Latino USA

Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Skipping Arizona

Did you grow up with the rope-skipping chant, “I won’t go to Macy’s any more?” Poet and commentator Joe Pacheco is a retired New York City School Superintendent, and he certainly remembers it. And he’s updated the poem for the age.


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The Central Falls School District of Rhode Island

Central Falls, Rhode Island is not a region that immediately jumps out as being an immigrant Latino hotbed. But as the region has struggled with English as a Second Language and shifting demographics, the “No Child Left Behind” provisions of federal education standards has critized the school’s performance. In a drastic move to combat falling performance standards, the local school board recently fired the entire teaching staff of the local high school. The story has made national headlines.

But the immigrant and Latino aspects of what is happening in Central Falls, Rhode Island is largely being overlooked by national media. To examine this more closely, Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa speaks with WRNI Education Reporter Elisabeth Harrison and New York University Education Professor Mario Suarez-Orozco.


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StoryCorps: Historias

Each month Latino USA airs interviews from the StoryCorps Historias, a nation-wide radio project that’s recording Latino stories. The full-versions of these interviews are archived at the Library of Congress becoming part of the history of the United States.

This week three stories about school.

The Hoover/Garcia Family

Larry Hoover speaks with his granddaughter Anastacia Garcia in New Mexico. Larry remembered his teenage years and getting into trouble with neighborhood gangs. In fact, his constant fighting earned him a foreboding warning from his mother. She said if he didn’t stop all the fighting, he’d end up at the local school for delinquent boys. He did in fact end up there – 30 years later as a teacher.


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Sánchez Family

A couple of generations ago, it was common for students to have their names “Americanized” one they arrived in school. Ramón “Chunky” Sánchez gives us a student’s point of view. He grew up during the 1950s in a southern California farming town. And like many Mexican American children at that time, his name was changed. But he recalls one kid whose name was so unusual to the teachers that his was the only one not to be changed.


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Villanueva Family

Lourdes Villanueva’s parents were migrant workers, harvesting fruit throughout the south. In a conversation from Tampa, Florida, she recalls raising her son as the family worked the fields and moved constantly. Wanting a better life for her children, Lourdes encouraged the value of an education to her son, Roger. But she also practiced what she preached. Today, Roger is a financial aid advisor at the University of South Florida.


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StoryCorps stories were produced by Nadia Reiman and Vanara Taing. The Senior Producer for StoryCorps is Michael Garofalo.

A Focus on the Family

Demographically speaking, Latinas are statistically interesting to social scientists. As girls, they are often the least educated and are more likely to drop out, contract AIDS, or commit suicide. As a group, this is a pan-Latina issue. It’s true for Mexican-Americans, Central Americas, Puerto Ricans, etc. For those who follow these trends, it was little surprise to learn that one-in-four stay at home moms in this country are Latina. And while some say this is due to cultural preference, others are questioning the limited choices many Latinas are often given.

Pilar Torres is the co-founder and executive director of Centro Familia, a Maryland-based advocacy group that helps families with early care and education.


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Web Extra: Danticat Awarded MacArthur ‘Genius’ Grant

Edwidge Danticat (Photo by David Shankbone)

The MacArthur Foundation announced 24 new grant recipients this week, commonly known as the “Genius Awards.” Among this years winners was Haitian immigrant and novelist Edwidge Danticat.

Listen to Maria Hinojosa’s April 2008 interview with Edwidge about the death of her beloved uncle while in custody of U.S. immigration officials and about her latest book, Brother I’m Dying.


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Immigrants and Community College

Blue Ribbon Mentor-Advocates, a program of Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools in North Carolina, combine families and mentors

August is the congressional recess and a time when Democratic leaders in Washington wanted to have a series of townhall meetings on healthcare reform. But the townhall idea quickly turned into political theatre that seems to have usurped many of the headlines.

Also missing from many headlines is the fact that it’s back-to-school time in many parts of the country. And for children of immigrants still waiting for immigration reform, the prospects of continuing their education are less clear than even healthcare reform.

Take the example of North Carolina, where two years ago, the state allowed children of undocumented immigrants to enroll in the state’s community colleges with in-state tuition rates, only to ban them from campus a few months later.

Producer Lygia Navarro reports.


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From Trauma to Art

While there are millions of economic refugees who have migrated to this country, there are also thousands of others who come escaping more traumatic things than just poverty. New York is home to many immigrant students whose families have experienced war and violence and are otherwise displaced from their ancestral ties.

NPR contributor Jeff Lunden now brings us a story from the International High School in Queens, New York. That’s a special college preparatory school for kids with limited English skills that have been in the U.S. for less than four years. It’s in theatre class where kids from disparate regions of the world find commonality in going from trauma to art.


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Empowering Girl Journalists in Texas

Girls working on the e-zine

For young Latinas, role models are sometimes difficult to find. Too often, Hispanic girls lack resources to develop to their full potential. In Austin, Texas, a non-profit has created a mentorship program, pairing Latina girls and teens, to help develop their leadership through journalism. It’s the mission of Latinitas to empower Latina youth through media and technology with the goal of informing, entertaining, and inspiring young Latinas to grow into healthy, confident, and successful adults.

Since 2002, the Latinitas program has produced an online magazine — or E-Zine — produced and written by youth. Recently, the online magazine has gone to traditional print.

KUT’s Crystal Chavez profiles the journalistic training program and some of the girls involved.

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Watch a Slideshow of the Latinitas program as you listen:

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