for the Spanish military. From their windows women saw their children scrounging for food and shelter; they were released 54 days later ; they were destitute, no homes and possessions.”
Also, another Spanish officer, Lt. Colonel Francisco Ignacio Elizondo, after the battle rode out until he reached the Colorado and riding on the Brazos…”he captured a party of sixteen men, women and children. Four men were shot, then he found the three families, Delgado, Arocha and Leal, the men were shot and taken away from their crying families.” After Elizondo’s death, Colonel Quintero took command and the captives were delivered to Arredondo, he had the males executed and the women were imprisoned in La Quinta along with the women already there.”
After the war, Tejanas were assertive in filing claims with the Mexican government and demanding pensions based on their husbands’ services. “Juana Francisca de la Garza, widow of Leonardo de la Garza petitioned for a widow’s pension. Adriana de Mier, mother of Domingo de Ugartechea received a military pension and payments from his salary. Maria Catalina de Urrutia, a widow requested her husband’s back pay and a pension. Maria Luisa de Urteaga also requested a pension. Women also asked for property reimbursement when it was rented or confiscated; Luisa Gertrudis de la Rua demanded payment of a government debt, and Maria Antonio Ibarvo and her husband petitioned for rent due on buildings occupied by troops, and Maria Nieves Travieso petitioned for the return of a confiscated mule.”
In his moving book, Defending Mexican Valor in Texas, Jose Antonio Navarro mentions two brave women, Juana Leal de Tarin and Concepcion (Consolacion) Leal de Garza, as being survivors of imprisonment at La Quinta. He says, “they endured their outrageous captivity with spirited courage before yielding to the shameful proposals of their jailers.” (bad translation here! I believe it is meant to say that they never yielded).
In confronting the political instability, Tejanos and Tejanas faced change, and devised diverse survival strategies that had the common goal of seeking to protect families, communities, and a way of life. Tejanas drew on what was familiar when confronted with new situations. At the same time, they looked to their historical traditions to protect and advance their communities during times of redefinition and uncertainty; they did not always choose the same strategies.
But what really matters is the recognition by both sexes of the empowerment of family and community, and of the urgent need to fight to the death to protect both their spheres, the public and the private; and the ability of both sexes to work successfully and interchangeably in both spheres.
This evidently was the most ingrained and cherished principle of the Tejano experience, and has defined the position of Tejanas in history. Resistance, reform and activism by Tejanas and Tejanos from the earliest presidio and civilian settlements in the 18th Century have been characteristic in our expressed desire to preserve and maintain family unity and loyalty. Our ancestors’ successful preservation, and the mobilization of family-based activism was essential in assuring the success of community goals, and of our survival as Tejanos.
Historically this ideal has been achieved by politicizing of family groups through political familism, involving the participation of the whole family units. As in Tejana and Tejano history, it has focused on the "continuity of family groups and on the adherence to family ideology and the preservation of culture and values as the basis for the struggle."
Unfortunately the war’s end did not end the trauma, since 3 years later, in 1824, the newly independent Republic of Mexico granted millions of acres of land to Anglo Americans from the United States, and adding insult to injury, allowed these colonials to import slaves into territory that had already abolished slavery. The new Anglo colonials almost from the beginning began the process of separating Texas from Mexico, and before long, warfare between Mexico and Texans broke out, lasting until 1836, and ultimately resulting in the recolonization of the Tejano community under the Texas Republic and continuing once Texas was incorporated as part of the United States in 1845.
Happening soon. Do join us for what I trust will be a nice evening, addressing the power of Ethnic Studies at the K-12 level. Go to this link to sign up for this event and to see all of their wonderful programming.
What the heck?! This whole sordid, Nazi-like, human-experimentation story from a whistle blower who alleges as much merits a close read. This whole story reeks of violence, brutality, neglect, and abuse. If any piece of this is true, those in power should be held to account.
God forbid that any woman experience forced sterilization as a matter of de facto, unchecked government policy and practice.
Do consider signing this petition to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on change.org titled, "END FORCED HYSTERECTOMIES AND ABOLISH ICE." Here is the specific language of the petition:
This is horrific, my friends. Let's tell Gov. Kemp to investigate this complaint and do something immediately about any and pieces of this story that are true.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
I am so very honored to have been featured in this episode, addressing the important topic of what it means to be called "Hispanic." sponsored by the Fort Worth Public Library, along with Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Anette Landeros and FWISD school board member and board president Jacinto "Cinto" Ramos as part of their 16 de Septiembre activities. Do check out the library's public programming here.
This video was part of a full program today and will be aired on the City of Fort Worth Facebook page and City of Fort Worth Cable Channel. Thanks to Luz E. Early and the team that made this video possible: Jana M. Hill. Veronica Villegas, and Kristopher M. Roberry.
And may all have a Feliz Dies-y-Seis de Septiembre! 😊
New Survey: Majority of Teens Say Online Learning Is Worse Than In-Person, but Only 19% Think School Should Return to Full In-Person Instruction
Teens Say They Learn Better in Person and Worry About Falling Behind but Have Little Confidence Their Schools Will Keep Them Safe from the Coronavirus
Two-thirds (66%) of those who want their instruction to take place fully remotely say it's because they think the coronavirus is too big of a threat. Just three in 10 teens say they trust their school "a lot" to take enough precautions to keep them safe during the pandemic, while 52% trust their school "a little," and 17% don't trust their school at all. Almost seven in 10 teens (69%) are worried ("very worried" or "somewhat worried") that they or someone they know would get sick because of in-person schooling.
"It is critical that we hear directly from teens on how they feel about returning to in-class instruction and the impact of online learning during the pandemic," said James P. Steyer, founder and CEO of Common Sense. "This is a very complicated issue that not only impacts families and educators but also students themselves in fundamental ways. We've heard from parents, teachers, and elected officials on the back to school issue, and we hope the voices of teens will be considered as well."
While fear of the coronavirus is the driving factor for teens wanting to stay home, teens say online learning is creating significant disadvantages for their ability to learn this year and fear the potentially long-term negative impacts on both their social and academic growth. Among those teens who want to return to school in person, nearly half (46%) say they want to do so because they learn better in person. Overall, more than six in 10 teens (61%) say they are worried about falling behind academically because of the pandemic. Almost one third of teens (32%) cite the lack of access to teachers as a major academic challenge, along with 27% who are worried about unreliable internet at home.
Not surprisingly, the data shows that teens are feeling the strain of social distancing orders on their relationships with friends and family. But their focus and concern is largely on their future. Many fear that, because of remote learning, they won't get the scholarship assistance they need or be ready for jobs or college after high school. More than half of teens (52%) are concerned about losing opportunities for scholarships, and 50% are worried that the pandemic will hurt their future job or college aspirations.
“More than any other issue, teens point to remote learning as their biggest academic challenge this fall,” said Jon Cohen, chief research officer at SurveyMonkey. “So much of the national conversation on virtual schooling focuses on the burden it places on parents and corresponding losses in workplace productivity, but it’s possible that the day-to-day impact on students that will have longer-term implications.”
The survey also found that teenagers of color are feeling the long-term disadvantages more strongly than White teens. Hispanic and Asian teens or teens of other races/ethnicities are particularly likely to say they are worried about falling behind (79% and 67%, respectively) compared to White teens (55%). The majority of teens of color also cited a loss of scholarship opportunities as a top concern, as well as getting sick with COVID-19.
This latest survey is part of a Common Sense partnership with SurveyMonkey to examine media and technology trends affecting kids and to share actionable data and insights with families.
- Teens definitively think online learning is worse than in-person learning. A majority of teens (59%) say that online learning is worse than in-person schooling, with 19% characterizing it as "much worse." However, Black teens are less likely than teens of other races/ethnicities to think online learning is worse. Only 45% of Black teens consider online learning to be worse than in-person schooling, compared to 60% of White teens, 64% of Hispanic teens, and 62% of Asian teens or teens of other races/ethnicities.
- Learning drives the desire for in-person schooling. Among those who want to return to school in person, almost half (46%) say it's because they learn better in person, with fewer teens (30%) saying it's because they miss the social interaction they have with friends and other students.
- But only a small percentage of teens think school should be fully in person. If the choice were up to them, only 19% of teens say they think their school should take place fully in person this fall, while 42% would prefer to be fully remote and 37% would choose a hybrid model. Fully two-thirds (66%) of those who want their instruction to take place fully remotely say it's because they think the coronavirus is too big of a threat.
- A majority of teens are worried about falling behind because of the pandemic. More than six in 10 teens (61%) say they are worried about falling behind academically because of the pandemic, with Hispanic and Asian teens or teens of other races/ethnicities particularly likely to say they are worried about falling behind (79% and 67%, respectively) compared to White teens (55%).
- Access to teachers and unreliable internet are big challenges for many students. Almost a third of teens (32%) cite lack of access to teachers as a major academic challenge. More than a quarter (27%) say unreliable internet will be a major challenge in their schooling.
- Most teens have little confidence that their schools will be safe. About 70% of teens say that they trust their school only "a little" or "not at all" to take enough precautions to keep them safe during the pandemic. Only three in 10 teens (30%) say they trust their school "a lot." Black and Hispanic teens are more distrustful of their schools' capabilities to keep them safe compared to White teens (74% each versus 67%).
- Teens of color are more concerned about getting sick from in-person schooling. Teens of color are more likely to be worried that they or someone they know will get sick as a result of going to school in person: 62% of White teens versus 78% of teens of color, a difference of 16 percentage points. Overall, 69% of teens are worried that they or someone they know would get sick because of in-person schooling.
This SurveyMonkey poll was conducted August 20 to 27, 2020, among 890 teens age 13 to 17 in the United States. Respondents for this survey were selected from more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. The modeled error estimate for the full sample is plus or minus 5.5 percentage points. Data has been weighted for age and sex using the Census Bureau's American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States age 13 to 17.
About Common Sense
Common Sense is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. Learn more at commonsense.org.
SurveyMonkey is a leader in agile software solutions for customer experience, market research, and survey feedback. The company's platform empowers over 17 million active users to analyze and act on feedback from employees, customers, website and app users, and market research respondents. SurveyMonkey's products, enterprise solutions, and integrations enable more than 335,000 organizations to deliver better customer experiences, increase employee retention, and unlock growth and innovation. Ultimately, SurveyMonkey's vision is to raise the bar for human experiences by amplifying individual voices.
*Spanish speakers available for interviews upon request. Contact Andrea Moreno at (408) 768-9607 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
**If you would like to contact SurveyMonkey, contact email@example.com.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Please view this notice for a call for Mexican American Studies resources here.
Also, please mark your calendars: I'll soon announce a virtual Mexican American Studies Summit taking place on Saturday, October 24, 2020, beginning at 9AM CST. Super exciting!
Sunday, September 13, 2020
Resources from the High School Voter Registration Project compliments of the Texas Civil Rights Project
Great resources for our schools and community so that our high school students who are 18 years old get a chance to vote. Consider making a donation, as well, to the Texas Civil Rights Project High School Voter Registration Project.
It’s been a wild few weeks over here at HSVR HQ. We hosted a live video about the importance of high school voter registration, announced our community call for creative content, and launched our 2020 High School Voter Registration Compliance Report!
Needless to say, we’ve kept ourselves busy in the last few weeks. That’s because we want to make sure we’re informing and educating not just students, but teachers and principals as well. By making it easier for schools to know more about the High School Voter Registration Law, we’re that much closer to closing the gap between youth engagement and a lack of awareness of voting rights.
Take a look at the list of amazing resources we have available to you! We’d love it if you could pass it on to your principal, other teachers, and students. We’re here to help and explain any questions you may have:
Thanks so much,
High School Voter Registration Campaign Coordinator
Texas Civil Rights Project
Betsy DeVos Tells States Not to Expect Waivers From Annual Tests—and prefers to test kids in the middle of a Pandemic
Testing children in a pandemic is not only wrong-headed given that it'll just measure how vast inequality is in our country right now, but also tantamount to child abuse, particularly for those most affected by our current state of affairs. N.B. By all credible accounts, even if we get a vaccine before the new year, we'll still be experiencing this pandemic next spring.
All this will do is buoy DeVos' privatization agenda by showing how terrible everything in public education is right now despite our teachers' and administrators' heroic efforts to keep schools open. Why is school funding in places like Texas tied to school re-opening, by the way, if this isn't the actual motive? We all know that demonizing schools expedites charterization, privatization, and corporatization and much to the detriment of our communities that are not only, in effect, punished by these tests, but pay the price with the loss of democracy with the neoliberal push to de-democratize public education by selling them to the highest corporate bidder—and all with our precious tax dollars.
Let's not continue paying for our own oppression here, my friends.
If you read the entire piece, there still is wiggle room, but that's not the point. The point is about this neoliberal leadership that actually doesn't believe in public education. Let's all say no to high-stakes, standardized testing and let's vote this president and administration out of power on November 3rd.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has informed states that they should not count on getting the same waivers from federal testing mandates for this school year that they got last spring as the pandemic shut down schools.
In a Thursday letter to chief state school officers, DeVos said that these annual, summative assessments in English/language arts, math, and science are "at the very core" of the bipartisan agreement behind the Every Student Succeds Act, the main federal K-12 education law. And at a time when vulnerable students have been hurt the most by the pandemic, such tests are "among the most reliable tools available to help us understand how children are performing in school."
"It is now our expectation that states will, in the interest of students, administer summative assessments during the 2020-2021 school year, consistent with the requirements of the law and following the guidance of local health officials," DeVos wrote. "As a result, you should not anticipate such waivers being granted again."
DeVos' letter is not especially surprising. In July, Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Jim Blew told reporters that the Department of Education's "instinct" at the time was not to give out those waivers again. But DeVos' letter to states does make it clear what the department's position is going forward.
Of course, the department's position could eventually change if Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden wins the Nov. 3 election. As a candidate, Biden has criticized standardized tests.
The letter does not completely shut the door on such waivers being granted again, since the secretary does not say unequivocally that they won't be approved again no matter what. But it's bad news for states like Georgia and Michigan that over the summer indicated their desire for such a waiver.
The letter squares with DeVos' push for schools to excel during the pandemic without special favors or exemptions from federal mandates.
In the letter, DeVos also says that "necessity is the mother of invention" and that it may be time for states to rethink their traditional assessment systems and consider forms of testing like competency and mastery-based assessments. And she also left some wiggle room for states to change how these tests factor into things such as school ratings, telling states, "We are open to discussions about what, if any, actions may be needed to adjust how the results of assessments are used in your state's school accountability determinations."
To support her position, DeVos pointed to groups that have recently called for states to "stay the course" on annual testing despite the impact of the coronavirus on schools. And she highlighted a survey by the Data Quality Campaign from late April and early May showing that 89 percent of parents "are interested in information about how school closures and other COVID-19-related interruptions affected students' long-term outcomes."
In statements issued Thursday, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairman and ranking member of the House and Senate education committees, respectively, backed DeVos' stance. However, they also stressed that for the tests to truly matter, Congress must pass a coronavirus relief bill that helps education. "We've got to have data that shows us where we're falling short so we can better support those students," Murray said. "But let me be clear—if President Trump and Republicans are in any way serious about ensuring schools can keep our kids learning, they've got to stop blocking our bill to finally provide schools with the resources they need."
Asked for a response to DeVos' Thursday letter, Carolyn Phenicie, a spokeswoman for the Council of Chief State School Officers, referred us to the group's statement in July, which read: "We recognize that COVID-19 and its impact on our education system is ever-evolving. CCSSO stands ready to continue supporting every state in navigating these unique circumstances and providing educators with access to the high-quality, relevant tools necessary to measure student academic progress and inform decision-making now and in the future."
Richard Woods, the state superintendent of Georgia schools, swiftly criticized DeVos' letter in a statement released Thursday. "It is disappointing, shows a complete disconnect with the realities of the classroom, and will be a detriment to public education," said Woods, an elected Republican.
Read DeVos' letter to states below:
Photo: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on Capitol Hill earlier this year. -- Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images
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Escuela Nueva Has Transformed Rural Education in Colombia and Now Founder Vicky Colbert Is Expanding Her Methodology Across the Globe
This is a great story about "Escuela Nueva" ("New School"), an award-winning model of schooling in rural Colombia founded by Vicky Colbert who has become an international rock star in education. I read this very closely to get a sense of what makes her model tick such that even urban contexts are adopting it. From what I can tell, it's partnership-based, learner-centered, sensory-rich, asset- and values-based, centered around such core values as expressed herein:
"At its best, Escuela Nueva aims to instill values — responsibility, tolerance, discipline, community — as much as academics. Due to the small class sizes and multi-grade classrooms (known as 'multigrados' in Colombia) common in rural areas, there are always a few students who finish their lessons first and a few that lag behind."
In a conversational and dialogical manner, Escuela Nueva cultivates such values of citizenship as leadership and autonomy that in turn occur through a strong focus on student government, as well as student “'work committees' that can include categories like sports and recreation, the environment, and even cleaning. Each group consists of a few representatives who plan events and activities."
With the help of Escuela Nueva's signature workbooks, I would guess, the teachers' role is primarily that of coach with teachers mentoring each other and meetings consisting more about "mentorship and open discussion" than detailed course planning. Though the schools appear to do well on standardized tests, test-prep is not their focus.
Rural education is a challenge everywhere and Vicky Colbert is making a huge difference. My main question is the role of culturally relevant, perhaps Indigenous or rural education. Are they educating children to ultimately leave the rural areas or to strengthen the local economies so that at least some students will remain in them and develop them. What specifically does the curriculum consist of?
Colbert's influences that have found their way into Escuela Nueva's teaching an curriculum, specifically, Montessori, John Dewey, and Vygotsky, certainly suggest learner-centered, experience-based, and socioculturally focused theoretical elements that appear to be making a difference.
Do read this in its entirety as it definitely has elements like teamwork and multiage grading, personalized learning, and student autonomy and leadership that we can apply here in the Texas and the U.S.
Thanks to my colleague, Tony Baez, for sharing.
Escuela Nueva Has Transformed Rural Education in Colombia and Now Founder Vicky Colbert Is Expanding Her Methodology Across the Globe
Saturday, September 12, 2020