May 6, 2011
Esther J. Cepeda
Stories this photo appears in:
Under the old standards of evaluation systems, 99 percent of teachers were routinely deemed to be “effective,” regardless of student achievement.
CHICAGO -- February was Freak Out Month, errr, I mean, FAFSA Month. But, hey, same thing. And March is hardly better.. If the mere mention of FAFSA -- the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which most colleges and universities use as the universal form for determining financial aid eligibility
Back when I was oblivious about what went on in underperforming public schools, I had fanciful notions that the key to encouraging social mobility was college access.
CHICAGO -- Judging by news coverage of the nation's fastest growing ethnic minority, you'd think that "the Hispanic condition" was a pathology. With the exception of growing power in the voting booth, the news makes it seem as though we're all poor, sick and generally unable to cope with life
Still no middle ground in immigration war. CHICAGO -- To some, the handful of calls for amnesty for illegal immigrants in the days after Republicans were rebuked at the voting booth momentarily made it seem as though a bipartisan immigration reform was but a mere formality. The GOP, the notion
CHICAGOAn intelligently written -- and roundly criticized -- column by Hannah Weinberger caught my attention the other day.. Posted on CNN.com, "Where are all the millennial feminists?" delved into the question of why so many women -- even ones outside the author's stated age range of 18-29 -- cringe
CHICAGO -- With but a few weeks until Election Day, now is as good a time as any to review some recent headlines about the Latino vote.. In early September, Emmy Award-winning actress America Ferrera gave attendees at a Democratic National Convention forum a hard-core reality check.. "It
CHICAGO -- I love Big Bird.. We go way back, as far into my childhood as I can remember. Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, and the crew at Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood were among the first who ever spoke to me in English.. Oh, there were others: Tennessee Tuxedo and Chumley
CHICAGO -- As America moves toward closing the digital divide by helping equip even the most impoverished schools with laptops, PCs, tablet computers and iPods, let us ponder the dawning of a new kind of gulf that's not based on lack of technology but the inability to use it meaningfully
CHICAGO -- If you believe the headlines, President Barack Obama has gotten back into the good graces of Latino voters by deferring the deportation of tens of thousands of young people.
CHICAGO -- I recently ran across a delightful campaign-style button that read: "I could be illegal." And it's true -- I could be.
CHICAGO -- It's commencement speech season, the time of year when sage elders pass on bits of wisdom to graduating college students ready to rip their mortar boards off and go change the world. But I'll tell you who really needs the wisdom to tackle post-college life: high school juniors.
CHICAGO -- I'll infuriate all the nanny-state haters out there, but I must say that I love it that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has suggested banning giant sugary drinks. Too bad the idea is a complete loser.
CHICAGO -- There are two kinds of people in the world: those who get inspired by a challenge and those who interpret it as an insult.
CHICAGO -- Mitt Romney passed up a golden opportunity last week to take a meaningful step toward making inroads with the Latino community by proving he's not harshly anti-immigrant. He blew it.
CHICAGO -- When you live in a school district where 64 percent of the students come from low-income homes and budgets have been squeezed to death, every official school communication has the potential to ruin your day. So it went when I read a letter from my youngest son's school informing us we're getting a new principal next year.
CHICAGO -- This far outside the Beltway, it's easy to see why regular people are so put off by politics -- our endless 24/7 stream of dysfunctional statecraft has become so toxic that it is even making politicians sick.
CHICAGO -- If there's any societal group today responsible for the future well-being of our nation that isn't being held accountable enough, it's parents.
The jobs situation is no better than when the DREAM Act failed.
CHICAGO -- Are you the least bit surprised that simply irrigating the nation's so-called "food deserts" with more fresh fruits and vegetables doesn't result in healthier communities?
CHICAGO -- A few weeks ago, a senior at one of the local high schools asked me: What should I do? Scrape by and go to college here only to hit a brick wall once I'm looking for a real job, or just start working under the table now? With kindness and sincerity, I told the Mexican native: Go south, young woman.
CHICAGO -- Will Latinos actually have an impact on the 2012 elections? And will the Republican Party's hard line on illegal immigration drive Latino voters into the waiting arms of the incumbent deporter in chief? I'm beyond tired of seeing these questions all over the news. They're the wrong questions.
CHICAGO -- Let me apologize for the language I'm about to employ in this column. It's not every day that I feel so strongly about something that I have to use so many controversial words with the potential to offend. Here goes: dinosaurs, pepperoni and, steel yourself -- birthday!
CHICAGO -- Back in the mid-1700s, German immigrants were the bane of my favorite founding father, Benjamin Franklin, who believed they'd never assimilate into the predominant culture of the time.
CHICAGO -- Folks, I hate to break it to you, but even though it seems to have been grinding on for years already, this presidential election is on pace to drag on forever. Why? One word: enthusiasm -- a serious lack of it.
CHICAGO -- Hadia Zarzour's mental outlook has steadily deteriorated from excited hopefulness about her future into an anxiety-fueled countdown over her pending return to her Syrian homeland.
CHICAGO -- Wasteful, senseless and cruel. How better to describe the ridiculous battle that Felipe Montes is waging to be reunited with his three U.S.-born children?
Everyone has a guilty pleasure and mine is Will Ferrell. Ferrell is starring in a Spanish-language American comedy called "Casa de Mi Padre" -- "House of My Father" -- opening nationwide this week.
CHICAGO -- Every few months, a handful of education reform advocates push the idea that the public education system's woes could be fixed if only there were more black or Hispanic teachers in classrooms.
Immigrant youth activists are ceasing to highlight only the very best and brightest -- straight-A student emblems of perfection -- in relation to the DREAM Act.
Just show us respect. Time magazine's March 5 edition is barrier-breaking, according to Richard Stengel, the managing editor. In his "Editor's Desk" letter to readers he wrote, "For the first time in our history, we have a Spanish sentence as our cover line: Yo decido. I decide.". Ugh.
Is the sky falling for minority students because the Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case seeking an end to using race as a preferential college admissions factor? Not necessarily.
CHICAGO—Let's get something straight: Latinos are not anti-Israel, despite what you may have heard on the Internet or in emailed newsletters.
CHICAGO — Here I am less than a week from my annual memorial to the daughter I lost at birth and I can't help but defend Rick Santorum's recent statements about prenatal testing being a gateway to abortion. Though I'm pro-choice, Santorum is not so off the mark.
CHICAGO — My sons are aghast at what we call the new "Lady Legos." So am I.
During one of the Republican debates in Florida, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney agreed that the only way they'd support the DREAM Act is to take out the educational component in favor of the military option. It's unfair and cruel.
Does your blood boil at the idea that a candidate for political office can be denied a spot on a ballot because of the inability to speak perfect English? Or does the boiling commence when someone suggests that elected officials don't need to be proficient in the English language?
All eyes are on Florida because it's the first primary where Latino voters can have a significant impact on the presidential contest. Expect it to offer meaningful predictions for future elections because the Latino vote in Florida is evolving quickly.Conventional wisdom says that Florida's Hispanic Republican vote is composed of
Forget the made-up controversy about whether Jodi Kantor's new book, "The Obamas," makes the first lady come off as an "angry black woman" -- the author's meticulously reported portrayal is a love letter to the wife-in-chief.
CHICAGOThe Latino community is finding itself in a quandary about how to reconcile a tremendously diverse collection of immigrants and multigenerational U.S.-born citizens who can fall anywhere on the socioeconomic map from dirt poor to super rich.
A recent study shows surprising data: Our nation's low-income public school students don't know how to ask for help.
Three days after Jaime Gonzalez Jr., a 15-year-old Brownsville, Texas, resident, was killed by police in his middle-school hallway after refusing to drop what looked like a Glock semi-automatic handgun, my son and his friend had a pistol leveled at them by a classmate.
CHICAGOHere it is again, National Best Intentions Week -- that's how I describe the first few days of the new year when resolutions are still exciting and every workout place in the country is bursting with people who have promised themselves a Speedo body by summer.Since it is a time
CHICAGOAs I look back on 2011, I'd say the most memorable headlines concerning Hispanics fell under the "made us look bad" category. As in, I saw a negative news story attached to someone with a Latino surname and thought "Why, oh why, did the perpetrator have to be 'one of
CHICAGO — 'Tis the season to be crabby! I'm not kidding -- this has turned out to be the grumpiest, most anxiety-ridden holiday season ever.
Here's a perfect example of why do-gooders who crusade for the personal dignity of illegal immigrants have all but lost the war of rhetoric.In November, the American Heritage Dictionary added the term "anchor baby" to its new fifth edition. The entry read: "A child born to a noncitizen mother
Schools go overboard on 'inappropriate'. What happens when adults live in a world drenched in sexual innuendo, double entendre and sexually provocative media images? Children are inadvertently sexualized and become objects of suspicion.. Case in point: 7-year-old Mark Curran, a Boston first-grader, was recently accused of sexual
Gingrich's tightrope walk on the immigration issue. CHICAGOMoments after the last Republican presidential candidate debate ended, the ever-breathless blogosphere started wondering if Newt Gingrich was making a play for the Latino vote with his controversial remarks about being humane to America's 11 million illegal immigrants.Of course he was. Gingrich
I read voraciously. Two local and two national newspapers cover-to-cover and dozens of websites daily, most of what my Twitter timeline feeds me, and stacks of weekly and monthly news magazines. How do I unwind?
Immigration's growing pains a positive. CHICAGOIf there's anything good to be said about the substance of the national debate over immigration, it's that even though policy conversations have centered almost exclusively on enforcement measures, the focus is no longer cultural.Back in 2005 when the Hispanic community went into revolt after
Ostrich factor doesn't serve vs. childhood obesity issue. CHICAGOIt would be nice to say that it's shocking that a mere five days after the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommended that children between the ages of 9 and 11 get tested for high cholesterol, Congress blocked what would have
If you are committed to the rule of law, if you expect your government to work in a cohesive and cost-effective manner, and even if you're strongly against illegal immigration -- here are 5,100 reasons to be outraged at how immigration laws are being enforced.
With less than a year until Election Day 2012, candidates for political office should be making sure they're not neglecting the most affluent, independent and now the fastest growing racial group of voters simply because they have routinely been overlooked in past
CHICAGO -- Doesn't it drive you crazy when elected officials say they're going to do something and then don't? Worse is when they kinda-sorta do something to pretend they've made an impact, as if no one's going to notice that they really haven't.
Those pesky student loans. CHICAGO -- Fundamentally, American society doesn't value a college education as the necessary prerequisite to gaining knowledge or becoming a responsible citizen. Instead, it is promoted as the guaranteed means to gainful employment.. In fact, the value of a college education is dropping so much that
Book a scary, sad look at Obama's term. CHICAGOIt's only October, but I have a nomination for the scariest book of 2011 -- maybe the saddest, too.I've rarely read a book that punched me in the gut quite like "Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington and the Education of a President"
CHICAGO — I grew up bilingual in a city where as many as 64 languages were spoken by the public schools' diverse student body. And like everyone else in our nation of immigrants, I've navigated language-barrier challenges such as difficulty communicating with new American co-workers and taking college courses taught
Pre-teen beauty pageants have crossed way over the line.
Half the United States will be obese by 2030 unless government interventions -- making healthy foods cheaper, junk food more expensive, and regulating the marketing of unhealthy foods -- are put in place, according to a report in the Lancet, a British medical journal.At the
Our immigration quandary: States can't act, feds won't. CHICAGO --In the most recent example of sending mixed signals about illegal immigration, a federal judge has temporarily blocked Alabama's far-ranging new immigration law, which is widely seen as tougher and more cruel than the infamous "papers, please" one that Arizona
Finally, two experts had the courage to state the obvious: Parents who let their children become obese enough to suffer from serious medical complications are committing child abuse.
CHICAGO — Finally, two experts had the courage to state the obvious: Parents who let their children become obese enough to suffer from serious medical complications are committing child abuse.
The London Evening Standard called it a triumph of nerve and talent. The Financial Times' Clement Crisp, who's seen just about everything in his near-80 years, said it was an amazing sight.
Most people fantasize about winning the lottery. And then there are those who don't hope and pray after buying their weekly round of tickets -- they plan.
High school seniors have gotten another grim report card in civics. According to the recently released 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 64 percent of public school students who are either voting age, or close to it, have only a partial understanding of the rights and duties of citizenship in America’s constitutional democracy.
Hug a mother or grandmother extra tight this Sunday because no amount of pink carnations and chocolate can possibly make up for how tough moms have it in this country.
"Boobs." I hate that word.
While headlines distract us with the latest battles in various states over immigration, we should be checking in with what’s going on at the federal level. And what better time than the run-up to the 2012 presidential election?
CHICAGO — In a world where everyone is considered special and believes themselves to be, like the residents of Garrison Keillor’s fictitious Lake Wobegon — strong, good-looking and above average — I’m striving for ordinary, general, and mainstream.
Across the country, cities and states are reconsidering their traditional roles as local competitors and banding together to overcome shrinking budgets and crumbling economies. Their hope is that regional planning efforts will enable them to carve out a shared future through a new knowledge economy.