Archive for September, 2011

New College Board Report: Latino College Completion Rate at Only 19.2%, National at 41.1%

Friday, September 30th, 2011

(PRNewswire) Despite an important demographic shift across the United States, a limited proportion of Latinos are earning college degrees. While Latino youth now represent the largest minority group in K—12 U.S. schools and are the fastest-growing segment of students, Latino college completion stands at just 19.2 percent – far below the national average of 41.1 percent.  

These are just some of the findings from a new report released today by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center at an event at Miami Dade College (MDC), the institution of higher education awarding more degrees to minorities than any other in the U.S. College Board President and former West Virginia Gov. Gaston Caperton, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and MDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padron were on-hand to discuss this critical issue. The College Completion Agenda Progress Report 2011: Latino Edition and The College Completion Agenda Progress Report 2011:  State Policy Guide – developed in collaboration with the National Council of La Raza and Excelencia in Education – are especially relevant given the need for these students to obtain postsecondary degrees if our nation is to thrive socially and economically.

"We have a challenge as a nation to become number one again in college completion. We cannot reach this goal without increasing the college completion rate of Latinos," said Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board.  "This study demonstrates that our students' ability to succeed directly impacts our nation's ability to thrive economically and socially."

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Obama pushes back on immigration policy criticism from Latinos

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

(Washington Post) As he seeks to rekindle support among Hispanic voters, President Obama pushed back Wednesday against criticism over his administration’s deportation policies for illegal immigrants.

Obama was asked several tough questions about his administration’s performance during a roundtable forum with Latino reporters sponsored by HuffPost LatinoVoices and AOL Latino.

Eventually, the president grew frustrated when Gabriel Lerner, an editor at Huffington Post, asked a question that had been submitted by an AOL user from New York City who wondered about the slow progress on the DREAM Act.

That proposal, which as not passed Congress, would provide conditional permanent residency to illegal immigrant students who graduate from U.S. schools and fulfill other requirements.

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Barack Obama speech reopens rift with black critics

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

(Politico) It was a speech intended to be a rousing call to arms for his 2012 re-election campaign and his jobs bill.

But when President Barack Obama told a gala dinner of the Congressional Black Caucus over the weekend that it was time to “stop complaining, stop grumbling, stop crying” and get to work, he instead gave new ammunition to some prominent African American critics who say the nation’s first black president gets tough only when he’s talking to other black people.

Three of the most prominent of them – Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Princeton professor Cornel West and talk show host Tavis Smiley – all criticized the speech, with Smiley setting the tone with his question: “How does he get away with saying this to black folk?”

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Did immigrants take most of the new jobs in Texas?

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

(Washington Post) Did immigrants take the vast majority of new jobs in Texas? That’s the claim coming from the Center for Immigration Studies, an advocacy group for immigration reduction.

A new CIS research memo concludes that 81 percent of the jobs created in Texas since 2007 have gone to newly arrived immigrant workers—93 percent of whom aren’t US citizens and half of whom are illegal immigrants. The authors based their analysis on the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, and their conclusions have gained particular traction as attacks have mounted against Rick Perry’s immigration record. “Should Rick Perry be bragging about a job creation record if 40 percent went to illegal immigrants?” writes the National Review.

But Ray Perryman, head of an economics research firm based in Waco, Texas, argues that the paper has significant methodological problems, calling the eye-popping numbers in the study “highly suspect.” Perryman who has closely studied the economic impact of immigration in Texas and elsewhere, raises three basic questions about the study.

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The United States Can Learn A Lot From Hispanics If Given The Opportunity

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

(Huffington Post) Earlier this year, I was invited by Mayor Villaraigosa's office to attend LA's Best Hosted a Panel Discussion Event with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in Los Angeles in support of the campaign that is focused on inspiring people of color (and in particular Latinos) to consider teaching as a profession. Panelists also included Los Angeles, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, John Legend, Oscar de la Hoya and others.

While the panel discussion was inspiring, it was quite disappointing to watch Secretary Duncan struggle to answer questions from Latino high school students who wanted to hear the honest truth about their future. Instead, these students heard a confused, unacculturated leader who was disconnected with the realities of what Hispanics are faced with in the US. It was clear that Secretary Duncan lacked an understanding of the pain that Latinos are feeling in their schools, in society and in the workplace. But he is not totally at fault. Our own Hispanic community has not been effective at educating our government leaders. Secretary Duncan's lack of understanding is the same that exists amongst C-Level executives in America's Corporations.

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Acknowledging the hard-hit African American community

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

( Acknowledging the hard-hit African American community and budding criticisms in its ranks, President Barack Obama said in a speech to the Congressional Black Caucus that he wouldn't give up and urged members of the African American community to join him to jump-start the still sluggish economy.

He continues to say; "I expect all of you to march with me, and press on. Stop complaining, stop grumbling, and stop crying. We are going to press on. We've got work to do."

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate amongst African-Americans continues to be 16.7%, almost doubled that of the national average.  Also, approximately 40% of African-Americans children live in poverty. These facts have made fiscal reforms a priority for members of the Black Caucus, some of whom are mostly Democrats and have criticized the President for not doing enough.

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UC Berkeley student senators respond to bake sale

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

(SFGate) UC Berkeley student senators voted Sunday to condemn discriminatory behavior on campus – even if done in satire – in response to a Republican student group's plans for an "Increase Diversity Bake Sale," with pastries labeled according to race and gender.

The 19-0 vote, with one absence, came during a special meeting of the Associated Students of the University of California, as the debate over affirmative action reignited in Berkeley.

"Sure, it came off as discrimination," said Francisco Loayza IV, the treasurer of the Republican group, at Sunday's meeting. "People are being judged by their skin color (in affirmative action policies). I don't want to be judged because I'm brown. Look past the prices, and see what we're trying to do."

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Obama makes potentially historic pick for 9th Circuit

Monday, September 26th, 2011

(McClatchy) Senate Republicans balked the last time President Barack Obama nominated an Asian American from California to a prominent bench seat, which some conservatives considered a stepping stone to the Supreme Court.

Now, with the nomination of Los Angeles-based U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Hong-Ngoc Nguyen to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Obama and GOP lawmakers will get another chance to either fight or reconcile over a potentially historic appointment.

"I look forward to a speedy confirmation by the Senate," Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said.

In the current political climate, this might be wistful thinking.

Obama's prior choice for the 9th Circuit, then-law professor Goodwin Liu, saw his nomination languish under a GOP wet blanket for some 15 months before he withdrew last May. Ninety-two federal judiciary vacancies remain, including 17 on appellate courts.

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In NHL, subtle forms of racism linger

Monday, September 26th, 2011

(Globe and Mail) If the people who expressed all that outrage in the social and mainstream media over the banana-tossing in London, Ont., really believe it was an isolated act by a lone racist moron and not indicative of a greater problem in hockey then they are greatly mistaken.

Granted, unlike the ugliness of someone throwing a banana at a black player such as Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers, there is almost no direct racism in the National Hockey League these days. But racism in the NHL is far more subtle, just as it is in a wider society like Canada.

In more than 25 years of covering the NHL, I have seen plenty of evidence it exists with precious little of it in the open. The worst examples were a popular, likeable head coach who routinely used the n-word in bar conversations, and an elderly Hall of Famer who occasionally wrote me letters complaining about the state of today’s game. His diatribes contained more than a few anti-Semitic references to the current NHL leadership.

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Racially Charged Bake Sale Sparks Student Outrage

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

(Newser) "White/Caucasian" pastries: $2. "Black/African American" pastries: 75 cents. "Native American" pastries: only a quarter. Such is the pricing scheme for a sarcastic "Increase Diversity Bake Sale" posted on Facebook by a Republican group at UC Berkeley, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Planned for Tuesday, the sale has sparked anger on campus for its snarky opposition to a bill that would let California universities consider ethnicity in student admissions. "If you don't come, you're a racist," the post says.

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