Politics, Moderate



Spare the Talk of an 'Asian Invasion'

CHICAGO -- Have you heard the news? Asians will displace Hispanics as the largest foreign-born group in the U.S. by 2055. I, for one, am thrilled -- the pressure will be off.

As someone who happily lived in a time back when the "Hispanic community" was not a commodity described almost strictly in terms of its number of immigrants or consumer ...Read more

Ensuring Quality Education for English Learners

CHICAGO -- The U.S. Department of Education recently released an "English Learner Tool Kit" designed to support public schools in meeting their legal obligations to students learning the English language. The purpose: to ensure they have equal access to quality education.

This is no small feat.

I was once a teacher in "bilingual education" ...Read more

To Help Immigrants, Take a Community-Level Approach

CHICAGO -- One of the reasons immigration is such a touchy subject is that our national conversations don't acknowledge regional circumstances.

Some people live in places where immigrants from various different countries and socioeconomic income levels gather and are ultimately united with each other -- and with longtime residents of their new ...Read more

High Tech is No Cure-All for Education

CHICAGO -- It's very rare for me to pick up a book and immediately recoil at its contents. But this is exactly what happened when I began reading "Most Likely to Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for the Innovation Era," a new book by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith.

To give you a feel for where this book is coming from, its main concern is that not ...Read more

The Vietnam War Brought Home

CHICAGO -- I've never seen the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. So when The Moving Wall, a traveling half-size replica, came to Illinois this past Labor Day weekend, I had to go take a look.

When I first laid eyes on the stream of names of fallen soldiers, their number was overwhelming and, frankly, a little hard to relate to since...Read more

The Real Story of Detroit

DETROIT -- Say whatever you want about Detroit, just don't say it's "back."

Visit here and longtime residents will be quick to tell you they never went anywhere, so they aren't "back" -- they're simply still here.

I learned this and more during a conference sponsored by UNITY: Journalists for Diversity that was organized to help young ...Read more

A Better Wducation For All

CHICAGO -- Robert Putnam's latest book, "Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis," should put to rest the assumption that race and bad schools are the predominant factors to blame for rising inequality.

Putnam hypothesizes that class-based residential segregation was facilitated not only by the roadway infrastructure that allowed higher earners ...Read more

Unplugging My Way to Recovery

CHICAGO -- For 12 weeks, I've been on a miracle diet that has improved my mood, cleared my mind, given me more energy, made my eyesight better, cured my insomnia and, most importantly, pretty much eliminated the daily headaches that had been dogging me.

Best of all: I still eat gluten and haven't had to ingest kale once. All I did was cut back ...Read more

Quit Hating On Your Job

CHICAGO -- Our society has succumbed to the pleasant lie that work should always be fun and that work relationships should be that of the Best-Friends-Forever variety.

But believe this fairy tale and you're likely to be one very unhappy employee.

A teacher friend of mine recently told me a story -- practically with flames shooting out of his ...Read more

A Disturbing Portrait of Teach for America

CHICAGO -- After all the media fawning over the nonprofit Teach for America, there are some veterans of the program who are now telling a different story.

"Teach for America Counter-Narratives: Alumni Speak Up and Speak Out" contains 20 essays with anecdotes that seem too crazy to make up.

Edited by T. Jameson Brewer and Kathleen deMarrais, ...Read more

Anti-Immigrant Angst is Stoked by Economic Fear

CHICAGO -- We never need look very far into the past to see how frequently history repeats itself.

In the news are headlines about xenophobic political statements made to curry favor with the far right -- suggestions to end birthright citizenship, baseless accusations about immigrant populations incubating crime and violence, and dehumanizing ...Read more

Don't Bake Your DNA

CHICAGO -- Former President Jimmy Carter got me to schedule a doctor's appointment and buy sunscreen.

When I heard that Carter has four spots of melanoma on his brain, I felt a bit of a gut punch. Melanoma? What is skin cancer doing on the president's brain?

I thought I knew a good bit about melanoma. But even I didn't know that ...Read more

End the School-to-Prison Pipeline

CHICAGO -- A recent poll seems to imply that the general public does not understand, and maybe has never heard of, the school-to-prison pipeline.

It is a national trend in which children -- more often than not, minorities -- are caught up by "zero-tolerance" public school policies that criminalize minor infractions of school rules.

In the past...Read more

The Family That Educates Together, Elevates Together

CHICAGO -- Dear dads: It's your time to shine.

Everyone knows that kids do better academically when "parents" participate in school activities such as helping with homework and teacher conferences. But all too often, moms are designated the school-stuff managers, leaving out a precious piece of the puzzle for ensuring that kids understand how ...Read more

'The Cartel': A Love Letter to Mexico

CHICAGO -- Don Winslow's epic new novel, "The Cartel," about Mexican drug lord Adan Barrera's desperate moves to stay on top of a quickly changing political and competitive landscape, couldn't have been released at a better time.

The book, which begins with a Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman-esque prison break, came out mere weeks before the real ...Read more

Do Not Expect Less of Minority Students or Teachers

CHICAGO -- Last week, a federal judge ruled that one of the four licensing exams that aspiring teachers in New York state must pass does not discriminate against minorities.

Judge Kimba M. Wood ruled that the state and the testing company that helped devise the exam, Pearson, had properly ensured that the Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST) "...Read more

Factory Moves Damage Both Sides of Border

CHICAGO -- In recent months, several U.S.-based manufacturers have announced that they're moving factory operations to Mexico. These moves are yet another blow to an already hobbled working class.

Goodyear, the Akron, Ohio-based tire manufacturer, broke ground on a $550 million, 1 million-plus-square-foot plant in Mexico in late July.

A few ...Read more

Treating Teachers as Sports Stars?

CHICAGO -- Last week a Comedy Central skit called "TeachingCenter" about the career moves of star educators in the fictional 2015 "Teacher Draft" went viral.

In it, two SportsCenter-like anchors lavished adoring attention on a system offering multimillion-dollar salaries for high-performing teachers, astronomical cash incentives for high test ...Read more

Take a Trip -- Through a Book

CHICAGO -- If you use books to go somewhere you know practically nothing about, and meet someone you might not ordinarily get a chance to know, here are three that will transport you to interesting places you may (or may not) want to visit in real life.

"Townie: A Memoir" is written by Andre Dubus III, who has garnered critical acclaim for his ...Read more

On Immigration, We Can't Handle the Truth

CHICAGO -- People tend to say they want straight-talking politicians -- then get upset when straight talk actually occurs.

Take the case of German Chancellor Angela Merkel who has been tap-dancing across the world's stage this summer trying to hold the eurozone together in the face of a massive Greek default, while also dealing with the issue ...Read more

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