Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Segregation’s Return

History is repeating itself: schools are becoming more segregated across the country as the population has moved back into cities. The anniversary of Brown v Board of Education provides an opportunity for reflection on the history of Latino segregation in schools. It’s also a chance to look more closely at what’s happening in one Brooklyn school, which is fighting to maintain diversity.

 

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C4_CamiloVargasHeadShotCamilo Vargas went from his native Colombia to the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He joined Latino USA after a fellowship with Univision Noticias and Univision’s Investigative Unit. Before coming to the US, Camilo was a researcher in conflict studies and US-Latin America relations for the Colombian government and the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota. He’s reported on the drug war, national politics, and same-sex salsa.

 

 

 

 

ACValdezA.C. Valdez is Latino USA’s Senior Producer. A.C. Valdez comes to Latino USA by way of public radio shows like America Abroad, The Diane Rehm Show, WAMU-FM’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show, and Tell Me More. He’s worked with reporters from around the world, coordinated performances with groups like The Noisettes, and done in-depth work on the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan. A native of Washington, D.C., A.C. Is a graduate of Emerson College.

 

 

 

 

Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

 

DREAMers Rally For In-State Tuition

If a couple of states legalizing pot is significant, the number of states which have approved in-state tuition for undocumented students, or DREAMers, is a tidal wave. And for states, education of immigrants can mean big business–and big tax revenue. From Minnesota, to Florida, to Utah, we hear from students what affordable college means to them. And then we learn about one state-Georgia-where students are fighting for their educations.

 

 

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Elly Yu is a freelance journalist based in Atlanta. She has reported for WNYC, WABE, and the New York Daily News, among others. She is a 2014 immigration reporting fellow with the Institute for Justice and Journalism. Elly has a master’s in journalism from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and a bachelor’s in international relations from the University of Southern California.

 

 

 

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

 

 

 

The Risk Of Reaching Dropouts

National estimates say that fewer than 70 percent of Latinos and African Americans graduate high school. In Austin, Texas, there’s a charter school dedicated solely to teaching dropouts and helping them graduate. But the state says the school doesn’t meet academic and financial standards. The school, American Youthworks, is at risk of getting shut down.

 

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urlJoy Diaz has been a reporter with KUT on and off since 2005. Since joining KUT, Joy has covered education, healthcare and immigration. She is now the station’s city reporter. Originally from Mexico, Joy moved to the U.S. in 1998 when her husband Luis was transferred from his job in Mexico City to train workers in a telecommunications plant in Virginia. While there, Joy worked for Roanoke’s NPR station WVTF.

 

 

 

Photo by Joy Diaz

Claudio Sanchez: My Education Story

While the U.S. celebrates Mother’s day on the second Sunday of May, Mexico always honors mothers on May 10th.  For people living on the U.S. – Mexico border, getting it right can be tricky. I know – I was born on the border.

 

Norma Cantu describes the border as “a wound that’s forever healing.” For me, the border is my true home.

 

I grew up in Nogales Sonora, right across from Nogales Arizona. The working class neighborhood of Colonia Ingenieros was nothing more than a narrow dirt street between two hills with dozens of homes perched on either side.

 

Our small three-room house had a tiny garden where my grandmother grew medicinal herbs that she dried, stored and sold in Coca Cola bottles. Up to five people could fit if we slept diagonally on the only bed we had. A 20 foot wire allowed us to “borrow” electricity from the nearest lamp post. When the government finally cut us off, huge bonfires would bloom at night in the middle of the street, which in turn brought out the barrio historians. Their stories had a special place in Nogales Folklore.

 

My favorite was the story of “El Buya,” the neighborhood’s ancient, amiable bake who sprinkled his best bread with the finely crushed bones of disobedient children.

 

While I loved Colonia Ingenieros, my mother, Blanca Luz, felt differently. All she saw was people imprisoned by their fatalism. My mother’s name means “White Light” – her optimism and confidence could light up a room.

 

Not long after my parents separated, my mother grew tired of Nogales. She hated walking through the gauntlet of women peering from behind their long dark shawls. They were always murmuring, “Y que de los pobres niños, sin padre.” – poor kids, with no father.

 

My mother was a voracious reader with two years of college thanks to the philanthropy of an old priest. But in Mexico, her education did not guarantee a job that could sustain our family, let alone pay for good schools.

 

She was convinced that as a single parent, life would be better in the United States. It felt like we were poorer in this country than we were in Mexico My mother could not buy us lots of things but she surrounded us with lots of books.

 

Every night she would read mystery novels or Grimm’s fairy tales. Once a week, if I was good, she would bring me a pile of used comic books in both English and Spanish. I loved all the Marvel superheroes, The Lone Ranger and Pequeña Lulu, a precocious mischievous little girl not unlike Lucy, Charlie Brown’s nemesis.

 

My mom, Blanca Luz, made sure poverty did not trump education. She told us that if we were going to make something of ourselves, we had to hang on to our dignity as if our life depended on it. Our appearance, the way we carried ourselves, the precision of our speech, she emphasized that being poor is no excuse for failure.

 

It was a lesson that I began to understand and appreciate as a teen, when I started high school in this country.

 

Nogales High was 90 percent Mexican American, but speaking English with an accent was a curse. Losing your accent meant that you were ready to move up among the kids who wore their assimilation proudly. Only then could you dare mingle with the few “rich kids” who ran the school in the same way their parents ran the city’s economy and politics.

 

In high school I realized that the process of assimilation brings all immigrants to a crossroads, an identity crisis of sorts. I remember wanting desperately to shed my “alienhood” but realizing I would forever be labeled: Resident Alien, Mexican-American, Chicano, Pocho, Latino, “Hispanic, Her Panic, Your Panic, Our Panic” as my mother would often say. I can still hear her laugh.

 

It’s an idea that permeates my reporting about struggling families, kids and schools, because there but for the grace of God go I. Happy Mother’s Day, Blanca Luz. Gracias. Thanks for showing me how to survive and thrive on both sides of the border.

 

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claudio sanchezFormer elementary and middle school teacher Claudio Sanchez is an Education Correspondent for NPR. He focuses on the “three p’s” of education reform: politics, policy and pedagogy. Sanchez’s reports air regularly on NPR’s award-winning newsmagazinesMorning EditionAll Things Considered, and Weekend Edition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getty Images/Scott Olson

Why Are We Failing Our Black And Latino Students?

Black and Latino kids perform significantly less well in school than their white counterparts. The factors for this so-called achievement gap are well documented: failing schools, crime-ridden neighborhoods, unequal resources and limited social capital. But despite this research, some advocates say American schools are perpetuating traditional patterns of poverty and inequality. Latino USA guest host Claudio Sanchez talks to researchers Claudia Galindo and Pedro Noguera about community involvement, cultural misunderstandings, and how stereotypes hold children back.

 

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Claudia Galindo is an Associate Professor in the Language, Literacy, and Culture Ph.D. Program and Affiliate Associate Professor of Gender and Women Studies at UMBC in Baltimore, Maryland, US.  Her research focuses on educational inequality and the social context of education

 

 

 

 

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Pedro Noguera is the Peter L. Agnew Professor of Education at New York University.  Dr. Noguera is a sociologist whose scholarship and research focuses on the ways in which schools are influenced by social and economic conditions, as well as by demographic trends in local, regional and global contexts.

 

 

 

 

Alex Wong/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

Teaching Chicano History Through Theater

During the 1960s, East Los Angeles became the center of the Chicano Movement, or Movimiento, the Mexican-American civil rights struggle. Thousands of Chicanos marched in protests, won reforms and changed America forever. But two generations later, that history is being forgotten. California schools don’t teach it and many immigrant parents don’t know it. A group of Chicano artists is trying to bring that history back to life by bringing a special theater program to an East L.A. school for youth at risk.

 

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Valerie. photoValerie Hamilton is an independent producer. She reports on issues on and around the U.S-Mexico border for U.S. and European public media. She’s based in Los Angeles.

 

 

 

 

A Rainforest in A New England School

Time out in Peck Middle School in New England happens in the Puerto Rican rainforest. For years now, Gerardo Munoz, one of the Puerto Ricans that make up half of the population of Holyoke, Massachusetts, has grown an indoor plant garden with seeds from la isla’s vegetation. He calls it “El Yunque” after Puerto Rico’s national park. Muñoz is a school outreach worker at Peck, and El Yunque is the legacy he wants to leave to the teachers and students of his school. In this piece, Karen Brown goes to El Yunque, where teachers and students go to find the peace and warmth of the Puerto Rican jungle.

 

 

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Karen-headshot1-220x251Karen Brown is a reporter at New England Public Radio in Western Massachusetts, and a freelance print and radio contributor for The Boston Globe, NPR, Harvard Public Health Magazine, and other outlets. She was a Knight Fellow in Science Journalism at MIT and is currently a fellow with the Association of Health Care Journalists. She tends to report on health, mental health, and social issues.

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Karen Brown

Catching Up With The Stem Sisters

In the last few years theres been a big push on the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education and careers.

As part of our first hour long episode in September we introduced you to four Latinas we dubbed the STEM Sisters. Alma, Marcela, Sonia, and Xochyl met at DePaul University in Chicago while getting degrees in environmental studies. They noticed each other over their years at college because they were the only Latinas in their classes.

When we first spoke with them they had just graduated and were figuring out what to do next. Now a few months later, we talk to three of the STEM sisters about looking for work, trying to figure out how to start STEM careers, and looking forward to 2014.

Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images

Data Mining in the Coachella Valley

The Coachella Valley, in Southern California, is one of the country’s richest agricultural regions, providing the country with tons of grapes, dates and other produce. But it’s also what environmentalists call a “data desert.” Nobody knows the full extent of environmental problems that make life hazardous for the farmworkers there simply because the numbers are lacking. Without that data, the region can’t get money for improvements. Lisa Morehouse reports on an effort by environmentalists to crowdsource the needed data with the help of local teenagers.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

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Lisa-Morehouse-150x150Lisa Morehouse is an award-winning independent public radio and print journalist, who’s filed for KQED’s The California Report, NPR’s Latino USA and All Things Considered, Edutopia magazine and McSweeney’s. Her reporting has taken her from Samoan traveling circuses to Mississippi Delta classrooms to the homes of Lao refugees in rural Iowa.  She’s currently working on After The Gold Rush: The Future of Rural California, an audio documentary website and series. A former public school teacher, Morehouse also works with at-risk youth to produce radio diaries.

This Week’s Captions: CAGED

THIS WEEK’S SHOW:

This week, Latino USA focuses on literal and metaphorical cages, from education programs and art within prison walls to kidnapping in Mexico. We’ll hear how one former inmate helps people transition to life on the outside. Also: one performance artist’s take on being paralyzed, a Cuban blogger, and life in a boxcar settlement. All this, and fighting police harrassment with Facebook.

ABOUT CAPTIONING:

Latino USA, the foremost Latino voice in public media and the longest running Latino-focused program on radio, is the first radio program to commence equal-access distribution via Captioning for Radio. “Research has shown that Latino children have a higher incidence of hearing loss and deafness than other populations,” according to Latino USA’s Anchor & Executive Producer Maria Hinojosa. “When the opportunity to break this sound barrier came to our attention, we were pleased to embrace this new technology developed by NPR Labs and Towson University for the thousands of Latinos with serious hearing loss.”

The International Center for Accessible Radio Technology (ICART), a strategic alliance between NPR and Towson University, is co-directed by Mike Starling of NPR and Ellyn Sheffield of Towson University.

For each week’s captioning, check back on http://latinousa.org/captions.

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