Politics, Moderate



Hispanic families face higher hurdles at school

CHICAGO -- It's tough being a teacher -- the unrealistic expectations, the high stakes, the low pay and the lack of respect for the profession. But, trust me, it's even harder being a teacher of color in a profession that is 80 percent non-Hispanic white nationally, and over 90 percent in most school districts outside of major urban centers.

It...Read more

Children need to understand our government if they want to save it

CHICAGO -- It hardly seems possible, but it's happening: Students have gotten so fed up that they've resorted to legal action to get the education they need to become productive citizens.

As The Associated Press reported last week, a group of public school students and their parents filed a class-action lawsuit against Rhode Island's governor ...Read more

Combating 'fake news' relies on improving our critical thinking

CHICAGO -- If it seems like "fake news" is evolving into an epidemic, it's due to the calamitous lack of a crucial skill: critical thinking.

What's worse is that critical thinking is one of those abilities that most people mistakenly believe they're good at -- leading them to fall for and spread fake news even more.

Sixty-seven percent of U.S....Read more

Trump praises pilgrims but demonizes today's migrants

CHICAGO -- We're nearing the end of a long, harrowing year in which Latinos have faced daily demonization as a threat to the American people. We've watched horrifying images of women and children from Mexico, Central and South America caged like animals at the border, and we have endured public humiliation and violence from people emboldened by ...Read more

Teachers need better preparation to get the best results

CHICAGO -- You don't have to like former Education Secretary Arne Duncan's policies to agree with the opening line of his new book:

"Education runs on lies."

In "How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation's Longest-Serving Secretaries of Education," Duncan says that many schools -- especially those tasked...Read more

Ignorance of history fuels hatred in America

CHICAGO -- The sickening photo of dozens of Wisconsin high school boys apparently giving a Nazi salute sparked so much media outrage last week that even Gov. Scott Walker shook his head and said, "They're just a bunch of idiots."

The well-dressed boys were photographed outside a county courthouse last spring at prom time, and about two-thirds ...Read more

Food banks need money as well as meals

CHICAGO -- Charities often ask for donations around the holidays because that's when people are likeliest to be feeling generous, but hunger runs rampant every month of the year, and it actually peaks for children in the summer when school is out.

Food banks in particular tend to time their drives around Thanksgiving, because so many people are...Read more

It's time to give millennials a break

CHICAGO -- It's a terrible idea to make too much of the campaign victory of any politician, but an exception is in order now that New York has elected Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress: It's time to drop the snarky jabs about millennials.

There's no question that the fact Ocasio-Cortez is 29 is worth celebrating. Young people are woefully ...Read more

Democrats need to start including Latino voices -- or lose their votes

CHICAGO -- Incredibly, Hispanics can simultaneously be the center of a national conversation yet be virtually ignored when it comes to discussing immigration as a factor in the elections.

With few exceptions, Latino journalists, political scientists, demographers and immigration experts -- were all but shut out of English-language election-...Read more

China's math memorization method adds up to higher scores

CHICAGO -- Here's a shout-out to fellow gray-hairs who learned math the "old-fashioned" way, by memorizing simple formulas along with facts about addition and multiplication. This technique is anathema in today's classrooms.

But might the old ways ever come back into vogue?

I would have said "when pigs fly," but then I read Lenora Chu's can't-...Read more

Mr. President: Latinos don't scare easily

CHICAGO -- President Trump is playing the media, his detractors and his supporters with his pre-election stunts. Overruling the Constitution to end birthright citizenship? Sending troops to the border to combat the supposed hordes of potentially terrorist-filled migrant caravans?

Yeah, right.

These are the kind of shiny distractions Trump uses...Read more

Colleges need to embrace diversity, not exploit it

CHICAGO -- My guiding philosophy in life has always been to go where I'm not wanted. This includes the insular, majority-white world of journalism, the insular, majority-white world of public education, and the insular, majority-white world of governing nonprofit organizations.

I've always said that those institutions needed me more than I ...Read more

We need to teach our children that 'no' always means 'no'

CHICAGO -- There are few more thankless jobs in America than being a parent and a teacher. In elementary schools, they're even sort of similar: Little-to-no personal space, unexpected volcanic tantrums and plenty of runny noses.

Then there are the sex scandals.

Yes, in elementary schools.

I once taught in a grade school where I witnessed boys...Read more

Those who claim Native American heritage should help them build better lives

CHICAGO -- The drama over whether Elizabeth Warren could rightfully be considered Native American -- and whether she used this claim to gain favor in her academic and professional career -- began in earnest in 2012.

The latest chapter features the Democratic senator from Massachusetts on camera, with a backdrop of emotional music, declaring ...Read more

Mourning the loss of Sears -- along with a vivid chapter of my childhood

CHICAGO -- I know nostalgia is a bad look, but please bear with me -- this Chicagoan is feeling the Sears bankruptcy deep in the solar plexus.

Although to this day my hatred of shopping is a tremendous disappointment to my mother, who has no one except my poor dad to drag to the mall, I still mourn the passing of the department store that ...Read more

Does poor nutrition endanger our national security?

CHICAGO -- My 17-year-old son and I lock horns nightly when bedtime approaches and he hasn't consumed his pre-negotiated 7 ounces of milk for the day.

It's the same battle that comes up at dinner if he didn't eat his daytime serving of fruit. Our meal then becomes a slog of cramming the bare minimum of fruit and vegetables down him to aid his ...Read more

Our nation's civic health depends on you

CHICAGO -- You can't throw a rock these days without hitting a book, news headline or podcast episode about the impending end of democracy.

I'm no doomsayer but, yes, it's coming.

Not just because of increasing political polarization, the influence of corporate money on elections or any of the other usual suspects. It'll be just plain apathy ...Read more

A fascinating and healthful history of the heart

CHICAGO -- My husband claims that every Spanish song he's ever heard includes the word corazon. So if he doesn't understand anything else, he knows it has to do with matters of the heart.

In love songs, as in life, the heart is at the very center of things, serving as a vessel for endless metaphors: It can be big, small, brave, chicken-y...Read more

In the Trump era, women are finding their voices

CHICAGO -- Would it surprise you to learn that even in academia -- a supposed bastion of liberalism and equality -- women are two-and-a-half times less likely than men to ask questions in academic seminars?

In a new article published in the journal PLOS One, researchers crunched data on 250 talks at 35 institutions in 10 countries as well as ...Read more

How NAFTA destroyed the way we eat

CHICAGO -- A few weeks ago, my aunt came to visit from Mexico for the first time in nearly 20 years. During her month-long stay, my family and I were treated to hand-made sopes -- a deep-dish tortilla topped with beans, meat, cheese and a meticulously minced raw salsa -- and pozole, a chicken, corn and hominy soup so time-consuming...Read more


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