Education Week - November 11, 2015 - (Page 24)

PRESIDENT & EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Virginia B. Edwards LETTERS to the EDITOR EXECUTIVE EDITOR Gregory Chronister Gov. Brown's Veto of Ethnic-Studies Bill Derails 'Cross-Racial Understanding' To the Editor: Gov. Jerry Brown of California failed that state's students last month when he vetoed AB 101, a bill that would have developed a statewide curriculum in ethnic studies. The social and academic value of ethnic-studies curricula is well documented. Unfortunately, Brown's decision reinforces a growing "STEM or nothing" mentality that disparages the current need for building cross-racial understanding. I teach in the newly formed Long Beach Ethnic Studies Program, a collaboration between the Long Beach Unified School District and the California State University, Long Beach. Recently, I asked some of my students whether they believed that focusing on STEM subjects-science, technology, engineering, and math-was the only way to ensure their future success. Some agreed. Others said that math alone is not enough. To succeed in business, they would also need to learn how to navigate California's diverse workforce, they said. I want my students to succeed. But I do not believe in the techno-utopian vision promoted by Silicon Valley "robber barons"-to borrow a Newsweek magazine phrase from 2012. Nor do I believe that we can save the world with just technology, as some argue is possible. The idea that technology can somehow make racism a thing of the past diminishes the reality of racism for people of color today. Ethnic studies creates empathy through understanding. It benefits students of color and white students alike. In its origin, ethnic studies insisted on cross-racial solidarity. In California, this is even more important today in light of conflict between Latinos and African-Americans, debates over affirmative action in university applications, and other inter-ethnic conflicts still to come. The field of ethnic studies matters. Students in select districts such as Long Beach will reap the benefits of ethnic-studies courses. Others will have to live with the governor's decision to veto a bill that would have developed an ethnic-studies curriculum for all public school students. Joseph Morales Instructor Long Beach Ethnic Studies Program Long Beach Unified School District/ California State University, Long Beach Long Beach, Calif. Illinois' Cuts in Child-Care Aid Are 'Devastating for the Working Poor' To the Editor: When the Illinois Department of Human Services changed the state's Child Care Assistance Program income guidelines in July to compensate for the state's budget woes, it-and Gov. Bruce Rauner-undermined a program established to ensure that low-income parents achieve self-sufficiency by going to work and providing for their families. Previously, a family of three could earn a little more than $37,000 annually and receive a child-care subsidy. Under the new limits, that income level is reduced to $10,056-approximately 50 percent below the federal poverty line-for new applicants to the program. An estimated 90 percent of households previously eligible for the subsidy no longer qualify under the new guidelines, according to reports citing the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. The Rauner administration's decision to change the income guidelines was ill-advised and shortsighted. The ramifications will be devastating for the working poor: Many parents will be forced to quit their jobs without affordable day care, and thousands of children will lose access to vital school-readiness skills and knowledge. All of this comes in spite of evidence suggesting that the program is working. The state's child-care assistance isn't a handout; it's a critical resource that empowers working parents, helps break the cycle of poverty, and supplies the state with a stronger workforce. Studies also show that securing affordable, quality child care will produce future dividends that far outweigh the upfront costs. Funding the child-care-assistance program is investing in a better life for working families and their children-and all Illinoisans. Even in a cash-strapped state, this is an investment we can't afford not to make. Celena Roldan-Moreno Executive Director Erie Neighborhood House Chicago, Ill. COMMENTARY POLICY Education Week takes no editorial positions, but publishes opinion essays and letters from outside contributors in its Commentary section. For information about submitting an essay or letter for review, visit MANAGING EDITOR Kathleen Kennedy Manzo DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Charles Borst ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITORS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Mark W. Bomster, Kevin C. Bushweller, Swikar Patel Lesli A. Maxwell, Anthony Rebora, Debra Viadero COMMENTARY EDITOR Elizabeth Rich ONLINE NEWS EDITOR Stacey Decker SENIOR CONTRIBUTING EDITORS WEB DESIGNER Sumita Bannerjee Karen Diegmueller, M. Sandra Reeves ASSOCIATE EDITORS Sean Cavanagh, Catherine Gewertz, Stephen Sawchuk ASSISTANT EDITORS Liana Heitin, Alyson Klein, Christina A. Samuels, Sarah D. Sparks, Andrew Ujifusa ASSISTANT COMMENTARY EDITOR Mary Hendrie STAFF WRITERS Evie Blad, Benjamin Herold, Corey Mitchell, Michele Molnar, Arianna Prothero, Denisa R. Superville CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Caralee Adams, Kathryn Baron, Ross Brenneman, Michelle R. 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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - November 11, 2015

Education Week - November 11, 2015
RTI Practice Falls Short of Promise, Research Finds
Districts Confront Transgender Policies
Top Teacher’s Resignation Spurs Certification Debate
Special Ed. Law Wrought Complex Changes
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Blogs of the Week
In Colorado School Board Recall, Politics and Money Drive Ouster
‘Do Not Resuscitate’ Is Tough Call for Districts
Districts Struggle to Equip Schools With Fast, Affordable Internet
States Prepare for Shifting Role On Accountability
In Off-Year Elections, Ky., Miss. Drew Spotlight on K-12
Arizona Governor Signs Deal to Settle K-12 Funding Suit
Blogs of the Week
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Must Be Everywhere at Once
Put Our Mission Front and Center
Control What I Can
Prioritize Community-Building
How Do We Keep Good Principals?

Education Week - November 11, 2015