Friday, June 01, 2018

Mexican-American studies will be taught in Texas schools. Why there's a fight over its name

What's in a name?

A community's culture and history, argue Mexican-American experts in Texas who are protesting the name change of a recently approved high school elective course on Mexican-American studies.

In April, the Texas State Board of Education voted to approve the elective course in Mexican-American studies, but called it "Ethnic Studies: An Overview of Americans of Mexican Descent," instead of Mexican-American studies. The name change prompted Mexican-American experts and activists to push back.

“This course was named for a community rather than in partisanship with the community and understanding why that community identifies that way,” said Erika Beltran of Fort Worth, who sits on the State Board of Education. She represents District 13.

On Wednesday, Beltran was among several dozen people who joined the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Tejas Foco for a statewide protest against the name change.

Press conferences/protest events were held at 1:30 p.m. in Fort Worth and several other Texas cities, including Austin, San Antonio, San Juan, Houston and El Paso. The Fort Worth event took place at Marine Park north of downtown.

Roberto Calderon, a history professor at the University of North Texas in Denton, said the issue is important because the original name reflected an area of study by educators, historians and sociologists. Educators were also proud that this course was finally on its way to students.

"This is the first time in Texas and U.S. history that a state board of education approves a (Mexican-American studies) course, and the first time in Texas history that they approved an ethnic studies course of any kind," Calderon said, reading from a prepared statement.

But when the name was changed, it was an affront to the Mexican American community, protesters said.

David Bradley, a Republican from Beaumont who proposed the name change, told reporters after the name change vote: “I find hyphenated Americanism to be divisive."

Jacinto "Cinto" Ramos, a trustee on the Fort Worth school board, was among speakers at the Fort Worth event. "Words have power," he said. "Titles have a lot of relevance."

The course is slated to be offered to Texas students starting in the 2019-2020 school year. In Fort Worth schools, students at North Side High School can participate in a locally offered course on Latina and Latino studies. About 60 students participated this year, said principal Antonio Martinez.

Ramos said the new state course builds on efforts to educate students through the lens of racial equity. Earlier this year, the school board created a school holiday to honor César Chávez and Dolores Huerta.

"This is not an anti-white conversation," Ramos said, explaining that the goal is to help all students understand how their histories are relevant in the world.


A Class to Enroll Your Child in This Summer: The Absurdity of Socialism 101

Here we are. Summer has started, and school is out in most places across America, especially colleges and universities. As these generations return home, or to summer internships, it is important, no, vital, to take the time to provide them an education. Too many of our young people have fallen to the indoctrinations of college and university professors. The result being that many of these young people suddenly believe that socialism is a more preferred economic system than the free market capitalist system that has made our constitutional republic an economic powerhouse in just 242 years.

If you are an adult who embraces a progressive socialist economic model as presented by one Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in their seminal work, “The Communist Manifesto,” then perhaps you need a little further education. If you are one of those who accept the principle of “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need,” you have failed to recognize that a socialist economic model has yet to prove successful. And if you wish to argue that point, I would happily refer you to the example of Venezuela.

The time is fleeting as summer will be over before we realize it. And with that, our children and grandchildren will return to the laboratories of progressive socialist indoctrination. Therefore, it is time we had a course of our own, “The Absurdity of Socialism 101.” First, we need to let our young people know that socialism has nothing to do with social media. We need to begin with the understanding of this simple maxim, “a free people are not equal, and an equal people are not free.” The basic premise of socialism is the insidious notion of social egalitarianism, making everyone equal in some form, as mandated, dictated, by a central government. The basic tenets of a socialist economic model are wealth redistribution, nationalizing of economic production, expansion of a welfare state, social equality, and secular humanism. Not even one of these principles is in keeping with the fundamentals of our constitutional republic, hence why Barack Obama stated his goal of “fundamental transformation” of America.

Socialism does not see us as unique individuals with our own unique talents and abilities. Socialism believes in coalescing us all into a collective social structure that does not regard individual achievements, unless enabled by the central government, the state. And do not forget that it was Vladimir Lenin who stated, “The goal of socialism is communism.” In other words, the end goal of a socialist economic model is a collective societal structure, no individualism, but rather, collectivism. Now, why would young people want that? Why would young people, you know the “selfie generation” not want to be regarded as individuals, unique.

One of Marx’s socialist economic planks is the abolition of private property. In other words, he wanted to get rid of home ownership. Yet, it was the English political philosopher, John Locke, who introduced the true liberal ideal of natural rights theory and that we all have these unalienable rights bestowed upon us by our Creator – life, liberty, and property. It was Thomas Jefferson who refined that concept and established it in our Declaration of Independence as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – however you define that happiness.

However, socialists like Bernie Sanders and his ilk do not believe that we have natural rights, nor unalienable rights from a Creator. They believe that they, government, grant rights as a means of their guaranteeing happiness: the right to own a home, the right to free healthcare, the right to free college (because you gotta indoctrinate future generations), etc. And all of this is attained by taking from one group and redistributed to another. This is an expansion of the culture of the participation trophy. If this is the path upon which we are heading in America, then what is the motivation to work hard and excel?

Of course, you will always get the typical emotional rhetoric from the progressive, socialist left. They will denigrate you as heartless and evil, but what is more evil, abjectly wrong, than to coerce, mandate, intimidate, and steal from one group? Heck, even the Ten Commandments say, “Thou shall not steal,” and “Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s goods.” Now you realize why the progressive socialists prefer secular humanism.

One of the essays we should have our students read during this summer is “The Law” written by French economist Frederic Bastiat. Bastiat believed in individuality, liberty, and property, and he advanced the idea that there are some among us who seek to use the law as a means of legal plunder to redistribute wealth due to a false belief in naked greed and misconceived philanthropy. Bastiat’s work is without a doubt something that our college and university students are not studying. But this summer, we should make them do so. And if they seek to run to a “safe space,” then follow them there because obviously they are incapable of conducting intellectual debate.

Also, have your returning student, or intern, read “The Road to Serfdom” by Friedrich Hayek. Hayek’s concept of “liberalism” was in favor of free markets, capitalism, government regulation to inspire economic competition, private property, individualism, and personal liberty. These are the principles of classical liberalism, which his today’s constitutional conservatism. So, who are these folks masquerading and calling themselves “liberals” today? Well, they are not “liberals.” They are progressive socialists.

The final essay to have students read, and yourself if you have not, is esteemed economist Thomas Sowell’s, “‘Trickle Down’ Theory and ‘Tax Cuts for the Rich.’” Sowell’s common-sense approach to understanding tax and economic growth policy is a must read, certainly not on the reading list at most of our nation’s campuses.

These three writings sit right above my work station in my home office. I refer to them often when it comes to comprehending the essential delineation between economic freedom and economic enslavement, servitude. The former is the true essence of classical liberalism. The latter is the goal of socialism. These are the lessons we must impart upon these young people, the millennials, if we are to secure the future of America. They do not get this basic lesson in the absurdity of socialism. Therefore, it is our responsibility to educate them.

As we have the NBA Championship going on, along with the NCAA Women’s college softball and men’s baseball it’s important to remember: in all of our sports, each team starts out 0-0. It is through hard work and dedication that a champion is made, and we all cheer for our team to win, to be a champion. Socialism redistributes victories in order to make everyone a victim. That is not our way.

Sir Winston Churchill said it best, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

The socialist theme of “shared prosperity” is a code word for shared misery. Who wants to be miserable?


Demand for international schools takes off in China

The ever-increasing demand for international school education is spurring interesting shifts which may give more choice for all pupils.

From an almost exclusively expat market, international schools in Europe and Asia are now facing soaring demands for their services from aspirational local parents looking for home country education provided by teachers with globally respected qualifications. China is very much the new kid on the block as regards international curricula, but demand from locals is outpacing supply in spite of its 5,344 international education providers.

British independent schools are leading the Chinese market for an international education, with brands such as Lucton School and Kings College School due to open later this year and Uppingham School scheduled to launch some time in 2019. Looking further ahead, Wycombe Abbey and Westminster School are planning to open in 2020. All the newcomers will be accepting applications from both Chinese nationals and expat parents for their children.

The Chinese education system may seem confusing to expat parents, as there are four main types of school. The first, Schools for Children of Foreign Workers, are closed to Chinese students and aren’t forced to offer the local curriculum. Private schools are owned and operated by Chinese investors and aimed at Chinese citizens’ children. The oddly-named Sino-Foreign Cooperatives include a foreign education partner as well as a Chinese owner and accept both expat and Chinese children. Finally, International Streams run within Chinese schools open to both local and foreign pupils and are privately-owned entities.

At present, there’s a high demand for British-style independent schools in China, as illustrated by Theresa May’s visit in February which resulted in education deals worth over £550 million and included several well-known British education brands. There’s also a need for bilingual Chinese private schools in the style of Hangzhou’s Wellington Collage International, and a recent landmark deal is linking the Hualan Education Group and the University of Buckingham with the setting up of teacher training facilities in both countries.


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