petmoosie: (hometown)
The headline on a recent local paper, "County's minorities are now the majority". It says (based on census data? since all the comparisons are done to 2000?) that minorities make up 50.7% of the population. The greatest percentage *increases* are in Hispanic and Asian populations; the greatest absolute number of minorities is in the black population.

Just as an observation, I'm seeing more and more Asian kindergarten students with younger siblings. More than I saw two years ago.

The lunchroom has rotated some of the tables, which allows me to see more students at once. There are definitely students of just about every shade of skin tone in the lunchroom. However, with the long winter, some who would normally look more brown are looking more gray. It might also be the lighting in the lunchroom or the clothes colors they are wearing.

I sat behind a family at church on Ash Wednesday that were more Native American-looking than Hispanic, although they spoke Spanish.
petmoosie: (braids)
"I would hope that a wise woman with the richness of her experience would, more often than not, reach a better conclusion. What is better? I … hope that better will mean a more compassionate and caring conclusion."--Sonia Sotomayor, 1994.

I would say that "better" means more likely to stand the test of time. For example, the Dred Scott decision did not stand the test of time. Laws passed after it basically reversed it. Lily Ledbetter was essentially reversed by legislation this year.

Of course, the judge's opportunity to make a decision like that is small. Most cases won't much impact beyond the people in the actual case. But the Supreme Court is supposed to be all about hearing the cases that change things.
petmoosie: (bad guy)
Maryland has passed a new law, establishing two tiers of driver's licenses. One if you are in the country legally and one if you can't prove that. However, the beginning of the two-tier system isn't until June 1rst. Some of the state Senators believe that this provides a window for illegals to get a proof of residency before that date.

"Everyone east of the Rockies knows you've got until June 1rst to get a driver's license in Maryland." said Sen. Andrew Harris (R-Dist. 7).

I'm not sure I understand this. All the licenses before June 1rst, 2009 will not prove it one way or the other. When they come up for renewal, you will be asked to prove legal presence (I suppose, there was a bill for grandfathering in renewals, but the way the article was worded, I think it failed).
petmoosie: (Default)
It's time to have a talk about race.

One of the things that I notice (took time to notice) at Howard was the campaign posters for student government. There were some teams with lengthy lists of changes to be made, with highly glossy prints of the candidates in formal clothes. There was one where the male candidate was in his shirtsleeves and in a pose that Obama has been photographed in. I had to look at that one twice to be sure that it wasn't President Obama, since the two have similar builds and haircuts.

I postulate that the campaigns there are more serious because all the candidates share the same race. There isn't a token black party and a bunch of white parties. Because the race is already the same, you don't have to take it into any kind of account.

I have more thoughts, lots of thoughts. No action items or calls for change. Just thoughts.

Gangs

Jan. 30th, 2009 09:58 am
petmoosie: (bad guy)
Here is an article from USA Today about gangs in the US. MS-13 is fairly active in our area. That is creating an interest in checking immigration status. But most police stops are non-violent and even if they stop an illegal immigrant, that person is not likely to be a gang member.  So most of the people deported under this policy aren't the violent members of gangs that the public is hoping to be rid of.

There is no hope (and no reasonable reason) to eliminate the group of fellow countrymen that the gang members recruit from and live among. Many of them are legal immigrants in various stages of becoming citizens. What the police need to do, is to create an atmosphere of trust such that gang members are likely to be reported. This is already hard due to the risk of violent retaliation.

petmoosie: (braids)
First, this news story from the NY Times. Another English-only statute. In general, those are enacted because members of the population don't want Spanish translations used.

I would want Spanish recognized as the official second language of the United States. Not like Canada, where everything has to be both in English and French (two official languages). But a requirement to consider Spanish-translation. So in areas with a known percentage of Spanish-native speakers (let's say greater than 10%), a certain percentage of hand-outs would be available in Spanish. A public relations team would have a bilingual member.

petmoosie: (shoes)
There was a student from the local high school killed a little bit ago (Nov. 1). One local would-be politician is connecting this murder with other murders and crimes by illegal immigrants to alarm the residents. It is true that there is quite a picture forming. An elderly woman, who had hired someone for household chores and was murdered by them on Nov. 26th. And another older woman who was tied up during a robbery in September and died.

Although the would-be politician is always over the top, this picture is not wrong. He draws in a murder in the District, but since they are not in the same state, I would not include them.


petmoosie: (Default)
The walk is ... refreshing. Or just very cold.

Emily is going to see a play at Adventure Theater as a field trip. I wonder what it is. "Peter Pan" is on stage fairly nearby, and we could go to see that also.

Our school system (Montgomery) is considering canceling classes for Inauguration day. DC has already done it. Prince George's (majority black) has already done it. And Alexandria and Arlington may have already done it. Now, DC should do it; many of their students (and teachers) use the Metro system to get to school and home again. Prince George's wants to acknowledge the first black president. I want Montgomery to do it, since we (my family) are going to the Inauguration. But if Montgomery doesn't, I'll write the note for an absence. What would be bad, is if all the white students left school, and only the black and the Hispanic students went to school (because their parents couldn't get off from work). It couldn't be done as a field trip, because there aren't enough buses (in the world) to get all the high school students, middle school students and elementary school students there. Plus, it really makes much more sense to take the Metro.
petmoosie: (Default)
The 5 local high schools have formed a group and each developed a signature program. Students are allowed to rank the schools in order of their preference and then the schools chose the students. Demographic concerns (and gender balance) are definitely considered in the choosing of students by the schools. Grades don't matter, if a student's grades are good enough to allow them to enter high school, they can be chosen. If all spaces are filled, the child will go to the geographically assigned school (even if it is overcrowded).

This was supposed to reduce overcrowding, reduce white and to a certain extent female flight, and balance the demographics of the schools. A new school was added to the system at the same time.

Overcrowding still exists, there is still white flight from the whole system (these 5 schools), and there is an increase in poverty in the whole system (these five schools). Many if not most of the students rank the same school at the top. The biggest and most popular school has spaces for 2,885 students and is overcrowded to about 3,000. The new school has spaces for 1,526 and is not acknowledged to be overcrowded (Although, most students think it is).

Now, what is really going on here? The schools aren't preventing the growth of population in this area (how could they?), nor are they preventing increases in the proportion of blacks, Hispanics and Asians in the larger population. They aren't preventing an increase in poverty, either. For the most part, the increase is due to people moving in, rather than more children being born.  In fact, I doubt (with the movement of people near an urban center) that many of the graduates are buying houses and finding jobs in the area served by the schools. DC (and its surrounding suburban areas) are known for the high turnover of people (political appointees, military personnel, foreign government personnel assigned to the area, political refugees,  and aspiring young people from other parts of the country).

School choice is having very little influence on the changing demographics of the area. The changing demographics are driving change in the schools to a much higher extent than almost any thing that the schools can do. And the most effective thing would be to substantially enlarge the available spaces to the point at which there are more spaces than the maximum number of students. This may well require a completely new school to be built from scratch (at a substantially greater cost than any of the money spent on the signature programs).
petmoosie: (bad guy)
Right here in River City
TRouble with a capital R and
that stands for Race.

A Vietnamese boy (14) was killed on the bus by a Hispanic man. Both were in groups of their own ethnicity and age and had not previously known each other. The boy and most of the children in his group attended the school nearby. This action occurred at 11pm on a Saturday night on a bus leaving "downtown Silver Spring", a shopping, dining and recreation area.

There is a meeting at the high school tonight, to let people get their feelings and worries out and to discuss solutions and safety.

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