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President Obama Signs Executive Order On Education and Hispanics

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Luis Miranda

En Español.

President Barack Obama signs the Executive Order on the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics as Javier Garcia looks on during an East Room event at the White House October 19, 2010 in Washington, DC. The executive order placed a high priority on issues ranging from early childhood learning to higher education for the Hispanic community. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images North America)


In a ceremony in the East Room today, President Obama will sign an Executive Order to renew and enhance the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics so that it better serves communities across the country by engaging them in the process of improving the education of Latino students, who represent 1 of every 5 students in our nation’s schools.

The new Executive Order is based on feedback gathered by the Initiative in more than 100 community conversations across the country with experts in education, community leaders from more than 30 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and from comments from more than 10,000 Americans on how to develop real solutions to the challenges confronting the Hispanic community in education.

The signing ceremony follows a National Education Summit and Call to Action hosted by the U.S. Department of Education that began on Monday and brought together experts and community leaders from around the country on issues ranging from early childhood learning to higher education.

The President has now signed the Executive Order, read it in full.

President Barack Obama talks with Javier Garcia of Brownsville, Tex., in the Green Room of the White House before the two of them entered the East Room for the signing ceremony of the Executive Order for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans Oct. 19, 2010. Javier introduced the President at the event. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Stand and Deliver‘ Teacher Jaime Escalante Dies at 79

Posted by: Audiegrl

This March 16, 1988 file photo shows Jaime Escalante, center, teaching math at Garfield High School, in Los Angeles. Escalante is the teacher on which the character in the movie Stand and Deliver is based. (AP Photo)

EAST LOS ANGELES (KABC)~~~He inspired countless students and was the subject of the 1988 film “Stand and Deliver.” Former Garfield High School math teacher Jaime Escalante is being remembered on Wednesday following his death from cancer at the age of 79. Escalante died on Tuesday at his son’s home near Sacramento surrounded by his children and grandchildren.

Outside James A. Garfield High School, the flag flew at half-staff to mark Escalante’s death. He is widely considered one of America’s most successful teachers.

He taught at Garfield High for 17 years, and by the time he left in 1991, he had elevated the school’s math program to one of the best in the country.

“Whenever I meet people across the nation, they always, ‘Did you know Mr. Escalante? What was it like?'” said Garfield High School Vice Principal Ramiro Robalcaba. “He just inspired students, parents and teachers across the nation.”

Robalcaba graduated from Garfield High School a few years after Escalante left.

Escalante was originally a teacher in Bolivia who immigrated to the U.S. He had to study English at night for years before he could get his California teaching credentials, but when he did, he put them to good use.

“He really put the school on the map. The entire nation knows Garfield High School, and we owe that to him,” Robalcaba said.

This March 9, 1988 file provided by Warner Bros shows actor Edward James Olmos, left, comparing notes with high school teacher Jaime Escalante during the filming of the Warner Bros film Stand And Deliver, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo Warner Bros)

Despite a low-income inner-city student body, Escalante produced some of the best math and science students in the country. He was the inspiration for the “Stand and Deliver,” starring Edward James Olmos.

“He was a good teacher. He got all his students to pass that test. Yeah, he was a good teacher here,” said student Cesar Jauregy.

Parent Tony Perez said he still remembered Escalante’s greatness. His son was one of Escalante’s students who now works as a computer engineer for Hewlett-Packard.

“I called him last night, I told him, and he got really sad because it really changed his whole life,” he said.

Garfield administrators said they have grief counselors on hand to meet with faculty members who worked with Escalante.

Administrators are planning a memorial service for Thursday at 7 a.m. Students, teachers and community members are all invited.

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Statement from President Obama on the Passing of Jaime Escalante

“I was saddened to hear about the passing of Jaime Escalante today. While most of us got to know him through the movie that depicted his work teaching inner-city students calculus, the students whose lives he changed remain the true testament to his life’s work. Throughout his career Jaime opened the doors of success and higher education for his students one by one, and proved that where a person came from did not have to determine how far they could go. He instilled knowledge in his students, but more importantly he helped them find the passion and the will to fulfill their potential. Jaime’s story became famous. But he represented countless, valiant teachers throughout our country whose great works are known only to the young people whose lives they change. Michelle and I offer our condolences to Jaime’s family, and to all those who knew him and whose lives he touched.”

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March For America: Protesters In D.C Demand Immigration Reform

Posted by: Audiegrl

Seven-year-old Luis Leon from Chicago and other protestors participate in a March For America demonstration calling for immigration reform March 21, 2010 in Washington, DC. According to the organizers of the March for America hundreds of groups from almost every state are taking part to march for immigration reform from the National Mall to RFK Stadium. (Photo by Astrid Riecken/Getty Images North America)

AP~Frustrated with the lack of action to overhaul the country’s immigration system, tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied on the National Mall and marched through the streets of the capital Sunday, waving American flags and holding homemade signs in English and Spanish.

Supporters traveled from around the country in hopes the rally would re-energize Congress to take up the volatile issue. Some lawmakers oppose any attempt to help an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants become U.S. citizens while others insist on stronger border controls first.

President Barack Obama, who promised to make overhauling the immigration system a top priority in his first year, sought to reassure those at the rally with a video message presented on giant screens at the National Mall. The president said he was committed to working with Congress this year on a comprehensive bill to fix a “broken immigration system.”

Obama said problems include families being torn apart, employers gaming the system and police officers struggling to keep communities safe.

The president, whose comments were released as he worked to get last-minute votes on a health care overhaul, said he would do everything in his power to forge a bipartisan consensus on immigration reform. The House was expected to vote on the landmark health care legislation late Sunday.

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Latinos Launching Campaign Exposing Tea Party Racism

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Latinos Launching Campaign Exposing Tea Party Racism

Posted by: Audiegrl

Written by Axel W. Caballero

As has been now widely reported by mainstream media, more than 600 people gathered for the first ever Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee on February of 2010. The ‘teabaggers’ reveled as they sat there listening to hateful speech after hateful speech by the likes of their champions Tom Tancredo and Sarah Palin among others. The rhetoric, the signs and the vitriol sounded familiar:

  • President Obama wants to turn the country into a third world country
  • Immigrants are taking over the United States, they must be sent to where they came from
  • This is our nation and we should take it back
  • Make English America’s official language
  • Congress loves Illegals

To the chants of “Take Our Nation Back,” the “teabaggers” turned political speech into a display of incoherent intolerance and racism.

The convention represented the launching point for what has become a full-fledged attack and repudiation of one community in particular: Latinos.

Deep-rooted within the Tea Party ideals is not only the belief that immigrants – along with Latinos in general – are what is inherently wrong with the state of the nation but also a thinly veiled attempt to disguise behind an economic argument a very latent and dangerous prejudice. It is also a calculated political ploy to undermine what is likely to become a powerful block in the upcoming electoral cycle.

Seemingly, Tea Partiers as a group believe they have found their perfect scapegoats. They see in Latinos a fast and easy attack. Thinking, hoping and expecting that the battle will be one way, that the response will be null and that Latinos will not be ready or organized enough to fight back.

Think again.

A new series by the project Cuéntame (tell me) is precisely channeling this Latino anger and frustration through video segments aimed at exposing “teabaggers'” true colors. It features all the racist speeches, the violent words, and actions, letting their predominantly Latino audience judge for themselves whether the Tea Party truly represents a legitimate movement or is yet another example of the intolerance and discrimination Latinos face in today’s society. The “teabaggers Series” as it is being called, also prompts the community to organize and to unite in an effort to fight back against the misconceptions and lies.

Ultimately the message Cuéntame is sending is that if “Tea Partiers” want to target and attack the Latino community through the use of prejudice and flat out racism as a way to advance their political agenda they will not face a silent and dormant opposition.

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President Obama and Secretary Duncan Meet 6th Graders

Posted by: Audiegrl

Speeding Up the Race to the Top

President Barack Obama and Sec. of Education Arne Duncan, right, take questions during a group discussion with 6th grade students at Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, VA. January 19, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama announces a proposed $1.3 billion investment in Race to the Top, a program to encourage innovation and excellence in education through competitive grants, at an event at Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, VA. January 19, 2010.

This morning the President and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan paid a visit to Graham Road Elementary School in Falls Church, Virginia where they had a chat with about 30 6th grade students. The conversation put a face to the people they were trying to help with the President’s latest investment of more than a billion dollars in next year’s budget to amp up the President’s “Race to the Top” program – a competition to incentivize success that has already generated an overwhelming response from states, with over 30 states expected to compete for first-round funding.

You can learn more about Graham Road in the White House background release, but the school made a mark on its community by implementing a comprehensive strategy to turn around student achievement, adopting rigorous and high-quality student assessments, teacher evaluation and professional development, along with innovative and effective use of data systems to track student performance. As a result, in 2008 all of the school’s sixth-graders met Virginia’s reading standards, and 96 percent met math standards, despite being one of the lowest income schools in the county. The expansion of Race to the Top comes with a plan to encourage precisely this kind of visionary change in schools that apply for the challenge.

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In his remarks after the meeting with students, the President explained how it all works, and the logic behind “Race to the Top“:

Last year, we set aside more than $4 billion to improve our schools — one of the largest investments in reform in our nation’s history. But we didn’t just hand this money out to states that wanted it; we challenged them to compete for it. And it’s the competitive nature of this initiative that we believe helps make it so effective. We laid out a few key criteria and said if you meet these tests, we’ll reward you by helping you reform your schools.

First, we encouraged states to adopt more challenging standards that will actually prepare our kids for college and their careers. We also encouraged schools to adopt better assessments — not just one-size-fits-all approaches — to measure what our kids know and what they’re able to do.

Second, we urged schools and school districts to make sure we have excellent principals leading our schools and great teachers leading our classes by promoting rigorous plans to develop and evaluate teachers and principals and by rewarding their success.

Third, we urged states to use cutting-edge data systems to track a child’s progress throughout their academic career, and to link that child’s progress to their teachers so we know what’s working and what’s not working in the classroom. Fourth, we encouraged states to show a stronger commitment to turning around some of their lowest-performing schools.

And even before states have received a single dime of taxpayer money, many of them have committed to instituting important reforms to better position themselves for a Race to the Top grant. Forty-eight states have now joined a nationwide partnership to develop a common set of rigorous, career-ready standards in reading and math. Wisconsin has enacted legislation permitting schools to link student achievement to the performance of teachers and principals. In Illinois, Louisiana, Tennessee, California, we’ve seen changes in laws or policies to let public charter schools expand and succeed. These are public schools with more independence that are formed by teachers, parents, and community members.

So by rewarding some of these states submitting applications today, by extending the Race to the Top for states, by launching a Race to the Top among school districts, and by applying the principles of Race to the Top to other federal programs, we’ll build on this success. We’re going to raise the bar for all our students and take bigger steps towards closing the achievement gap that denies so many students, especially black and Latino students, a fair shot at their dreams.

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Sotomayor’s Opinion Marks the Supreme Court’s First Use of the Term ‘undocumented immigrant.’

Posted by Audiegrl

ThinkProgress.org/Amanda Terkel—Yesterday, the Supreme Court “released its first four decisions in argued cases this term,” including one marking Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s debut.

In an otherwise dry opinion, Justice Sotomayor did introduce one new and politically charged term into the Supreme Court lexicon.

Justice Sotomayor’s opinion in the case, Mohawk Industries v. Carpenter, No. 08-678, marked the first use of the term “undocumented immigrant,” according to a legal database. The term “illegal immigrant” has appeared in a dozen decisions.

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Sotomayor Draws Retort From Fellow Justice Clarance Thomas

New York Times/Adam Liptak—The Supreme Court released its first four decisions in argued cases this term on Tuesday. They were all minor, but one was notable for being Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s Supreme Court debut and for prompting a testy concurrence from Justice Clarence Thomas.

The case concerned whether federal trial-court rulings concerning the lawyer-client privilege may be appealed right away. Justice Sotomayor, with methodical reasoning and a formal writing style, said no.

Justice Sotomayor said that result was dictated by sound policy and was consistent with a law governing appeals.

The decision was unanimous, but Justice Clarence Thomas declined to join the part of Justice Sotomayor’s opinion discussing why the cost of allowing immediate appeals outweighs the possibility that candid communications between lawyers and their clients might be chilled.

In a concurrence, Justice Thomas took a swipe at his new colleague, saying she had “with a sweep of the court’s pen” substituted “value judgments” and “what the court thinks is a good idea” for the text of a federal law.

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If your wondering about that sound your hearing? Don’t worry, it’s just Lou Dobbs’ head exploding. 😉

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Newsman Lou Dobbs Mulls Run for White House, Senate

Posted by Audiegrl

Reuters/Tim Gaynor—A week after abruptly quitting his longtime job as a CNN television news host and commentator, Lou Dobbs said on Thursday he is considering career options including possible runs for the White House or U.S. Senate.

Right now I feel exhilaration at the wide range of choices before me as to what I do next,” Dobbs, whose outspoken views on immigration and other topics often angered liberals, told Reuters in a telephone interview from New York on Thursday.

Dobbs, 64, a veteran CNN anchor who had become one of the most divisive figures in U.S. broadcast journalism, announced last Wednesday he was leaving CNN after spending the better part of 30 years at the 24-hour cable news network.

He still hosts a daily radio show.

Protesters In Lou Dobbs Masks

Protesters In Lou Dobbs Masks

A Texas native, Dobbs has drawn fire from Latino leaders and civil rights groups for frequent on-air remarks about U.S. border control and immigration that critics saw as demonizing illegal immigrants.

He was also seen as lending credence to the “birther” conspiracy theory, whose adherents believe President Barack Obama’s Hawaiian birth certificate was faked to hide a Kenyan birthplace that would make the first black U.S. president ineligible for his office.

Dobbs acknowledged his commentary also stirred friction with CNN executives.

–snip–

Dobbs vowed to carry on expressing his views “fully and straightforwardly in the public arena no matter what I decide to do next.”

Since his departure, some have speculated he might run as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in New Jersey, where he has a home, or even run as a third-party candidate in the 2012 U.S. presidential elections — options he says remain on the table.

I am ruling nothing out. … I have come to no conclusions and no decisions,” he said. “Do I seek to have some influence on public policy? Absolutely. Do I seek to represent and champion the middle class in this country and those who aspire to it? Absolutely. And I will.”

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The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart Interviews Lou Dobbs

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