The American Prospect

 

"Protect Kids, Not Guns": Maryland Teenagers Skip School to Demand Action

High school students protested on Capitol Hill and at the White House in solidarity with the victims of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting.

Note: This is a piece I co-wrote with another Prospect intern, Mark Ossolinski.

Several hundred Washington-area high school students gathered outside the U.S. Capitol and the White House on Wednesday to protest gun violence and urge lawmakers to enact gun control legislation in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The students, who came from a handful of public high schools in Montgomery County, Maryland, north of Washington, skipped the better part of their school day to take Metro’s Red Line down to the U.S. Capitol. There, following several minutes of chants of “Enough is enough” and “Hey hey, ho ho, the NRA has got to go,” they were greeted by Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland’s Eighth Congressional District. . . . read more

 

Colorado, Bilingual Education and Civil Rights

As one Colorado district cuts back its biliteracy program, questions are raised about possible civil rights violations. 

The national teacher shortage has hit Colorado hard. Since 2000, the state’s average teacher pay has dipped 15 percent, leaving Colorado ranking fifth among the lowest teacher salaries in the country. Moreover, school districts in low-income urban and rural districts have even more difficulty attracting highly qualified teachers. So at Adams 14, a school district nestled north of Denver in Commerce City, Colorado, where the majority of students are low-income and lack fluency in English, school administrators have compensated for the shortage in part by partnering with the University of Colorado’s BUENO Center, which offers degrees and certificates in bilingual education programs at a reduced cost.

The center also advocates for culturally and linguistically diverse students, families, and educators and helps train the district’s elementary school teachers to instruct English-language learners using an English-Spanish biliteracy program instituted three years ago in the wake of complaints about how the district interacted with Latino parents.

But Dr. Javier Abrego, the Adams 14 superintendent, now intends to hit the “pause button” to re-evaluate the program, citing a shortage of qualified teachers as one of the reasons when he first announced the decision last winter. But teachers, parents and local residents have expressed concern that the real goal is to slowly phase out Spanish in district classrooms—where more than half of the students are not native English speakers—as administrators continue on what some residents see as a crusade to curtail a biliteracy program that nowserves students in kindergarten through third grade. . . . read more

 
 

Boulder students are showing passion, getting involved in 2016 election

Anna Sparlin, an environmental design student, didn’t get involved with politics until after starting school at the University of Colorado at Boulder three years ago. 

“Before college, my biggest political action was voting in the 2012 elections,” Sparlin said, “ and I only knew one person I was voting for.”

Since then, Sparlin has become an activist, working as the director of communications for CU Student Voices Count. . . . read more

 

Pugh scores in debut game for national team

In the 83rd minute of the game against Ireland, Mallory Pugh made history — again — when she headed in a goal during her debut on the U.S. women’s national soccer team: She became the sixth-youngest player in history to score a goal for the USA, the youngest to do so over the past 16 years and only the 19th of any age to score in a debut game.

“It was amazing,” said Pugh, 17, a senior at Mountain Vista High School. “When I first went in the game, I was super nervous — and most people can relate to that. But if you just go in and start playing, everything goes away. That’s kind of what happened to me.” . . . read more