Immigrant Children from Central America – for your information.

The message below comes from La Red, an international list on social justice and Latino issues.  This message was provided by Roberto Vasquez on June 28, 2014. Also see



When we look at migrants, we see our nation’s history.  Although we Texans are a diverse lot, we have all been moved by the plight of the desperate young mothers and vulnerable teenagers arriving our border in recent weeks. Public comments, however, reflect a worrisome lack of information. First, we must understand that these new immigrants are not criminals. They are war refugees fleeing the brutal drug wars in their homelands. The cartels of Central America and Mexico have long targeted local adolescents to work for them, and resistance results in death. If we read the statistics, a 15-year-old boy in Honduras would in fact be safer in Syria. Worse yet, the kind of femicide we saw in Juarez, Mexico, is now the norm for women in Central America as well. Parents are sending their children north on the nightmarish train ride because there is no alternative. We are prohibited by international law from returning people to a country where they face persecution or torture. This is not a knee-jerk nicety. After all, sending the refugee boat back to Nazi Germany is not one of our more shining moments. There are, however, reasonable solutions. One immediate and time-tested approach would be to grant Temporary Protected Status to persons in danger of harm by the narco-cartels. This would allow the refugees to work to support themselves and remain safe for a few years, when their situation can be re-evaluated. We have done this successfully before. Likewise we should not be shy about calling in the United Nations or the Red Cross to assist us. We must also get over the idea that “outsiders” are a bad thing for our country. It’s a pretty silly position for anyone except Native Americans. The Puritans were religious refugees, and most colonists were fleeing either persecution or poverty. Devastating wars and natural disasters brought continuing waves of newcomers, including my father, who was then 11. They survived, thrived, and contributed. This is our national heritage. People who were safe, wealthy and happy in the Old World had no motive to mosey over here. Last, many people urge that we increase financial aid to these countries and help establish a more democratic society with a stronger economy. That won’t work. We Americans are the drug consumers, and we spend a pretty penny on these ugly habits. There will always be drug lords as long as we are paying. Importantly, we must remember our own disturbing historical role. The people of Central America worked valiantly for basic labor rights, racial equality and educational programs. They were brutally put down by military dictatorships backed by the United States. Declassified documents indicate that in Guatemala, the CIA helped to carry out a bloody military coup in 1954 to oust just such a reformist president. We then continued to fund an army that carried out a well-documented campaign of genocide against its own citizenry. Some of the bloodiest military officers became involved in the drug trade early on. The Zetas who now terrorize us on the border were armed and trained by Guatemalan Kaibiles, who were in turn armed and trained by, well, us. My husband, a Mayan resistance leader, was tortured to death in Guatemala in the 1990s. One of his torturers, Col. Julio Roberto Alpirez, appears on the DEA’s corrupt officer list, but was long permitted to reside in the U.S. After all, as public records indicate, he also worked as a paid informant for the CIA. Apparently that puts him and others off limits. HARBURY IS A FORMER AUSTINITE, WHO IS NOW AN ATTORNEY IN WESLACO.

Tuesday, May 6, 4 PM. When the Mask Comes Off Documentary Premiere and Community Discussion

“When the Mask Comes Off”

Video Premiere and Discussion

Tuesday May 6, 2014- 4:00pm to 6:00pm

YDI Wool Warehouse

516 1st Street NW, Albuquerque, NM

We are honored to partner with Generation Justice on the premiere showing of their latest video documentary, “When the Mask Comes Off” on TUESDAY, May 6th. The film is a powerful video documentary featuring six young people from New Mexico candidly discussing their experiences living with mental illness. A discussion about how we can best support the mental and behavioral health of young people will follow the film.

I will be attending, and I am writing to ask you to consider attending as a member of the Task Force. We want to have a strong showing on Tuesday, and we have committed to at least 10 members from our organization to attend for the premiere and discussion.

Let’s support the youth and leadership of Generation Justice who do such a great job giving young people a voice.

Here is a link to the trailer,, A flier is attached.

For questions and to RSVP call 505-277-1831 (and let them know you are with the Latino Education Task Force)

Thank you,

Diane Torres-Velásquez,

Latino Education Task Force

Education Law Center: States with Most Unequal Funding Won RTTT Grants

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

The Education Law Center noted in 2012 that there was a pattern to the distribution of Race to the Top grants:

The states and districts with the most unequal funding won a large share of RTTT grants.

ELC writes:

Since 2009, the US Department of Education’s (USDOE) Race to the Top (RTTT) initiative has given billions in federal funds to states conditioned on launching various education reforms. The USDOE has awarded these grant funds without regard to how equitably the states fund their schools. States control 90% of all school funding, and successful reform requires adequate resources, especially in districts serving high concentrations of low-income students and students with special needs.

In early December, USDOE announced another round of RTTT grant awards, this time to 16 local school districts or groups of school districts. The 16 award winners will share $400 million to support USDOE school reform priorities.

Once again…

View original 59 more words

Leo Casey: Is New York the Mississippi of Our Time?

Latino Education Task Force:

There are many ways and routes to segregation. Where we find it, we can learn how we don’t want to allow the practices that led to it happen here. We have a lot to learn from the UCLA Civil Rights Project.

Originally posted on Diane Ravitch's blog:

Leo Casey, director of the Albert Shanker Institute, writes here about the recent report of the UCLA Civil Rights Project. That report found that Néw York has the most racially segregated schools in the nation.

Casey writes:

“Last month saw the publication of a new report, New York State’s Extreme School Segregation, produced by UCLA’s highly regarded Civil Rights Project. It confirmed what New York educators have suspected for some time: our schools are now the most racially segregated schools in the United States. New York’s African-American and Latino students experience “the highest concentration in intensely-segregated public schools (less than 10% white enrollment), the lowest exposure to white students, and the most uneven distribution with white students across schools.”

Driving the statewide numbers were schools in New York City, particularly charter schools. Inside New York City, “the vast majority of the charter schools were intensely segregated,” the report concluded, significantly…

View original 305 more words