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K-12 public-school teachers spent an average of $530 of their own money in the previous year for classroom or student use. And teachers in high-poverty schools spent nearly 40 percent more than their peers elsewhere. 

 Last week, I spent about $2 on a tube of ChapStick lip balm for one of my students who showed up to school with a mouth so dry and cracked that his bottom lip was bloody.

[OP-ED]: Documentary ‘Elián’ Brings Back Painful Memories for Cubans

 06/06/2017 - 16:28
Elián nació en Cárdenas, una tranquila ciudad costera tres horas al este de La Habana. Y yo también. Solo para sumar otro elemento de coincidencia, mi hermano menor, que vive en Miami y es médico, también se llama Elián. Foto: Cibercuba

“Elián,” a recently released documentary about the saga of Elián González, the little Cuban castaway that became a worldwide cause célèbre 17 years ago, is bringing back painful memories of the Cold War-induced bitter political battle between South Florida Cuban-Americans and Cubans on the island. At a time when President Trump seems poised to reverse Barack Obama’s measures and go back to a Cuba policy of hostility and irrationality, the film becomes even more distressing.

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Electing a new president won't solve Mexico's problems, writer Diego Osorno says

 05/26/2017 - 03:12
Mexican journalist Diego Osorno in Tijuana, Mexico on May 24, 2017. EFE/Alejandro Zepeda

The 36-year-old journalist made his remarks in the border city of Tijuana, where he presented the latest edition of his book "Oaxaca sitiada" (Besieged Oaxaca). He first wrote the work a decade ago to tell the story of a 2006 uprising in that impoverished, largely Indian-populated state against then-Gov. Ulises Ruiz.

Plain Text Author: 
EFE

[OP-ED]: Our Education, Born from Swamps

 05/15/2017 - 15:27
In lower income neighborhoods, students can struggle without access to proper educational materials, exposure, and parental poverty. 

The story of education in lower income neighborhoods is an all too familiar one. The struggle to obtain a stable education is a story of overcoming conditions that are less than favorable, much like the swamp plant. What is causing these students, especially Latinos, to fall behind? How can they grow from these meager and impoverished conditions?  

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[OP-ED]: The importance of minority teachers in our schools

 04/27/2017 - 14:30
According to a new statistical analysis by the U.S. Department of Education, even though minority teachers remain underrepresented, both the number and proportion of minority teachers in elementary and high schools grew by 104 percent between 1987-88 and 2011-12, compared with 38 percent growth in the number of white teachers.

Black teachers make a difference.

I know because I attended a prestigious college-preparatory public high school in the heart of Chicago where approximately half of the teachers were black. They included my AP Biology teacher and AP English teacher, several of my art teachers, one of my history teachers, a chemistry teacher -- and probably many more I’m forgetting in the haze of the past quarter-century.

Plain Text Author: 
Esther Cepeda

[OP-ED]: La importancia de los maestros de minorías en nuestras escuelas

 04/27/2017 - 14:27
Según un nuevo análisis estadístico del Departamento de Educación de Estados Unidos, aunque los maestros de minorías siguen sub-representados, tanto el número como la proporción de los maestros de minorías en la escuela elemental y secundaria crecieron en un 104 por ciento entre 1987-88 y 2011-12, comparado con un crecimiento de un 38 por ciento de los maestros blancos. 

Los maestros negros son un factor importante.

Lo sé porque asistí a una prestigiosa escuela secundaria pública en el corazón de Chicago, donde aproximadamente la mitad de los profesores eran negros. Entre ellos, mi profesor de Biología AP e Inglés AP, varios de mis profesores de Arte, uno de mis profesores de Historia, un profesor de Química—y probablemente muchos otros que no recuerdo en la bruma de un cuarto de siglo.

Plain Text Author: 
Esther Cepeda

Who wants to study Spanish in Philadelphia?

 03/28/2017 - 16:30
María Paredes Fernández, profesora de español en Penn University, fue nominada el año pasado como “mejor profesora de español de EEUU”, por la Asociación Americana de Profesores de Español y Portugués (AATSP). Foto: Peter Fitzpatrick

The Hispanic immigrant community has played a fundamental role in the growth of the city in the last decade. In the streets it is more and more common to hear conversations held in Spanish. However, it seems that this important trend is not reflected in universities. Why? A general crisis in the study of the humanities would be the answer. AL DÍA News spoke with professors from three of the most prominent universities in the city.

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[OP-ED]: Racism and the Trump effect at the high school where I teach

 02/28/2017 - 15:06
A small group of Mexicans and Americans demonstrated today in two parts of the Mexican capital for the visit to the country by US Secretaries of State, Rex Tillerson, and Interior Security, John Kelly, where they declared through banners "Persona non grata" to the secretaries, an official visit in Mexico, and urged them to stop the hatred, racism and ignorance shown so far by the policies of President Donald Trump. EFE

My two sons used to come home from a day at high school complaining that ludicrous accusations of racism were as common as the desks in the classrooms. I chalked it up to adolescent exaggeration.

After having spent the current academic year as a teacher surrounded by rowdy high-schoolers, I can attest that they were right.

In the hallways, at assemblies, in my classroom, “That’s racist!” was a common refrain for most of the early fall.

Plain Text Author: 
Esther Cepeda

[OP-ED]: Don’t tell your children that you’re not good at math

 02/09/2017 - 08:07
We carry emotional baggage about our own schooling, relationships with our parents and their expectations. This is layered over the hopes and dreams we have for our own kids, making it challenging to always be positive and constructive.
 
 

There is an emerging education trend I’ve noticed that will hopefully sweep the nation: Asking the adults in children’s lives to not bad-mouth themselves about math.

The first time I noticed it was several years ago at an orientation for parents at my younger son’s new middle school. The principal was trying to explain that the math standards on the statewide achievement test were going up and that it might be noticeable in work that was coming home at night.

Plain Text Author: 
Esther Cepeda

[OP-ED]: Helping kids handle the ‘Trump Effect’ in our nation’s schools

 01/24/2017 - 14:13

In North Carolina, a high school teacher said she has “Latino students who carry their birth certificates and Social Security cards to school because they are afraid they will be deported.”
 

A new study by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights advocacy organization, says that more than two-thirds of 2,000 teachers surveyed reported students -- mainly immigrants, children of immigrants and Muslims -- expressing concerns or fears about what might happen to them or their families during a Trump presidency.

Since the election, more than half of teachers have seen an increase in uncivil political discourse in their schools or classrooms, and more than one-third report having observed an increase in anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant sentiment.

Plain Text Author: 
Esther Cepeda

[OP-ED]: Who’s hoarding the American Dream?

 07/18/2017 - 15:54
“Upper-middle-class parents have the means to spend two to three times more time with their preschool children than less affluent parents,” he wrote. He also excoriated “the structural ways the well-educated rig the system” -- mainly restrictive zoning and easier college admissions, including legacy preferences. impakter.com

To hear Richard Reeves tell it, the upper middle class is fast becoming the bane of American society. Its members have entrenched themselves just below the top 1 percent and protect their privileged position through public policy and private behavior. Americans cherish the belief that they live in a mobile society, where hard work and imagination are rewarded. The upper middle class is destroying this faith, because it’s impeding poorer Americans from getting ahead.