From the Houston Chronicle: Juan Luis Zelaya, an undocumented immigrant from Honduras, is running for student body president of Texas A&M. After coming to the US at age 14, "Zelaya earned a bachelor's degree from A&M in December and led the invocation at the graduation ceremony. He aspires to teach, but can't because of his immigration status. He enrolled in January as a graduate student at A&M seeking a master's degree in curriculum and instruction, specializing in English as a Second Language."
Huffington Post: Frederick County, MD has established English as its official language. "In a 4-1 vote on Tuesday night, Frederick County commissioners approved the English-only measure that would bar any foreign language from being used in government documents but would make exceptions in instances where there are public health and safety concerns and for tourism and trade." The president of the commissioners board of the county suggested that it would deter illegal immigration. More likely, he's interested in deterring anyone who isn't a monolingual English speaker. The commissioners were inspired by the work of ProEnglish, an English-only advocacy organization.
Good story from NPR describing how the Republican presidential candidates have been open to limited Dream Act provisions that provide a path for immigrant children who were brought to the U.S. when they were very young children. The full DREAM Act (which is an acronym standing for "Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors" -- weird name) provides paths to undocumented youths aged 35 and under if they either serve in the military or go to college. Republican candidates Romney and Santorum are hardline and would only permit the military route, which severely constraints the intent of the DREAM Act as "many fewer would qualify for the military because of its strict educational and English-language requirements."
In separate stories, the Huffington Post reports that a federal judge delayed a ruling on the constitutionality of Utah's immigration law, which, like the Arizona law, allows police to check the documentation status of essentially anyone they wish. The judge ruled that he would "make a decision in a few days as to whether he will rule on the case or keep a temporary injunction in place until after courts rule on a similar law in Arizona." Meanwhile, across the country in Georgia, Education Week reports that "A trio of Republican state senators has sponsored legislation that would bar illegal immigrants from attending Georgia state colleges and universities and would tweak some other state laws having to do with illegal immigration."
The Huffington Post: A new documentary that highlights 4 videos of Alabamians discussion the consequences of HB 56 is now up at isthisalabama.org. The documentary represents "a collaboration between the Center for American Progress, America's Voice and Define American, all organizations that support comprehensive immigration reform -- men and women in Alabama talk about how HB 56 has impacted them since it was signed into law last summer."
In response to the amazing and somewhat haunting acts of the Arizona state educational establishment, the website for the Network of Teacher Activist Groups (www.teacheractivistgroups.org) has been established, with a clear inspiration: that " education is essential to the preservation of civil and human rights and is a tool for human liberation. In alignment with these beliefs, TAG is proud to coordinate No History is Illegal, a month of solidarity work in support of Tucson’s Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program."
Tuscon Citizen: "Last year, Alabama surpassed Arizona in imposing tough measures targeting illegal immigration by passing a law that does everything Senate Bill 1070 does and more.This year, some Republican Arizona lawmakers hope to reclaim the reputation for having the toughest illegal-immigration laws in the nation.
Lawmakers have revived legislation that would require school districts to document the number of illegal-immigrant children in public schools and require hospital staff to report illegal immigrants seeking care."
Now that the Obama Administration has begun to grant waivers from some of the most troublesome components of the decade-old No Child Left Behind Act (see EdWeek), one wonders what it means for real change. Ten states now don't have to show that 100% of kids are proficient in reading and math by 2014, but in Massachusetts and Florida (two of the states granted waivers), the MCAS and FCAT tests still rule, the arts have been particularly decimated in our urban schools, and rich curricular choices at many high schools have been replaced with MCAS/FCAT test prep courses. So far, all we seem to be hearing (hear NPR story) is that states will use those tests in growth models rather than cross-sectional ones. Maybe it's real relief, but doesn't seem like a huge change in a general testing mentality.
It's been debated for quite some time whether and how the language(s) we speak influence our thoughts and actions. Now, thanks to the miracle of open publishing, M. Kieth Chen of Yale University argues that languages affect our ability to save money, quit smoking, and even lose weight. From Big Think, Chen's "analysis suggests that if your language's syntax blurs the difference between today and tomorrow (as do, say, Chinese and German) then you are more likely to save money, quit smoking, exercise and otherwise prepare for times to come. On the other hand, if you have three dollars in your IRA and a big credit-card balance, it's a safer bet you speak English or Hausa or Greek or some other language that forces speakers to distinguish present from future."
From FoxNewsLatino: Mitt Romney has made a very strong statement in naming former California governor Pete Wilson chair of his California presidential campaign. Wilson was governor in California and presided over the passage of Proposition 187, arguably the seed that has germinated into more recent immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama. Not that a Republican will win California in the general election anyway, but I'd guess that Romney is underestimating how very unpopular this will make him with the Latino community.