Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Bilingual education has spillover effect

Bilingual Education's possible "spillover effects."  The reasons why are unclear but it's something to consider as it bodes well for supporters of bilingual education.  -Angela

Bilingual education has spillover effect

Bilingual education programs have a substantial spillover effect on the students they’re not designed for, according to a groundbreaking study co-authored by a Michigan State University scholar.
Texas elementary students who speak English as their home language and were enrolled in schools with bilingual education programs performed much better on state math and reading tests than native English-speaking students at schools without bilingual education programs.

The study did not explore the reasons why, but it could be because the English-speaking students received more direct instruction while the Spanish-speaking students were receiving bilingual education in a separate setting.

While much research has examined the effects of bilingual education on Spanish-speaking students, this study is one of the first to investigate the spillover effects. The findings appear in the Journal of Public Economics.

“What this says is that simply focusing on how these programs affect the students who use them is missing a large part of the picture,” said Scott Imberman, study co-author and MSU associate professor of economics and education. “Whenever you create education programs you have to think beyond the people they’re targeted to, and think about the other students as well.”

Federal law requires school districts to provide special assistance to students with limited English proficiency, or LEP. To meet that requirement, districts typically offer one of two programs:
  • English as a Second Language, which typically involves pulling the LEP students out of the mainstream classroom for only certain periods for instruction in their native language
  • Or bilingual education, in which the LEP students generally are taught in a separate classroom for the entire day.
Educating the growing number of LEP students is one of the major challenges facing U.S. educators and policymakers today. About 1 in 9 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten to grade 12 were classified as LEP in 2008-09 – a marked increased from the ratio of 1 in 13 recorded a decade earlier.
In Texas, districts with 20 or more students in the same grade who have the same home language are required to offer those students bilingual education.

The researchers compared Texas elementary schools just below and just above the 20-student cutoff. They found that scores on standardized math and reading tests for native English speakers were significantly higher at schools with the bilingual education programs.

LEP students in schools with the bilingual education programs also scored higher on the tests, although there weren’t enough students in the sample for the finding to be conclusive.

Overall, Imberman said, the findings bode well for proponents of bilingual education.

“As far as the question of whether bilingual education or ESL is better, this study provides some evidence suggesting that bilingual education is more helpful than ESL,” he said.

Imberman’s fellow researchers are Aimee Chin of the University of Houston and N. Meltem Daysal of the University of Southern Denmark.

Imberman has a joint appointment in MSU’s Department of Economics in the College of Social Science and the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education in the College of Education.

Monday, December 23, 2013

K-12 student database jazzes tech startups, spooks parents

LOTS of money has been invested in this. 

"The sector is undeniably hot; technology startups aimed at K-12 schools attracted more than $425 million in venture capital last year, according to the NewSchools Venture Fund, a nonprofit that focuses on the sector. The investment company GSV Advisors tracked 84 deals in the sector last year, up from 15 in 2007.

In addition to its $100 million investment in the database, the Gates Foundation has pledged $70 million in grants to schools and companies to develop personalized learning tools."

If only there were a comparable fund to eliminate the structural inequities that create the inequalities to begin with.  Interesting and telling how this NEVER becomes the agenda.  Instead, it's always about how better or differently to get taxpayer dollars into the hands of the private sector.  Profiting on failure continues on its steady, predictable path.

K-12 student database jazzes tech startups, spooks parents

Sun, Mar 3 2013
By Stephanie Simon

(Reuters) - An education technology conference this week in Austin, Texas, will clang with bells and whistles as startups eagerly show off their latest wares.
But the most influential new product may be the least flashy: a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.
In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school - even homework completion.
Local education officials retain legal control over their students' information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services.
Entrepreneurs can't wait.
"This is going to be a huge win for us," said Jeffrey Olen, a product manager at CompassLearning, which sells education software.

Continue reading here.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

David Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show'

Powerful speech.  Thanks to Kenneth Bernstein for sharing. -Angela 
The Wire creator David Simon in BaltimoreDavid Simon: 'There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show'

The creator of The Wire, David Simon, delivered an impromptu speech about the divide between rich and poor in America at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney, and how capitalism has lost sight of its social compact. This is an edited extract

David Simon, creator of The Wire, near his office in Baltimore. Photograph: Stephen Voss/Redux / eyevine
America is a country that is now utterly divided when it comes to its society, its economy, its politics. There are definitely two Americas. I live in one, on one block in Baltimore that is part of the viable America, the America that is connected to its own economy, where there is a plausible future for the people born into it. About 20 blocks away is another America entirely. It's astonishing how little we have to do with each other, and yet we are living in such proximity.
There's no barbed wire around West Baltimore or around East Baltimore, around Pimlico, the areas in my city that have been utterly divorced from the American experience that I know. But there might as well be. We've somehow managed to march on to two separate futures and I think you're seeing this more and more in the west. I don't think it's unique to America.
I think we've perfected a lot of the tragedy and we're getting there faster than a lot of other places that may be a little more reasoned, but my dangerous idea kind of involves this fellow who got left by the wayside in the 20th century and seemed to be almost the butt end of the joke of the 20th century; a fellow named Karl Marx.
I'm not a Marxist in the sense that I don't think Marxism has a very specific clinical answer to what ails us economically. I think Marx was a much better diagnostician than he was a clinician. He was good at figuring out what was wrong or what could be wrong with capitalism if it wasn't attended to and much less credible when it comes to how you might solve that.
You know if you've read Capital or if you've got the Cliff Notes, you know that his imaginings of how classical Marxism – of how his logic would work when applied – kind of devolve into such nonsense as the withering away of the state and platitudes like that. But he was really sharp about what goes wrong when capital wins unequivocally, when it gets everything it asks for.
That may be the ultimate tragedy of capitalism in our time, that it has achieved its dominance without regard to a social compact, without being connected to any other metric for human progress.
We understand profit. In my country we measure things by profit. We listen to the Wall Street analysts. They tell us what we're supposed to do every quarter. The quarterly report is God. Turn to face God. Turn to face Mecca, you know. Did you make your number? Did you not make your number? Do you want your bonus? Do you not want your bonus?
And that notion that capital is the metric, that profit is the metric by which we're going to measure the health of our society is one of the fundamental mistakes of the last 30 years. I would date it in my country to about 1980 exactly, and it has triumphed.
Capitalism stomped the hell out of Marxism by the end of the 20th century and was predominant in all respects, but the great irony of it is that the only thing that actually works is not ideological, it is impure, has elements of both arguments and never actually achieves any kind of partisan or philosophical perfection.
It's pragmatic, it includes the best aspects of socialistic thought and of free-market capitalism and it works because we don't let it work entirely. And that's a hard idea to think – that there isn't one single silver bullet that gets us out of the mess we've dug for ourselves. But man, we've dug a mess.
After the second world war, the west emerged with the American economy coming out of its wartime extravagance, emerging as the best product. It was the best product. It worked the best. It was demonstrating its might not only in terms of what it did during the war but in terms of just how facile it was in creating mass wealth.
Plus, it provided a lot more freedom and was doing the one thing that guaranteed that the 20th century was going to be – and forgive the jingoistic sound of this – the American century.
It took a working class that had no discretionary income at the beginning of the century, which was working on subsistence wages. It turned it into a consumer class that not only had money to buy all the stuff that they needed to live but enough to buy a bunch of shit that they wanted but didn't need, and that was the engine that drove us.
It wasn't just that we could supply stuff, or that we had the factories or know-how or capital, it was that we created our own demand and started exporting that demand throughout the west. And the standard of living made it possible to manufacture stuff at an incredible rate and sell it.
And how did we do that? We did that by not giving in to either side. That was the new deal. That was the great society. That was all of that argument about collective bargaining and union wages and it was an argument that meant neither side gets to win.
Labour doesn't get to win all its arguments, capital doesn't get to. But it's in the tension, it's in the actual fight between the two, that capitalism actually becomes functional, that it becomes something that every stratum in society has a stake in, that they all share.
The unions actually mattered. The unions were part of the equation. It didn't matter that they won all the time, it didn't matter that they lost all the time, it just mattered that they had to win some of the time and they had to put up a fight and they had to argue for the demand and the equation and for the idea that workers were not worth less, they were worth more.
Ultimately we abandoned that and believed in the idea of trickle-down and the idea of the market economy and the market knows best, to the point where now libertarianism in my country is actually being taken seriously as an intelligent mode of political thought. It's astonishing to me. But it is. People are saying I don't need anything but my own ability to earn a profit. I'm not connected to society. I don't care how the road got built, I don't care where the firefighter comes from, I don't care who educates the kids other than my kids. I am me. It's the triumph of the self. I am me, hear me roar.
That we've gotten to this point is astonishing to me because basically in winning its victory, in seeing that Wall come down and seeing the former Stalinist state's journey towards our way of thinking in terms of markets or being vulnerable, you would have thought that we would have learned what works. Instead we've descended into what can only be described as greed. This is just greed. This is an inability to see that we're all connected, that the idea of two Americas is implausible, or two Australias, or two Spains or two Frances.
Societies are exactly what they sound like. If everybody is invested and if everyone just believes that they have "some", it doesn't mean that everybody's going to get the same amount. It doesn't mean there aren't going to be people who are the venture capitalists who stand to make the most. It's not each according to their needs or anything that is purely Marxist, but it is that everybody feels as if, if the society succeeds, I succeed, I don't get left behind. And there isn't a society in the west now, right now, that is able to sustain that for all of its population.
And so in my country you're seeing a horror show. You're seeing a retrenchment in terms of family income, you're seeing the abandonment of basic services, such as public education, functional public education. You're seeing the underclass hunted through an alleged war on dangerous drugs that is in fact merely a war on the poor and has turned us into the most incarcerative state in the history of mankind, in terms of the sheer numbers of people we've put in American prisons and the percentage of Americans we put into prisons. No other country on the face of the Earth jails people at the number and rate that we are.
We have become something other than what we claim for the American dream and all because of our inability to basically share, to even contemplate a socialist impulse.
Socialism is a dirty word in my country. I have to give that disclaimer at the beginning of every speech, "Oh by the way I'm not a Marxist you know". I lived through the 20th century. I don't believe that a state-run economy can be as viable as market capitalism in producing mass wealth. I don't.
I'm utterly committed to the idea that capitalism has to be the way we generate mass wealth in the coming century. That argument's over. But the idea that it's not going to be married to a social compact, that how you distribute the benefits of capitalism isn't going to include everyone in the society to a reasonable extent, that's astonishing to me.
And so capitalism is about to seize defeat from the jaws of victory all by its own hand. That's the astonishing end of this story, unless we reverse course. Unless we take into consideration, if not the remedies of Marx then the diagnosis, because he saw what would happen if capital triumphed unequivocally, if it got everything it wanted.
And one of the things that capital would want unequivocally and for certain is the diminishment of labour. They would want labour to be diminished because labour's a cost. And if labour is diminished, let's translate that: in human terms, it means human beings are worth less.
From this moment forward unless we reverse course, the average human being is worth less on planet Earth. Unless we take stock of the fact that maybe socialism and the socialist impulse has to be addressed again; it has to be married as it was married in the 1930s, the 1940s and even into the 1950s, to the engine that is capitalism.
Mistaking capitalism for a blueprint as to how to build a society strikes me as a really dangerous idea in a bad way. Capitalism is a remarkable engine again for producing wealth. It's a great tool to have in your toolbox if you're trying to build a society and have that society advance. You wouldn't want to go forward at this point without it. But it's not a blueprint for how to build the just society. There are other metrics besides that quarterly profit report.
The idea that the market will solve such things as environmental concerns, as our racial divides, as our class distinctions, our problems with educating and incorporating one generation of workers into the economy after the other when that economy is changing; the idea that the market is going to heed all of the human concerns and still maximise profit is juvenile. It's a juvenile notion and it's still being argued in my country passionately and we're going down the tubes. And it terrifies me because I'm astonished at how comfortable we are in absolving ourselves of what is basically a moral choice. Are we all in this together or are we all not?
If you watched the debacle that was, and is, the fight over something as basic as public health policy in my country over the last couple of years, imagine the ineffectiveness that Americans are going to offer the world when it comes to something really complicated like global warming. We can't even get healthcare for our citizens on a basic level. And the argument comes down to: "Goddamn this socialist president. Does he think I'm going to pay to keep other people healthy? It's socialism, motherfucker."
What do you think group health insurance is? You know you ask these guys, "Do you have group health insurance where you …?" "Oh yeah, I get …" you know, "my law firm …" So when you get sick you're able to afford the treatment.
The treatment comes because you have enough people in your law firm so you're able to get health insurance enough for them to stay healthy. So the actuarial tables work and all of you, when you do get sick, are able to have the resources there to get better because you're relying on the idea of the group. Yeah. And they nod their heads, and you go "Brother, that's socialism. You know it is."
And ... you know when you say, OK, we're going to do what we're doing for your law firm but we're going to do it for 300 million Americans and we're going to make it affordable for everybody that way. And yes, it means that you're going to be paying for the other guys in the society, the same way you pay for the other guys in the law firm … Their eyes glaze. You know they don't want to hear it. It's too much. Too much to contemplate the idea that the whole country might be actually connected.
So I'm astonished that at this late date I'm standing here and saying we might want to go back for this guy Marx that we were laughing at, if not for his prescriptions, then at least for his depiction of what is possible if you don't mitigate the authority of capitalism, if you don't embrace some other values for human endeavour.
And that's what The Wire was about basically, it was about people who were worth less and who were no longer necessary, as maybe 10 or 15% of my country is no longer necessary to the operation of the economy. It was about them trying to solve, for lack of a better term, an existential crisis. In their irrelevance, their economic irrelevance, they were nonetheless still on the ground occupying this place called Baltimore and they were going to have to endure somehow.
That's the great horror show. What are we going to do with all these people that we've managed to marginalise? It was kind of interesting when it was only race, when you could do this on the basis of people's racial fears and it was just the black and brown people in American cities who had the higher rates of unemployment and the higher rates of addiction and were marginalised and had the shitty school systems and the lack of opportunity.
And kind of interesting in this last recession to see the economy shrug and start to throw white middle-class people into the same boat, so that they became vulnerable to the drug war, say from methamphetamine, or they became unable to qualify for college loans. And all of a sudden a certain faith in the economic engine and the economic authority of Wall Street and market logic started to fall away from people. And they realised it's not just about race, it's about something even more terrifying. It's about class. Are you at the top of the wave or are you at the bottom?
So how does it get better? In 1932, it got better because they dealt the cards again and there was a communal logic that said nobody's going to get left behind. We're going to figure this out. We're going to get the banks open. From the depths of that depression a social compact was made between worker, between labour and capital that actually allowed people to have some hope.
We're either going to do that in some practical way when things get bad enough or we're going to keep going the way we're going, at which point there's going to be enough people standing on the outside of this mess that somebody's going to pick up a brick, because you know when people get to the end there's always the brick. I hope we go for the first option but I'm losing faith.
The other thing that was there in 1932 that isn't there now is that some element of the popular will could be expressed through the electoral process in my country.
The last job of capitalism – having won all the battles against labour, having acquired the ultimate authority, almost the ultimate moral authority over what's a good idea or what's not, or what's valued and what's not – the last journey for capital in my country has been to buy the electoral process, the one venue for reform that remained to Americans.
Right now capital has effectively purchased the government, and you witnessed it again with the healthcare debacle in terms of the $450m that was heaved into Congress, the most broken part of my government, in order that the popular will never actually emerged in any of that legislative process.
So I don't know what we do if we can't actually control the representative government that we claim will manifest the popular will. Even if we all start having the same sentiments that I'm arguing for now, I'm not sure we can effect them any more in the same way that we could at the rise of the Great Depression, so maybe it will be the brick. But I hope not.
David Simon is an American author and journalist and was the executive producer of The Wire. This is an edited extract of a talk delivered at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas in Sydney.

S.A. bred Latino rights organizations

Great historical piece by Al Kauffman on the development of influential, civil rights, Mexican American/Latino organizations in San Antonio, Texas. -Angela

S.A. bred Latino rights organizations

By Al Kauffman, For the Express-News : November 21, 2013 : Updated: November 22, 2013 5:02pm

San Antonio, distinctively Latino for all of its history, is naturally distinctive in another respect: as birthplace and incubator for scores of state, national and internationally renowned Latino organizations.
Univision, recently in the news because of controversy over the demise of its original building in San Antonio, is one of many of these. Let's take a look at some, starting with the organization that was in on the ground floor of the boom that has become Spanish-language broadcasting.
Univision developed from KCOR radio in 1946 and KCOR television in 1955 in San Antonio, the first Spanish-language stations in United States history. English language radio and TV stations ignored the Spanish-speaking populations and resisted their development.
However, Raul Cortez and, later, Emilio Nicolas Sr. persevered and built what has become one of the largest media systems in the world.
Nielsen ratings did not include Univision until 2005, and now Univision is the leader in many time slots. The network is best known in San Antonio for its great local talk shows and interviews, exposing the community's leaders and ideas to the broader population.
That original building was not just walls and fixtures; it was a memory of struggle and redemption.
Following this model, the 1965-1975 decade was one of incredible energy and creation in the Mexican-American community, leading to a slew of now-familiar acronyms. Among them: MALDEF, MAUC, MACC, IDRA, SWVRP, COPS and AVANCE (advance, in Spanish).
These community, educational and legal organizations were followed the next decade by the arts organizations, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. Each of these organizations deserves a book to explore its development and impact, but a very short description is still important to help us understand San Antonio and some of its recent struggles.
The Mexican American Unity Council (MAUC) began as an effort by Willie Velásquez to promote respect for Mexican-American students and culture and the Spanish language. It developed into an engine of economic development and an advocate for low-income housing. It was the first affiliate and model of a national organization that became the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest Latino-focused organization in the country, now headquartered in Washington, D.C.
Velásquez then developed the Southwest Voter Registration Project (SWVRP) in 1974 and San Antonio is still the center of its efforts to increase Latino voter registration and participation and to hold Latino elected officials accountable.
Pete Tijerina, Greg Luna and others started the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF) in San Antonio. MALDEF began representing the Mexican-American community in courts in 1968. MALDEF is now the most effective and respected law firm for Latinos in the United States, with an incredibly large and diverse set of cases and U.S. Supreme Court wins to its credit. MALDEF's greatest victories involve confronting Texas' long history of discrimination against Latinos in voting, education and immigrants' rights.
San Antonio also led the country in educating the religious community about the Mexican-American community. Bishop Patricio Flores (the first Mexican-American bishop, and later the first Mexican-American archbishop) and Father Virgilio Elizondo, working with nuns and priests, developed the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC) in San Antonio in 1972 to share Mexican-American culture and language with church officials who had little knowledge or understanding of the communities they served.
San Antonio is also the birthplace and home of the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA). Dr. José Cárdenas, former superintendent of the famous Edgewood School district, began IDRA in 1973 to study and describe the insidious barriers to equal educational opportunity faced by Mexican-American children. IDRA is now the leading national organization focusing on the education of Latino, low-income and minority children.
IDRA has been the national leader in studies and advocacy around school finance, bilingual education, early childhood education and school retention. It has even replicated some of its programs in Brazil.
AVANCE began in both San Antonio and Dallas in 1972-73; however, the organization was developed into a national force and leader in family education by Dr. Gloria Rodriquez from San Antonio. AVANCE has chapters and affiliates all over the United States and focuses on the importance of educating parents and their children about the importance of parental involvement and the nurturing of their children's development and language skills.
Communities Organized for Public Service (COPS) was the first Industrial Areas Foundation affiliate in Texas and led to the formation of similar groups in other parts of San Antonio, the Rio Grande Valley, Houston and Dallas/Fort Worth. Ernesto Cortez — like Willie Velásquez and Henry Cisneros, a Central Catholic High School graduate — was the first organizer for COPS and still leads its statewide and national efforts.
COPS and its sister groups have had major impacts on funding of projects in Latino and low-income neighborhoods, education initiatives and issues of school finance and school reform. It began with parishes on San Antonio's West Side and has focused on learning the community's needs before setting any agenda. It now has both state and national impact and respect.
Latino arts and culture were long neglected in San Antonio. The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (GCAC) was created in San Antonio in 1983 to confront this neglect. GCAC has developed and maintains nationally and internationally acclaimed programs in Latino arts in music, film, dance, visual arts and multicultural programming. While GCAC has had to struggle to fund its activities with a combination of national funds and grants and city support, it has preserved a set of historic buildings on San Antonio's West Side, long the poorest part of our city.
Graciela Sanchez was the lead organizer of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center in San Antonio in 1987. The Esperanza Center combines its activism to obtain civil rights and economic justice for all with Latino arts programming and advocacy for the LGBT community. Esperanza had to go to court to gets its city funding back after San Antonio ignored its arts advisory committee and cut off funding because of Esperanza's nationally respected advocacy activities.
In 1974, in my first month as an attorney at MALDEF, I worked with Willie Velásquez on voting cases, Dr. José Cárdenas on bilingual education, Dr. Charles Cotrell on voting rights and wondered why so many Mexican-Americans walked around with big COPS buttons. Later, MALDEF gave me the opportunity to work with representatives of all the rest of the organizations discussed here.
I have no doubt I left out many other important Mexican-American organizations formed in the crucible of San Antonio and Texas history. I offer my apologies to those other organizations and their leaders; however, I know they join me in celebrating the city's pre-eminent role in efforts to improve our city, state and country by addressing the barriers erected.
Al Kauffman is a professor of law at St. Mary's University.

Monday, December 02, 2013

TCEP Brown Bag featuring Dr. Monty Neill from FairTest "Resistance to High-Stakes Testing: A National Perspective"

OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.  The Texas Center for Education Policy in tandem with the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) and the Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis (IUPRA) invites you to a Brown Bag this Thursday, December 5, 2013 at noon (12:00-1:30PM) so that you can come and hear Dr. Monty Neill from FairTest speak on the following pressing concern that only grows, rather than recedes, in importance at both state and national levels. All welcome to attend and do please bring a brown bag!


Resistance to High-Stakes Testing:  A National Perspective


Monty Neill

Monty Neill, Ed.D., Executive Director of the National Center for Fair and Open Testing (FairTest), has led FairTest's work on testing in the public schools since 1987. He has initiated national and state coalitions of education, civil rights, religious, disability and parent organizations to work toward fundamental change in the assessment of students and in accountability. He chairs the national Forum on Educational Accountability. Under his leadership, FairTest has collaborated on testing reform efforts with organizations in many states. Among dozens of publications, he is lead author of Failing Our Children; Implementing Performance Assessments: A Guide to Classroom School and System Reform; and Testing Our Children: A Report Card on State Assessment Systems. He led the National Forum on Assessment in developing Principles and Indicators for Student Assessment Systems. He earned a Doctorate at Harvard University with his dissertation The Struggle of Boston's Black Community for Quality and Equality in Education: 1960-1985. He has taught and been an administrator in pre-school, high school and college, and he is a grandfather  of three children in the public schools.

For those coming from off campus, see the following website for parking options:

The street address to the Texas Union is 24th and Guadalupe 2247 Guadalupe, Austin, Texas 78712

If you are on Facebook, please rsvp your attendance at the following link:

Otherwise, please rsvp to Joanna D. Sanchez <>.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The STEM Crisis: Reality or Myth?

The STEM Crisis: Reality or Myth?

The STEM-Crisis Myth 1
Alison Yin for The Chronicle
Norman Matloff, a computer-science professor at the U. of California at Davis: "We have a surplus of homegrown STEM workers. We've had it in the past and we're likely to have it in the future."

Most researchers who have looked into the issue—those who don't receive their money from technology companies or their private foundations, anyway—say no. They cite figures showing that the STEM-worker shortage is not only a meme but a myth.
Yes, some information-technology workers are enjoying raises, and petroleum engineers, in demand because of the boom in fracking, are seeing their salaries explode.
But if you're a biologist, chemist, electrical engineer, manufacturing worker, mechanical engineer, or physicist, you've most likely seen your paycheck remain flat at best. If you're a recent grad in those fields looking for a job, good luck. A National Academies report suggests a glut of life scientists, lab workers, and physical scientists, owing in part to over-­recruitment of science-Ph.D. candidates by universities. And postdocs, many of whom are waiting longer for academic spots, are opting out of science careers at higher rates, according to the National Science Foundation.

"This is all about industry wanting to lower wages," says Norman S. Matloff, a professor of computer science at the University of California at Davis. Mr. Matloff has investigated how IT employers benefit by raising the numbers of lower-paid foreign STEM laborers and by sending offshore the engineering and STEM manufacturing jobs of mostly older American workers. "We have a surplus of homegrown STEM workers now," he says. "We've had it in the past and we're likely to have it in the future." 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Why Third Grade Is So Important: The ‘Matthew Effect’

This piece make the case that the third grade is more important than 11th. 

"Third-graders who lack proficiency in reading are four times more likely to become high school dropouts."

Only in the rarest of incidents should a third-grade child still not be held back if they are not reading by 3rd grade.

"The ideal alternative: teachers and parents would collaborate on the creation of an individualized learning plan for each third-grader who needs help with reading — a plan that might involve specialized instruction, tutoring or summer school. Most important is taking action, researchers say, and not assuming that reading problems will work themselves out."


Why Third Grade Is So Important: The ‘Matthew Effect’

Children who have made the leap to fluent reading will learn exponentially, while those who haven't will slump

Read more: Anne Murphy Paul: 'Matthew Effect' and Why Third Grade Is So Important |

La Bloga: Kids' latino bks; Lit agents; Banned Bk; killer ra...

La Bloga: Kids' latino bks; Lit agents; Banned Bk; killer ra...: Articles posted here on diversity and privilege  in publishing have generated much discussion at LinkedIn and elsewhere; ...

Quote from within:

"Books commonly read by elementary school children include the Junie B. Jones, Cam Jansen, Judy Moody, Stink and Big Nate series, all of which feature a white protagonist. An occasional African-American, Asian or Hispanic character may pop up in a supporting role, but these books depict a predominantly white, suburban milieu.
"A review of 250 book series aimed at second to fourth graders and found just two that featured a Latino main character.
"The Cooperative Children’s Book Center, which compiles statistics about the race of authors and characters in children’s books published each year, found that in 2011, just over 3 percent of the 3,400 books reviewed were written by or about Latinos, a proportion that has not changed much in a decade.
"Houghton Mifflin, which publishes reading textbooks, allocates exactly 18.6 percent of its content to works featuring Latino characters. The company says that percentage reflects student demographics.
Continue reading here.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Louisiana council chair on defunding libraries: 'They're teaching Mexicans how to speak English'

This racist tirade is enraging. -Angela

Fri Nov 15, 2013 at 10:21 AM PST

Louisiana council chair on defunding libraries: 'They're teaching Mexicans how to speak English'

Bookshelves with cookbooks
attribution: Susan from 29
What we need around here
is a little less book learnin'
Library funding in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana, may be diverted to a new jail thanks to a legislator who doesn't approve of the library's programs. Jail proponent and chair of the Lafourche Parish Council Lindel Toups supports a ballot measure that would take funding away from libraries. “They’re teaching Mexicans how to speak English,” Toups told the local Tri-Parish Times, referencing Biblioteca Hispana, a Spanish-language section of one of the nine branch libraries. “Let that son of a bitch go back to Mexico. There’s just so many things they’re doing that I don’t agree with. ... Them junkies and hippies and food stamps [recipients] and all, they use the library to look at drugs and food stamps [on the Internet]. I see them do it.”
Library System Director Laura Sanders seems a patient person, but still manages an impressive rebuttal:
She noted that for Toups, the issue of the jail's condition is a personal one. "He does have family members that are incarcerated," she says.

Shackles for Native children by Dr. Devon Peña

Do check out this sickening account of how we have treated children in our past as a country.  This is a Nov. 8th piece from his post.  Some of this leaves us with an enduring, if perverse, legacy. -Angela

Child shackles used on native children. RHDefense
Shackles for Native children

Devon G. Peña | Seattle, WA | November 8, 2013

I often peruse the News-feed on Facebook because it is actually a fairly good place to find an exceptionally diverse range of iconic images that somehow speak deeply to the history, culture, politics, and current events that immerse the entire nation in race and race consciousness. On the FB page called Strange World, today I found a photograph of what appears to be a old rusted set of iron shackles. They are very tiny and designed to be used on children. The narrator provides this description:
These are actual tiny child handcuffs used by the U.S. government to restrain captured Native American children and drag them away from their families to send them to the Indian boarding schools where their identities, cultures and their rights to speak their Native languages were forcefully stripped away from them.
There is a criminal defense law blog that also posted the same photograph but with the following commentary, emphasizing the “…horror of their brutal purpose, which was to restrain Native children who were being brought to boarding schools.” Jessica Lackey (Cherokee) describes the experience of holding the heavy handcuffs for the first time: “I felt the weight of their metal on my heart.” 
I cannot address the accuracy of these statements here but I have also listened to recollections about grandmothers, aunts, and uncles who retained their indigenous souls by silently singing ceremonial prayers inside their heads against the cold and barren Protestant walls. This resilience in the face of brutal child abuse that many relations experienced as kidnapped youth is a big chapter in the long history of institutionalized violence of the settler society. The shackles are there at the beginning; when the missionaries and lawmen initiate the first cruel act of violent forced separation and imprisonment. This was followed by years of discipline and punish and daily-lived abuse in the boarding schools that had been designed, like concentration camps, to “beat the Indian” out of the child. I was drawn to this photograph in part because of recent incidents that tie this historical occurrence with present-day police and state violence against native children and youth of color.

Ten-year old in shackles. Steve Mitchell | USA Today
Here are three other photographs that speak to the practice of shackling children, which is still very much a part of the settler correctional culture and its policing of the population to enforceconformity and acquiescence. I remember the first photo from aUSA Today story I read some five years ago (2007). The story, “Should kids go to court in chains?” focuses on a widespread policy involving the use of shackles on juvenile suspects being tried or managed under the juvenile court system. A disproportionate number of these are African American, Latina/o, Native American, and immigrant youth. 
A blogger by the name of Krazee Kop, got me started on a new direction when I saw a post on how “Child advocacy groups in North Carolina are attacking the practice of shackling children during juvenile court hearings as unlawful and emotionally abusive.” Krazee Kop continues by sarcastically repeating a thin blue-line mantra, noting how Sheriff's officials say “it’s necessary to keep troubled children from running away or disrupting court…[Yet]…criticism of the practice has been growing around the country, with litigation cropping up from Florida to California to North Dakota. The legal controversy arrived in North Carolina on Monday when lawyers filed a motion in Greensboro protesting the shackling of a 14-year-old girl facing larceny charges.”
The shackles are more than just icons of the deep history of violence that marks the passage of the United States from its origins in slavery and genocide and across beyond the 20th century to the abuse of children and youth under the neoliberal juridical order.
Convict costume

The second photo (seen here to the left) seems even more jarring to my senses. I picked this out from costume retail website Fun ‘n Folly and the outfit is called “Convict”. It shows a child model in striped prison garb with what I presume are plastic versions of the old ball-and-chain and iron shackles. The model is of course a white boy. Can you imagine otherwise? The ironic point being that white parents can actually afford to let their boys play convict and laugh it off since the chance their child could end up in a real ball-and-chain is abut 800 percent less compared to the prospects for Native, Black or Latina/o American youth; this is especially so if that white child is growing up in a middle-income household. 

This photo can be read as indicative of the assertion of a humorous take born of race and class privilege but it also speaks to the deep roots of the settler nation-state’s legacy of continued structural violence against Native children and youth of color. I started to read a few reports and legal studies about this contemporary phenomenon of the shackling of children. One of the more insightful reports I have read was prepared by clinical professor of law, Kim M. McLaurin, and published in the Journal of Law and Policy (Vol. 38, 2012). McLaurin argues that:
Indiscriminate shackling of adults and juveniles without an individualized determination of need violates the Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly held that appearing in court in “shackles ‘impos[es] physical burdens, pains, and restraints . . . . . . tend[s] to confuse and embarrass’ [adult] defendants ‘mental faculties’ and thereby tend materially to abridge and prejudicially affect [their] constitutional rights.’” Where the defendant is not an adult, but instead is an adolescent, these constitutional rights are much more likely to be negatively impacted. (238)
McLaurin continues by explaining what most medical anthropologists would view as obvious: “The developmental and sociological differences between adults and adolescents have been widely recognized” and the Supreme Court in Roper, Graham, and J.D.B. “carved out categorical exceptions for adolescents and has held that the…practice of indiscriminate shackling is unconstitutional as applied to adults and even more so when applied to children.” (239)

The child shackle has a long history: It has served as a tool used by slavers, slave masters, and boarding school kidnappers alike. It is directly a tool of oppression and forced captivity; it has also been a degrading method for restraining youth subject to the juvenile court system accused, rightly or wrongly, of varied crimes; more recently it has been used as a dehumanizing tool to impose quick-trigger discipline; and it has only in more recent times also become part of a packaged amusement commodity as more privileged circumstances have it. 
North Carolina children in shackles (2012). Krazee Kop
It is also, alas, an enduring symbol: One that speaks volumes about the nature of the United States as a deeply violent settler society that is unlikely to get over its hang-up over race and social control. So it also represents the state of exception – a technique for rendering the body without rights or protections, impinging on the freedom of movement of all those usually colored bodies forcibly held under its iron grip. No society can claim to be civilized as long as it has its children – any children – restrained in shackles.

Public Intellectuals Against the Neoliberal University BY Henry Giroux

Democracy is at risk.  We must return to the grassroots.  -Angela

Henry A. Giroux | Public Intellectuals Against the Neoliberal University

Tuesday, 29 October 2013 09:16 By Henry A Giroux, Truthout | Op-Ed

"The University is a critical institution or it is nothing." - Stuart Hall
I want to begin with the words of the late African-American poet, Audre Lourde, who was in her time a formidable writer, educator, feminist, gay rights activist and public intellectual who displayed a relentless courage in addressing the injustices she witnessed all around her.  She writes:
Poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.1


Monday, November 04, 2013

Polka Dots and Self-Portraits First Voice Multicultural Children's books

Polka Dots and Self-Portraits First Voice Multicultural Children's books 

This piece, by Maya Gonzalez, very powerfully articulates how  so  much of what counts as reading and literature for children objectifies  and thus we alienates youth:
"Each time I sensed a lack of resonance, I looked more closely at the author And artist and each time I found that they did not originate from the community they were representing. It is not that their books lacked merit, by no means. But it did feel different. And each time, I This study feeling in my gut, it reminded me of educator course, professors, experts, ethnographers, authors and artists who were telling me about me or my people or my culture. I did not feel felt. I felt that he did, categorized, defined and documented by outsiders. I did not feel that I belong to. I felt separate."
 Maya Gonzalez is an artist, author and educator. Her fine art graces the cover of Contemporary Chicano/a Art and is well documented as part of the Chicano Art Movement. She has illustrated over 20 award-winning children’s books and authored two. Since 1996, Maya has been providing presentations to children and educators about the importance of creativity as a tool for personal empowerment. Her work with children in public schools helped her develop two lines of curriculum called Claiming Face and Gender Now. In 2009 she co-founded Reflection Press, an independent press that publishes radical children’s books, and works that expand spiritual and cultural awareness. In 2013, Maya also co-created an online learning environment called School of the Free Mind that provides classes to support all people in reclaiming their creative power. - See more at:

 In response, the self portraiture about which she advocates makes abundant sense  for today's classrooms that, on the whole, lack the kind of culturally rich environment that both empower and encourage children to become good readers and literate in one or more languages. 

Each time I sensed a lack of resonance, I looked more closely at the author and artist and each time I found that they did not originate from the community they were representing. It is not that their books lacked merit, by no means. But it did feel different. And each time, I got this funny feeling in my gut, it reminded me of educators, professors, experts, ethnographers, authors and artists who were telling me about me or my people or my culture. I did not feel felt. I felt studied, categorized, defined and documented by outsiders. I did not feel that I belonged. I felt separate. - See more at:

Colorado Is Asking Taxpayers for $1 Billion to Help Schools

Coloradoans going out to vote on Tuesday for a possible tax increase that would help fund recession-weary, public schools.  Interesting quote:

"In California last year, the Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, won passage of a referendum temporarily raising taxes for the first time since 2004 by framing the $6 billion tax increase as a way to save California’s underfinanced public schools. But here, the effort might hinge on which Colorado shows up to vote on Tuesday. Will it be the Colorado that legalized marijuana, embraced expanded background checks for gun sales and twice supported Barack Obama for president? Or the Colorado that, in September, ousted two state senators for embracing new gun control laws?" 

Hopefully, the former group will prevail. 


November 3, 2013

Colorado Is Asking Taxpayers for $1 Billion to Help Schools

DENVER — In one poor school district in Colorado’s San Luis Valley, students take classes in a bus garage, using plastic sheeting to keep the diesel fumes at bay. In another, there is no more money to tutor young immigrants struggling to read. And just south of Denver, a district where one in four kindergartners is homeless has cut 10 staff positions and is bracing for another cull.
For decades, schools like these have struggled to keep pace with their bigger and wealthier neighbors. On Tuesday, Colorado will try to address those problems with one of the most ambitious and sweeping education overhauls in the country, asking voters to approve a $1 billion tax increase in exchange for more school funding and an educator’s wish-list of measures.
The effort has touched off a fevered debate in a state that two decades ago passed one of the nation’s strictest limits on taxes and spending. It is emerging as the latest test of whether Democrats can persuade voters to embrace higher taxes by tying them to school funding.
Outside money is pouring into the state. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to support gun control here, has given $1 million to the school campaign, as have Bill and Melinda Gates, whose foundation is one of the largest philanthropic organizations involved in public education. Teachers’ unions have contributed at least $4 million, and other pro-labor groups have given thousands.
The referendum will ask voters to replace the current flat state income tax rate of 4.6 percent with a two-tier system. Residents with taxable incomes below $75,000 would pay 5 percent; taxable incomes above $75,000 would be taxed at 5.9 percent. “Big Change. Small Price,” declare commercials supporting the measure, known as Amendment 66.
The amendment would also require the state to direct 43 percent of its budget to schools, ending the current system of tying increases to the rate of inflation.
Supporters say the measure would provide enough money to revolutionize education for a generation. Opponents, which include anti-tax groups and Republican politicians, say it would raise taxes on struggling families and businesses with no guarantee of a better education.
“It’s a very hard sell,” conceded Gov. John W. Hickenlooper, a Democrat and the measure’s highest-profile advocate.
In 2010, Colorado spent about $9,306 per student, among the bottom 10 states in the country, according to data compiled by Education Week. Over all, the publication ranked the state’s education system slightly behind the national average.
Amendment 66 would make full-day kindergarten standard across the state. It would set aside more money for students who do not speak English, have learning disabilities or come from poor families. It would send more money toward charter schools, as well as districts in poorer areas that cannot easily raise property taxes to buy computers or raise teacher salaries. The measure would also let people go online to track how schools spend every dollar.
“Total transparency, school by school,” Mr. Hickenlooper said. “No state’s ever done that.”
The prospect of more money for all has united two usually warring factions, teachers’ unions and the charter school movement. But most business groups have either stayed on the sidelines or expressed worry about the effects of a tax increase on small businesses and job creation. Most Republicans have lined up in opposition, eager to beat back a big tax increase and deal Mr. Hickenlooper, who is up for re-election next year, an embarrassing political defeat.
The opposition is being vastly outspent. The main group opposing the measure, Coloradans for Real Education Reform, has raised $24,400, according to state campaign finance figures. Much of that comes from the Independence Institute, a libertarian research group based in Denver.
Some opponents in richer school districts also object to new funding formulas that would pump more money into poorer schools and those with more students at risk of dropping out. They say the measure’s attempt to even out imbalances between wealthy and struggling schools would just create new disparities.
“It’s a bad deal,” said Doug Benevento, a school board member in conservative Douglas County and the father of a third-grader and a kindergartner. “One hundred million dollars would leave our county. Roughly $50 million of that would return.”
In California last year, the Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, won passage of a referendum temporarily raising taxes for the first time since 2004 by framing the $6 billion tax increase as a way to save California’s underfinanced public schools. But here, the effort might hinge on which Colorado shows up to vote on Tuesday. Will it be the Colorado that legalized marijuana, embraced expanded background checks for gun sales and twice supported Barack Obama for president? Or the Colorado that, in September, ousted two state senators for embracing new gun control laws?
“It’s winnable, but it’s going to be tight,” said Mike Johnston, a Democratic state senator from northeast Denver and an architect of the education measure. “There are a lot of question marks on this one.”
Among them are new election rules that allow voters to register as late as Election Day.
As the election approaches, supporters have begun a $10 million push to mobilize voters who might otherwise tune out during an off-year campaign.
The two sides are debating each other on radio stations and at community centers. Volunteers are knocking on doors and handing out leaflets. The state’s newspapers have taken sides. The airwaves are filled with commercials offering promises that an average tax increase of $133 per household would fund more teachers’ assistants, art and gym classes and expanded early childhood education, which have been gutted by budget cuts since the recession.
Opponents said they were worried that school districts could use the money not to pay teachers or decrease class sizes but to meet their soaring pension costs.
But George Welsh, the superintendent of Center School District in southern Colorado, says the money could forestall more hard choices. Cuts have whittled budgets bare, he said, forcing the district to pare vocational programs in the high school and raise fourth- and fifth-grade class sizes to 30 students. Elementary art is long gone, and after a federal grant was exhausted, the district can no longer offer reading tutoring to all of the students who need it.
If the funding measure passes, the district stands to receive an additional $2,413 for each student, an increase of 32 percent over the current level of $7,523. If it fails, Mr. Welsh said, the district may have to cut more.
“We just don’t have the money,” he said.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

In Latest Scandal at UT Austin, a Bake Sale Attacks Race

In Latest Scandal at UT Austin, a Bake Sale Attacks Race

Not cool. -Angela
ake sales have long been a go-to solution for organizations looking to make money. More recently, they've also provided a platform for protest — and not the most savory kind.
The University of Texas at Austin’s Young Conservatives of Texas group last month hosted an “Affirmative Action Bake Sale” where they charged customers prices based on their race. It was part of a larger effort to clarify their position regarding the controversial Fisher v. University of Texas case, which is now being debated at the U.S. Supreme Court level, concerning affirmative action admissions policy of the university's Austin campus.
The bake sale, held on September 25, was more an act of protest than a money-making move by the conservative student organization. UT officials were not impressed; in a statement issued two days after the sale, the university's Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, Gregory Vincent, said not only was the action inflammatory and demeaning, but it set the stage for further exclusion and disrespect within the student, faculty and staff communities.
- See more at:
In Latest Scandal at UT Austin, a Bake Sale Attacks Race
Mon, 10/14/2013 - by Reihaneh Hajibeigi
 205  47 reddit0 tumblr0
Bake sales have long been a go-to solution for organizations looking to make money. More recently, they've also provided a platform for protest — and not the most savory kind.
The University of Texas at Austin’s Young Conservatives of Texas group last month hosted an “Affirmative Action Bake Sale” where they charged customers prices based on their race. It was part of a larger effort to clarify their position regarding the controversial Fisher v. University of Texas case, which is now being debated at the U.S. Supreme Court level, concerning affirmative action admissions policy of the university's Austin campus.
The bake sale, held on September 25, was more an act of protest than a money-making move by the conservative student organization. UT officials were not impressed; in a statement issued two days after the sale, the university's Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement, Gregory Vincent, said not only was the action inflammatory and demeaning, but it set the stage for further exclusion and disrespect within the student, faculty and staff communities.
“The choice of a tiered pricing structure creates the misperception that some students either do not belong at the university or do not deserve to have access to our institution—or worse, that they belong or deserve only to a certain degree,” Vincent said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Representatives for Young Conservatives of Texas-UT did not respond to multiple attempts for comment, but in an interview with college- and fraternity-centered site “Total Frat Move,” YCT Chairman and UT student Lorenzo Garcia defended the bake sale saying actions like these will spark a necessary political debate.
“If we didn’t do something like this, a lot of students wouldn’t really pay attention to the issue. Whether it’s the affirmative action bake sale or other things that are pretty controversial but prove a point, and you know, stick it to the liberals pretty much,” Garcia wrote. “With college kids, you have to do something like this to get their attention.”

“Affirmative Action Bake Sales” are not a new occurrence. The University of California at Berkeley experienced a similar incident in 2011 in protest to an upcoming Senate bill that would allow public universities in California to adopt affirmative action policies.
In 2008, Young Conservatives of Texas at Texas A&M University hosted their version of the bake sale to protest against the upcoming employment of James Anderson, who would assume the post of Vice President of Institutional Assessment and Diversity for the university.
In their statement to the media, Rebecca Falkowski, current issues director for YCT at Texas A&M, said, “We hope our affirmative action bake sale and pledge drive will show the students of Texas A&M University the fallacies of many of the so- called ‘diversity’ initiatives being pursued by Texas A&M and other universities across the country.”
Some university officials, like Southern Methodist University in Texas, have stepped in and shut down potential bake sales before they even got started.
But UT biology senior Nick Mitchell doesn’t agree that it is the place of universities to stifle free speech by preventing the bake sale.
“It’s not the university’s job to stop speech, it’s the student community’s job to pressure racists into stopping,” Mitchell said. “Race is a complicated issue, and the YCT dumbed down the entire complex issue of affirmative action into something so simple and silly that I really don’t think anyone, even those who agree, could take them seriously.”
When Mitchell himself passed by the bake sale, he saw most people just laughing off the protesters. “I think the worst thing that can happen as a protestor is to have people laugh at you, and that’s the biggest response I saw,” he said.
- See more at: