Thursday, April 27, 2006
Amadou's story also shows how ridiculous the immigration legislation passed by the House, which would make the presence of undocumented immigrants a felony. I don't think we should be punishing immigrants for wanting to work and for doing jobs that most Americans won't do, and it is certainly wrong to punish kids that came here with their parents, especially ones that are completing high school and want to go to college.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
I was pretty sure that the kids wouldn't understand how good of a school Columbia is. But I think they figured out pretty quickly that they wouldn't feel comfortable there. What they really focused on was the fact that the students there were not like them (most of the kids were Latino or black). Several of the kids asked the tour guide if everyone looked like me, white and blond, even though I thought that the student body seemed fairly diverse. The kids also zeroed in on the buildings and how different they were from Queens. One asked why there weren't any fire escapes, and wanted to know how people got out in case of a fire. They also wanted to know right away about how much it costs to attend the university, and didn't believe me or the tour guide about the possibility of financial aid.
Maybe a little exposure to a world completely different from their own will help these kids be able to think about going to college, something most of their parents never did. But it was pretty obvious that they felt like there was no way that they could ever get to a place like Columbia. It's sad that kids who are just starting to make their way in life (they'll be in high schools all over the city next year) feel like so many avenues in the future are already closed off. I couldn't tell if it was the Ivy League atmosphere that made the kids uncomfortable since we visited Queens College during spring break and the kids couldn't get a good feel of the college, but I don't like it that the 8th graders are already deciding that some colleges are too good for them.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Representatives from the National Council of La Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, said this week they support the Senate Judiciary Committee bill because it provides comprehensive immigration reform, rather than the House bill and a separate bill that has been introduced by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., both of which focus on enforcement.
They applauded the inclusion in the Senate Judiciary Committee bill of a provision that would provide a path to citizenship for undocumented youths who graduate from U.S. high schools and attend college or participate in military service for at least two years.
They also endorsed the part of the Senate Judiciary Committee bill that offers a way for undocumented workers to become legal.
Ms. Underwood noted that K-12 public schools are obligated under a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision, in Plyler v. Doe, to provide an education to children regardless of their immigration status. “From the school’s perspective of the primary mission of educating the kids, the immigration status of the parent is secondary,” she said.
Peter Zamora, a legislative lawyer for MALDEF, added that legalization for children’s parents could improve parent involvement in schools. “There’s a relationship between government and individuals in this community that is not based on trust,” he said. “Bring this population out of the shadows; have them participate in all facets of American society, including school.”
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
So although I think it is great that immigrants are standing up to the digusting and hateful bill passed in the house, I also think that a lot of commentators are going a little too far with their predictions that these rallies are the start of an immigrant/Latino political movement. Most of the immigrant parents in the night ESL classes at the school went to the rally in downtown New York yesterday (article here), but from what I can tell most of the immigrants around here are just plain scared of what is going to happen. And while the rallies are big enough that they can go without worrying about being deported, I just don't see the accompanying political consciousness that would turn these rallies into a powerful movement, at least in my little part of New York (it could be very different in a city with a more homogeneous immigrant population). I want to hear what my kids are thinking about all this (the youth movement is the most exciting part of this), and hopefully I'll report back with some interesting findings.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
Voucher proponents, like the New York Sun, love to conflate vouchers with charter schools as one big "school choice" movement. (Actually, their opponents do too.) This is useful when you either want to use one to build support for the other, or use one to do away with the other. But "school choice" is an outdated concept. Vouchers and charters have become two totally different "movements." Yes, there is some overlap, but it is mainly at the extremes, as charters have become much more mainstream.
In other bad journalism news, the headline of a somewhat anti-charter school piece in today's New York Times reads "Public vs. Private Schools: A New Debate." The print version of the headline is "Public vs. Charter Schools." Not sure which is worse -- the Times thinking that charter schools are not public schools or the Times thinking that they are private schools. And "a new debate?" As a colleague pointed out, the facilities issue is hardly a new debate.