Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Feminist Martha Cotera fights to represent Chicanas in academia

Widely regarded as the goddess of Chicana feminism, I count myself among the many who for generations have been nourished by her writings, advocacy, and intellect.  She is a true force of nature and national treasure.  

And I am so happy and proud to call her my friend.  

Love you, Martha!

Angela Valenzuela 


Feminist Martha Cotera fights to represent Chicanas in academia

Photo Credit: Ashley Sanchez | Daily Texan Staff
Editor's note: This is part of a compilation of stories highlighting the experiences of students struggling to achieve equal representation on campus.

In a library filled with the sounds of shuffling books and beeping scanners, librarian and Chicana activist Martha Cotera found the words she needed to fuel her movement.

Cotera, a major figure in the Chicana feminism movement, is best known for her activity in La Raza Unida and for her hundreds of published works. La Raza Unida was a Texas-based political party that promoted the election of Mexican-American officials and was a significant part of the Chicano civil rights movement in the ’70s.

During her time with the party, Cotera began to recognize the marginalization of Chicanas within the Mexican-American community and published many works detailing the need to address sexism within that context.

Cotera said her work in Chicana feminism would not have been possible without the services provided by educational institutions. Her identity as a librarian led her to address issues of representation in academic contexts, such as the exclusion of certain community documents from colleges and libraries.

“The work of activist librarians is often disregarded because people think that they’re only filing papers,” Cotera said. “But they provide a valuable service by preserving voices from local communities.”

Cotera’s most popular book, “Diosa y Hembra,” provides a history of Chicanas in the U.S. and is a key piece of literature in the Chicana Feminist discourse, but it isn’t available on the shelves of Austin’s public libraries and can only be found in the Austin History Center archives.

“Libraries are supposed to reflect the communities they serve, but in reality, they represent the societal class hierarchies,” Cotera said. “The dominant class gets to decide what gets put into academia.”

Cotera’s 35-year career as a librarian and as an archivist at the Benson Latin American Collection gave her the experience she needed to help run the Chicana Research and Learning Center, which she co-founded in 1974.

UT alumna Brenda Sendejo, an anthropology professor at Southwestern University, said the creation of the center started a dialogue between the Chicana community and Austin’s universities. The center, which received materials such as newspapers from the Chicana community, provided UT with the resources necessary to create a Chicana Studies curriculum.

“Chicana Studies had already begun to emerge by the mid-1970s, but it didn’t really become established until it got incorporated into college courses,” Sendejo said.

Beyond the realm of academia, Cotera said many feminists have personal stakes in libraries. Here, feminists discovered stories about Our Lady Guadalupe addressing San Juan Diego with assertive statements and used this evidence to associate her with feminism. For the predominately Catholic Chicana population, this provided a symbol of empowerment grounded within the epistemological framework of spirituality.

“We made Our Lady of Guadalupe into a feminist icon by taking away her passivity and turning her into a champion for women,” Cotera said. “In order to do this, we had to do research.”

Cotera said the struggle to free symbols from their oppressive history and turn them into feminist icons is critical to promoting feminism.

Emilio Zamora, a history and Mexican American studies professor said this Chicana feminist tactic is grounded in the Mexican-American penchant for history.

“Mexicans are very historically minded. It’s a part of their daily lives,” Zamora said. “So [Cotera] came to the field from a historical approach. It’s no accident that she became a librarian. She was very interested in the production and dissemination of knowledge.”

Cotera said the social change that Chicana feminists rely on is only made possible through sufficient resources.

“To be liberated, you need information,” Cotera said. “We need to constantly work to preserve it because without it, we don’t have history and we don’t have social change.”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Austin School Board Welcomes a New Trustee; Board Officers Remain the Same

I'm happy to be quoted in this piece by  I am disappointed, however, in our community members and leadership not showing up, and not even sending me an email or any kind of notification why they didn't show up.  I know it's a busy time.  It's a very busy time for me, too.  My hopes are that we ourselves—particularly as self-proclaimed community leaders—get involved in AISD Board matters.

Consider the following statistics as you ponder what I am saying that speak to the kind of leadership that we need right now on the AISD Board:

         Currently we have 83,000 AISD Students         

         Minority students represent nearly 75% of all of our students.
         Latino students represent 60%
         African-Americans represent 7.5%
         English Language Learners represent over 28% (over 23,000 students)
         Economically Disadvantaged 60%
         Refugee students from 42 Countries (over 1,000 students)
         Almost 100 languages Spoken in our AISD schools

I am not at all disheartened by the outcome of the board election (see below).  In fact, I'm more motivated and genuinely interested in working with and helping the board than I ever have been.

Please, do not tell me to run for office. My sincere preference is for all of us to take the "good medicine," as well, and get more involved.  

Angela Valenzuela


Austin School Board Welcomes a New Trustee; Board Officers Remain the Same

Incoming Trustee Cindy Anderson is sworn in by outgoing Trustee Gina Hinojosa.

Incoming Trustee Cindy Anderson is sworn in by outgoing Trustee Gina Hinojosa.

Austin School Board members bid farewell Monday night to former school board Trustee Gina Hinojosa who was elected to the Texas House of Representatives on Election Day. The start of Monday night's Board meeting was bittersweet. As Hinojosa said goodbye to other board members, she encouraged the board to continue to advocate for students across the city.
“My hope for this board is that that you recognize and use your privilege and authority to continue to grapple with the hard stuff, the policies that will work to create a more just, vibrant and thriving community – policies that will give opportunities to our students to become leaders, not just workers," Hinojosa said.
The board welcomed Trustee Cindy Anderson to replace her in the District 8 at-large position. Anderson says she hopes she can live up to her predecessor.
“And I hope that I can do her justice in serving all students in AISD and ensuring every single child has the opportunity to have the phenomenal education that my children had in this district," Anderson said.
Anderson served on a variety of district boards and committees over the last decade, including the Austin Council of PTAs.
With the new member in place, the board started its other work for the night, including elections for board officers—president, vice president and secretary. Leading up to those votes, there had been some push to get the board to elect board Vice president Paul Saldaña as President. 
Last week, UT Austin Professor Angela Valenzuela sent an email to various members of the Latino community urging them to support Saldaña. In the end, just two people showed up during public comment in support of Saldaña. During public comment, Valenzuela says the board needs a leader who will prioritize dual-language programs.
“These concerns are not going to go away they’ve grown into social movements nationwide," Valenzuela said. "I think it is good medicine for the board to bite the bullet to address these things now rather than later.”
Board President Kendall Pace took to Facebook this week to defend her stance on dual-language programming. Pace has said she wants to better monitor how well dual-language programs are working — a comment some in the AISD community took as Pace questioning the need for dual-language — a sentiment she denies.
After two hours of closed door deliberations, Pace was unanimously re-elected Board President by her fellow trustees. Trustee Yasmin Wagner said the board decided to stay the course.
“At the end, with a lot of large decisions in the not so distant future, that stability as a board is important," Wagner said. "We’ve started some really great work in in establishing a really great focus and a process in how we wish to do our work and board officers that have been working very well together and we wish to see that continue in this point in time.”
Paul Saldaña remained board Vice President and Julie Cowan remained board Secretary.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rodriguez: Nation Not Treading Lightly in Unchartered Territory

Roberto Cintli Rodriguez​, publishing in Diverse Issues in Higher Education, among other things that seem and feel perilous, notes that Kris Kobach, who will likely be a member of Donald Trump’s cabinet, is also the architect of Arizona’s racist, anti-immigrant, and discredited,  SB 1070 legislation that racially profiled Latin@s, as well as the National Security exit-entry registration system (NSEERS), 

“which during the President George W. Bush Administration, was used to track Arabs and Muslims in this country, yet resulted in zero terrorism convictions.”  

Albeit imperfect, this is not the multiracial, multinational democracy into which I was born, but rather the opposite, namely, one that is extremist, right wing, xenophobic, and fascist. 

We must all keep up the pressure as yes, we are absolutely on “unchartered territory.”

Angela Valenzuela 

Rodriguez: Nation Not Treading Lightly in Unchartered Territory

by Roberto Rodriguez/ Diverse Issues in Higher Education
Without question, this country is in unchartered territory. People across the country continue to express themselves in despair. Others in fear. Some panic, while still others prepare. Of course, many have staged numerous protests from coast to coast.

Election Protests WashingtonIn response to the aftermath of the elections, some 150 college and university presidents have banded together to express their concern regarding the rise in hate crimes across the country. The unexpected presidential results have emboldened racial supremacists and misogynists across the country, including on the campuses of colleges and universities nationwide.

At the same time, professors from coast to coast are also speaking out, including via the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), who have denounced the racial incidents and hate crimes which are happening not just at colleges and universities, but also at K-12 schools. They have also come out in support of the idea of sanctuary campuses for undocumented students.

While a colleague, Angela Valenzuela at the University of Texas at Austin, speaks of watching a documentary on the rise of Hitler and its striking similarities with today’s political situation, hundreds of Jewish scholars of Holocaust history call on Americans to mobilize in global solidarity against the president-elect.

This also includes a call by some 200 national human rights organizations that are calling upon President Obama to dismantle whatever is left of the National Security exit-entry registration system (NSEERS), which during the President George W. Bush Administration, was used to track Arabs and Muslims in this country, yet resulted in zero terrorism convictions. The denunciation of this program  has also come from the Council on Arab Islamic Relations (CAIR). The architect of NSEERS, Kris Kobach, appears to also be on track to have a prominent role in the president-elect’s cabinet. He purportedly is proposing something similar, though not limited to Arabs or Muslims, thus prompting that joint call. Kobach, not coincidentally, was the architect of Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070 legislation, a state measure that was copied by many states across the country.

This is but two weeks after the elections and yet all the signs are ominous, beginning with the selection of Steve Bannon, a racial extremist who previously led Breitbart News, as chief strategist and senior counselor to the president-elect. As he continues to choose the rest of his cabinet, all the signs point towards extreme right-wing consolidation, including the likes of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and ex-Arizona governor, Jan Brewer.

All this has been taking place while the inhumane, brutal and unprecedented assaults against the water protectors at Standing Rock continue to shock the world’s conscience. Despite the president ordering the halting of the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which is slated to traverse through four states, he has done little in the past several months to both stop its building, nor has he stopped the violence against the water protectors. And prospects do not look good regarding this issue, as the president-elect is a strong supporter of oil drilling and energy deregulation.

Amid this chaos, those from communities most at risk, the undocumented, including DREAMERS, continue to prepare for the worst, yet their leadership remains undaunted. In fact they continue unafraid. This includes a Caravan of Courage and march from New York to Washington DC (Nov 22-24), led by the national Dream Action Coalition. Throughout the country, walkouts, in support of K-12 DREAMERS have also taken place, especially in cities such as Los Angeles.

Come Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017, when we can expect not simply massive protests in Washington, D.C., but nationwide, also to be expected will be more student walkouts at colleges and universities and K-12 schools throughout the country. The question of course will be, what will happen the next day? Actually, a nationwide protest by women will also converge on the capitol on Jan 21.

Without question January 20-21 will most likely amount to an unprecedented national general strike. But again, what will happen the following day? Not being a soothsayer, it is not certain anyone can predict what happens thereafter. However, what can be predicted is that some sectors of society will withhold recognition of the incoming administration.

Many will express the sentiment that if the administration treats certain sectors of society as less than human, then this administration will forever be seen as immoral and illegitimate. It appears that the only certainty that we can count on is uncertainty, and that is not necessarily in regards to the incoming administration because the president-elect appears to be doing precisely what he promised. The uncertainty is how those that have been targeted will continue to react.

Not to be forgotten is that the president’s challenger has reportedly won the popular vote by 1.7 million thus far and the gap may reach 2 million.

Governance in this environment is again, uncharted territory.

Dr. Roberto Rodriguez is an associate professor in Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Kelso: What’s so special about being white? by John Kelso

 I've covered white privilege on this blog.  Here's some tongue n' cheek from a white guy, John Kelso, who writes for the Austin American-Statesman. I wonder how the alt-right would peg him.  As a race traitor?  Just guessing.


Kelso: What’s so special about being white?

It’s time to come clean. I’m a white guy.
You probably already knew that, but with these alt-right guys telling us that being white is exceptional, I figured it was time to let the cat out of the bag.
Funny thing is being white doesn’t make me feel exceptional. In fact, it doesn’t really make me feel anything. I’m white. So what?
This whiteness has been going on for quite some time. I was born white in 1944 and I’ve been white ever since.
But for some reason I don’t see anything special about it. Exceptional? OK, so I’m a pretty good writer, but I’m certainly not Hemingway or Steinbeck. I used to be good at pingpong.
The alt-right people don’t see it that way, though: “America was, until this last generation, a white country, designed for ourselves and our posterity,” said Richard Spencer, president of the alt-right National Policy Institute and a white guy himself. “It is our creation and our inheritance, and it belongs to us.”
Oh yeah? Tell that to the ancestors of Sitting Bull and see how far it gets you.
By the way, while Spencer was speaking, some people in his audience were doing the one-armed Dr. Strangelove Hitleresque salute. Great. How to make friends and influence people, right?
“When I was a teenager we would go to the drive-in to see horror movies,” said Mary Ann Roser, an Austin writer and another white person who isn’t impressed with her whiteness. “One was so gross they offered a vomit bag at the entrance. I think the right wingers should warn us we may need a vomit bag before they spew this stuff out.”
This is not to say that white people don’t have their own set of special problems, difficulties that I file under the category of “Problems That White People Have.”
“I had to wait in line this morning at Starbucks for my latte,” said an Austin oncologist who has been white for as long as anyone can remember.
Then there’s the problem of driving while white — in my case made worse by the fact that I’m an old fart. Which means I’d have to run over a nun before a cop would bother to pull me over.
If I never get stopped by a cop, how in the heck am I supposed to know when I have a taillight out?
Michael Hurd, who is black and who works at Prairie View A&M University, is apprehensive about this white exceptionalism business. Has he been messed with on the road? “No, but my head’s on a swivel.”
Then there are these two young white people I know who just moved into a new home. They’ve discovered that their laundry room is small and cramped. These are the sorts of difficulties we whites have to face on a daily basis.
Not that there’s anything wrong with being white. Some of my best friends are white. Although over the years, I’ve noticed that the preponderance of jerks I’ve met happened to be white people.
I attribute this in part to the fact that most of the people I hang out with are white and that there are more white people around than there are people of other backgrounds. Which is why we call them minorities.
So the odds of being a jerk in Texas are stacked against white people.
“No, I don’t feel like an extra special snowflake just because I’m white,” said a friend who lives up in the Panhandle. “Generally, I’m embarrassed I’m in the same race as soooo many asshats.”
I know what you mean, lady.


Amid Trump’s tough talk on NAFTA, Texans tout trade pact’s benefits By Sean Collins Walsh

I encourage you to read today's piece on NAFTA by Sean Collins Walsh in the Austin American-Statesman that dovetails well with the items I just posted on a post-work society. NAFTA will not only significantly impact Texas, but capitalism's unquenchable thirst for cheap labor probably means not that manufacturing jobs will return to the U.S. (where they would get automated anyway), but that other, more-distant, exploitable labor markets would be secured. 

Some argue for re-establishing tariffs on Mexican products but then this would likely lead Mexico to retaliate.  Noteworthy facts: 

 "In 2015, Texas companies exported $92 billion in goods to Mexican and imported $84 billion in goods from Mexico, according to the Census Bureau." 

Fossil fuels, including natural gas are by the far the largest exports.

What would help overall is if the "tweaking" of NAFTA that Mexican President Peña Nieto seems willing to do, results in a strengthening of labor laws so that folks aren't compelled to migrate due to low wages earned in NAFTA-related industries. This is a complex set of circumstances that require careful thought and consideration going forward.

Angela Valenzuela

Amid Trump’s tough talk on NAFTA, Texans tout trade pact’s benefits



About 4.9 million American jobs depend on trade with Mexico, including 382,000 in Texas.
NAFTA is unpopular in the Rust Belt, but has boosted the Texas economy.
President-elect Donald Trump has promised to change or withdraw from NAFTA. 

A Post-Work Society: Limits and Possibilities

This piece by that came out in The Atlantic, is a long, but very worthwhile read.  It came out in 2015 and I think speaks to the angst that drove support for both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. 

"The U.S. labor force has been shaped by millennia of technological progress. Agricultural technology birthed the farming industry, the industrial revolution moved people into factories, and then globalization and automation moved them back out, giving rise to a nation of services. But throughout these reshufflings, the total number of jobs has always increased. What may be looming is something different: an era of technological unemployment, in which computer scientists and software engineers essentially invent us out of work, and the total number of jobs declines steadily and permanently."

So an important takeaway is that instead of scapegoating immigrants, we need to take an unblinking look at what has truly been an elimination of jobs largely due to automation. 

In a surprisingly hopeful way, this thoughtful piece engages theoretical frameworks and empirical data pertaining to employment trends to explore different ways that a post-work society could work.  It also marshals alternative visions of a post-work society pertinent to consumption, communal creativity, and contingency. 

What this piece fails to do is articulate what these macro-level shifts in production mean for women and minorities at the micro-level and their corollary impacts on how we are to relate to each other in a post-work society, not only within our intimate social relationships, but also across our social, racial/ethnic, and socioeconomic divides.  

Nor does it fully take on the capitalistic rhetorical drumbeat ("promise") that capitalism equates to happier and more fulfilling lives (otherwise called "the American Dream") despite evidence of growing pathologies related not just to job loss, but to the system itself—emphasis here on "the drumbeat."  These include, but are not limited to, domestic violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, constant stress, mental illness, and so on.

With the idea of a "digital WPA," it presents a nuanced look at the role of social policy that uses technology while hearkening back to the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s that helped rebuild the nation’s infrastructure in the wake of the Depression.

It nevertheless point to an emergent alternative value system in the wake of disappearing jobs and a fundamental economic restructuring of society that could serve as a starting point for conversations throughout the U.S. that are either plagued by under-employment and unemployment on how to create new vistas for fulfilling and rewarding lives in a post-work society.

Much food for thought at an important moment in our history.

Angela Valenzuela


A World Without Work

by/ The Atlantic

July/August 2015 Issue
For centuries, experts have predicted that machines would make workers obsolete. That moment may finally be arriving. Could that be a good thing?

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Self interest should count in the educating of Hispanics

Self interest should count in the education of Hispanics and is to our peril as a country if this does not become a national priority.


 How failing to get more Hispanics to college could drag down all Americans’ income

New research warns the persistent education gap endangers the entire national economy

Daughter of Mexican immigrants, Cristina Nino-Zavala begins this fall at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, where she’s majoring in engineering with a minor in business. New research shows that failing to get more Hispanics to go to college will lower incomes for all Americans.

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

To help low-income kids, more schools try dual-language programs

Young lives. Old problems. New solutions.

Natalie Gross/The Hechinger Project | Caption

To help low-income kids, more schools try dual-language programs 

by Natalie Gross / The Christian Science Monitor

With eye toward equity, schools in low-income, black neighborhoods try controversial approach. Part 1 of 2.

In Ivonne Kendrick’s classroom at Houston Elementary School, 3-year-olds sit cross-legged in a circle, listening to their teacher sing about the fall season.
Llega el otoño tras el verano,” (Autumn comes after summer), they repeat after her in Spanish. One month into the school’s new dual-language program, their accents are unmistakably American. But they know how to ask for a manzana, or apple, at snack time and recognize that when Ms. Kendrick says “fila,” that’s their cue to form a line. The next day, the students will continue their lessons in English, alternating between the two languages throughout the week.
Houston is a low-performing school in the Deanwood neighborhood of Washington. Its dual-language program is the first to be offered in the area east of the Anacostia River, home to the city’s two poorest wards. The school’s student body is almost entirely African-American.

With bilingualism linked to enhanced academic and social skills, educators say dual-language programs can be used to narrow the achievement gap and equip underserved students for a future in a competitive workforce. Houston is one of a growing number of schools targeting bilingual instruction to black children in low-income areas. Its Spanish-English program opened at the preschool level this school year.
Jimell Sanders, a Houston parent and co-founder of the nonprofit D.C. Language Immersion Project, said there is growing demand for dual-language programs in D.C., with as many as five kids on the waiting list per available slot. And it isn’t just parents in the wealthier Northwest neighborhoods – where a high concentration of such programs are located – who want in.
Ms. Sanders, who is African-American, first presented the idea for a dual-language program at Houston to the District of Columbia Public Schools in 2014. She said the lack of such programs in predominantly black, low-income neighborhoods east of the river “clearly is an equity issue that has to be addressed.”
The United States Department of Education defines dual-language programs as “a type of bilingual education program in which students are taught literacy and academic content in English and a partner language,” often Spanish or Chinese. There are at least 2,000 of these programs in US schools, experts say — up from about 260 in 2000 . On Nov. 8, California became the latest state to embrace dual-language learning , voting to undo the provisions of a 1998 law that had mandated that learning be “overwhelmingly in English.” The growth has largely been driven by advocacy from white, affluent families, as well as by districts responding to an influx of immigrant students.
Meanwhile, schools in metro areas like Miami and Philadelphia and smaller cities like Urbana, Ill., among others, have started programs in predominantly black, low-income neighborhoods to ensure students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to become bilingual.
This approach can be controversial, as Joe Wiemelt, who directs bilingual and multicultural programs in central Illinois’ Urbana School District 116, witnessed firsthand four years ago. When a proposal to expand the district’s bilingual offerings to a school that was 85 percent African-American was presented to the school board, it sparked debates in the community about issues of race. Many wondered whether these students were “the right fit for dual-language,” Mr. Wiemelt says. The motion to start a dual-language program at the school eventually passed by a narrow 4-to-3 vote.
“One of the arguments levied against African-American children, especially in the poor areas where the dual-language programs are springing up, is that, ‘Well, these kids don’t speak standard English anyway, and we need to work on their standard English,’ ” says Howard Smith, a professor of bicultural-bilingual studies at the University of Texas, San Antonio.
It’s a common argument, even among educators. Katarina Brito, a bilingual program developer for D.C. Public Schools, said some would rather see schools ensuring students are proficient in reading and writing in English before teaching those skills in another language.
But research shows dual-language programs may actually enhance students’ learning in English. A multiyear study of students enrolled in two-way dual-language programs in North Carolina between 2007 and 2010, found that low-income black children in these programs scored higher in reading and math than their classmates of the same race and socioeconomic background who were being taught in one language. By fifth grade, these students were reading as well as their monolingual peers in the grade above them, according to the study conducted by George Mason University researchers.

Challenging approach

Based on this research, Ms. Brito sees dual-language programs as a viable intervention for students who are struggling in school – not just as enrichment for children who are already performing at grade level. But she acknowledges there are challenges.
“When you’re talking to a principal who is looking at the school full of kids who are struggling academically, it’s hard to say, ‘And now bring in this really complex, hard-to-manage program with very limited resources and convince all your parents,’ ” she said.

Natalie Gross/The Hechinger Report | Caption
Houston Elementary fits the profile of a struggling school: Just 12 percent of students in third, fourth, and fifth grade last year met expectations on the districtwide standardized math test, and 6 percent met expectations in English language arts.
Houston Principal Rembert Seaward hopes the new preschool program will help lay the foundation for future success. He explained that many of the students face stressful situations at home, which can affect their performance at school. (A recent analysis of public safety in D.C. found that while the city’s violent crime rate has gone down, Deanwood and surrounding neighborhoods have actually experienced an uptick since 2000.)
Nelson Flores, an assistant professor of educational linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania, points out that dual-language programs are not a panacea.
Challenges like staff turnover and low levels of parent engagement, typical in high-poverty schools, can be exacerbated in a dual-language setting, when teachers must have bilingual skills and parents, often working multiple jobs, are not able to help their kids with schoolwork — especially in a language they don’t understand.
In order for dual-language programs to be successful in these settings, schools have to address broader issues such as teacher quality and wraparound services for families in need, Flores said.
At the same time, he believes dual-language programs in majority-black classrooms can embrace students’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds, engaging them in ways traditional schools haven’t.
For example, at the brand new Independence Charter School West in Philadelphia, which is 85 to 90 percent black, Flores has been working with staff to ensure that the experiences of black native Spanish speakers are represented throughout the dual-language curriculum.
These programs can also do a better job of affirming variations of English “than a monolingual program that hasn’t really thought about the value of linguistic diversity,” Flores says.

Way to attract more students?

Sanders and her colleagues at the D.C. Language Immersion Project hope Houston’s new program will make the campus more attractive to families considering their elementary school options through D.C.’s school choice program.
“In the past, anybody socioeconomically advantaged who lived in the Deanwood community would have crossed Houston off their list,” said Vanessa Bertelli, Sanders’s co-founder and executive director of the organization.
And, long-term, the advocates hope that students will see more opportunities for themselves as they enter a workforce in which the demand for multilingual skills is growing.
D.C. has already “reached a point where the bank tellers need to be able to speak Spanish,” Bertelli says. “The health care, the social services people need to be able to speak Spanish.”
For Sanders, more dual-language programs at schools like Houston are good news for kids like her 3-year-old daughter Layla, who is already singing Spanish songs from Kendrick’s classroom at home.
She wants Layla to be able to be “at the table” someday, leading discussions in the workforce and in a global society – conversations, Sanders says, that won’t always happen in English.
This story was produced by The Hechinger Report , a nonprofit, independent news organization focused on inequality and innovation in education. Read more about early education .

Learning should be schools’ goal, not proficiency

Learning should be schools’ goal, not proficiency: In Nebraska, we hear a lot about learning and proficiency, as measured by NeSA testing, as if they were the same.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Election was Stolen – Here’s How… by Greg Palast

My sources are telling me that the election was indeed stolen, but not by the Russians and that that's a distraction and that you can read for yourselves about it here in this piece by investigative reporter, Greg Palast.

Good enough.  It speaks to what he not only found, but had said months earlier was happening even before the election occurred.  Essentially, it involved voter suppression through what came to be called the “Crosscheck" that purged minority voters with similar names from the polls, regardless of middle names, addresses, and social security numbers and shunting them to provisional ballots that didn't get counted.  Quote from within:
This country is violently divided, but in the end, there simply aren’t enough white guys to elect Trump nor a Republican Senate.  The only way they could win was to eliminate the votes of non-white guys—and they did so by tossing Black provisional ballots into the dumpster, ID laws that turn away students—the list goes on.  It’s a web of complex obstacles to voting by citizens of color topped by that lying spider, Crosscheck.

Glad to see that Palast's investigative reporting has brought this to light.  Here is a link to his movie titled, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. Donate to the Palast Investigative Fund and get the signed DVD.

This is a sad day for our fragile democracy.

Angela Valenzuela

The Election was Stolen – Here’s How…

by Greg Palast,  author of The New York Times bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Billionaires & Ballot Bandits,
Friday, November 11, 2016 
Before a single vote was cast, the election was fixed by GOP and Trump operatives.
Starting in 2013 – just as the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act – a coterie of Trump operatives, under the direction of Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, created a system to purge 1.1 million Americans of color from the voter rolls of GOP–controlled states.
The system, called Crosscheck, is detailed in my Rolling Stone report,
The GOP’s Stealth War on Voters,” 8/24/2016.
Crosscheck in action:  
Trump victory margin in Michigan:                    13,107
Michigan Crosscheck purge list:                       449,922
Trump victory margin in Arizona:                       85,257
Arizona Crosscheck purge list:                           270,824
Trump victory margin in North Carolina:        177,008
North Carolina Crosscheck purge list:              589,393
On Tuesday, we saw Crosscheck elect a Republican Senate and as President, Donald Trump.  The electoral putsch was aided by nine other methods of attacking the right to vote of Black, Latino and Asian-American voters, methods detailed in my book and film, including “Caging,” “purging,” blocking legitimate registrations, and wrongly shunting millions to “provisional” ballots that will never be counted.
Trump signaled the use of “Crosscheck” when he claimed the election is “rigged” because “people are voting many, many times.”  His operative Kobach, who also advised Trump on building a wall on the southern border, devised a list of 7.2 million “potential” double voters—1.1 million of which were removed from the voter rolls by Tuesday. The list is loaded overwhelmingly with voters of color and the poor. Here's a sample of the list

Those accused of criminal double voting include, for example, Donald Alexander Webster Jr. of Ohio who is accused of voting a second time in Virginia as Donald EUGENE Webster SR.

Note: Watch the four-minute video summary of Crosscheck. The investigation and explanation of these methods of fixing the vote can be found in my book and film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy: a Tale of Billionaires & Ballot Bandits (2016).

No, not everyone on the list loses their vote.  But this was not the only racially poisonous tactic that accounted for this purloined victory by Trump and GOP candidates.
For example, in the swing state of North Carolina, it was reported that 6,700 Black folk lost their registrations because their registrations had been challenged by a group called Voter Integrity Project (VIP). VIP sent letters to households in Black communities “do not forward.”  If the voter had moved within the same building, or somehow did not get their mail (e.g. if their name was not on a mail box), they were challenged as “ghost” voters.  GOP voting officials happily complied with VIP with instant cancellation of registrations.
The 6,700 identified in two counties were returned to the rolls through a lawsuit.  However, there was not one mention in the press that VIP was also behind Crosscheck in North Carolina; nor that its leader, Col. Jay Delancy, whom I’ve tracked for years has previously used this vote thievery, known as “caging,” for years.  Doubtless the caging game was wider and deeper than reported.  And by the way, caging, as my Rolling Stone co-author, attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr., tells me, is “a felony, it’s illegal, and punishable by high fines and even jail time.”
There is still much investigation to do.  For example, there are millions of “provisional” ballots, “spoiled” (invalidated) ballots and ballots rejected from the approximately 30 million mailed in.  Unlike reporting in Britain, US media does not report the ballots that are rejected and tossed out—because, after all, as Joe Biden says, “Our elections are the envy of the world.”  Only in Kazakhstan, Joe.
While there is a great deal of work to do, much documentation still to analyze, we’ll have to pry it from partisan voting chiefs who stamp the scrub lists, Crosscheck lists and ballot records, “confidential.”
But, the evidence already in our hands makes me sadly confident in saying, Jim Crow, not the voters, elected Mr. Trump.
What about those exit polls?
Exit polls are the standard by which the US State Department measures the honesty of foreign elections.  Exit polling is, historically, deadly accurate. The bane of pre-election polling is that pollsters must adjust for the likelihood of a person voting.  Exit polls solve the problem.
But three times in US history, pollsters have had to publicly flagellate themselves for their “errors.”  In 2000, exit polls gave Al Gore the win in Florida; in 2004, exit polls gave Kerry the win in Ohio, and now, in swing states, exit polls gave the presidency to Hillary Clinton.
So how could these multi-million-dollar Ph.d-directed statisticians with decades of experience get exit polls so wrong?
Answer:  they didn’t.  The polls in Florida in 2000 were accurate.  That’s because exit pollsters can only ask, “How did you vote?”  What they don’t ask, and can’t, is, “Was your vote counted.”
In 2000, in Florida, GOP Secretary of State Katherine Harris officially rejected 181,173 ballots, as “spoiled” because their chads were hung and other nonsense excuses.  Those ballots overwhelmingly were marked for Al Gore.  The exit polls included those 181,173 people who thought they had voted – but their vote didn’t count.  In other words, the exit polls accurately reflected whom the voters chose, not what Katherine Harris chose.
In 2004, a similar number of votes were invalidated (including an enormous pile of “provisional” ballots) by Ohio’s GOP Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell.  Again, the polls reflected that Kerry was the choice of 51% of the voters.  But the exit polls were “wrong” because they didn’t reflect the ballots invalidated by Blackwell.
Notably, two weeks after the 2004 US election, the US State Department refused the recognize the Ukraine election results because the official polls contradicted the exit polls.
And here we go again. 2016: Hillary wins among those queried as they exit the polling station—yet Trump is declared winner in GOP-controlled swings states. And, once again, the expert pollsters are forced to apologize—when they should be screaming, “Fraud!  Here’s the evidence the vote was fixed!”
Now there’s a new trope to explain away the exit polls that gave Clinton the win.  Supposedly, Trump voters were ashamed to say they voted for Trump.  Really?  ON WHAT PLANET?  For Democracy Now! and Rolling Stone I was out in several swing states.  In Ohio, yes, a Black voter may have been reluctant to state support for Trump. But a white voter in the exurbs of Dayton, where the Trump signs grew on lawns like weeds, and the pews of the evangelical mega churches were slathered with Trump and GOP brochures, risked getting spat on if they even whispered, “Hillary.”
This country is violently divided, but in the end, there simply aren’t enough white guys to elect Trump nor a Republican Senate.  The only way they could win was to eliminate the votes of non-white guys—and they did so by tossing Black provisional ballots into the dumpster, ID laws that turn away students—the list goes on.  It’s a web of complex obstacles to voting by citizens of color topped by that lying spider, Crosscheck.
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Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of The New York Times bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Billionaires & Ballot Bandits, now out as major motion non-fiction movie.
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Monday, November 21, 2016

Abbott & Texas GOP History of Discrimination

November 21, 2016
Contact: Matt Angle / Lone Star Project

Abbott & Texas GOP History of Discrimination

Evidence of intentional discrimination by Greg Abbott and current Texas Republican leaders is no surprise.  Federal Courts have ruled that Texas Republican leaders have discriminated against Texas citizens over a half-dozen times since 2011.  Congressional, State Senate and State House redistricting plans were all ruled discriminatory, and the Texas voter ID law has been found discriminatory after every court review.  Three findings of intentional discrimination by Abbott and other State leaders are linked below:

2011 Congressional Redistricting Map

2011 State Senate Redistricting Map
2011 Texas Voter ID law

Statement from LSP Director Matt Angle:
“Greg Abbott is the point in the spear of intentional discrimination in Texas.  He should have spent his time at the memorial ceremony apologizing for his sorry and shameful record of intentionally attacking and undermining basic civil and voting rights of millions of Texas citizens."

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The NSA Chief Says Russia Hacked the 2016 Election. Congress Must Investigate

Important read.  I think that we should all join Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and reach out to our leadership and call for an "a full-fledged congressional investigation that holds public hearings and releases its findings to the citizenry."
In his recent book, The Plot to Hack America [6], national security expert Malcolm Nance wrote, "Russia has perfected political warfare by using cyber assets to personally attack and neutralize political opponents…At some point Russia apparently decided to apply these tactics against the United States and so American democracy itself was hacked."

Angela Valenzuela

It's up to Capitol Hill to protect American democracy.