Thursday, November 27, 2008

A few Thanks, for 2008

Thanks, Obama, for being around to try to help end some of the least democratic and most shameful times in our history, and for raising a lot of hope, at least for now.

Thanks to my seventeen second-graders for improving my Spanish and making me happy to be a teacher, at least for now.

Thanks that the Recession is not yet a Depression, at least for most of us.

Thank the gods I somehow moved away from consumerism and found myself more in the realm of reusing and conserving.

Thanks to groups like TODOS

I received the following E-mail since I'm a member of TODOS: Math for ALL:

At a workshop of the Equity in Mathematics Education Leadership Institute, discussing the history of standardized testing, a participant recounted the following:

Because her nephew, who is Chicano, was not doing well in school, they tested him and found that his I.Q. was about "normal", maybe a little bit below. His father went to the school psychologist for an explanation.

At one point the father asked to take the test. His score was normal. The psychologist said, "Well, you've got normal I.Q. What do you do for a living?" The father said he was an oncologist [cancer specialist]. The psychologist said, "I am surprised you ever got through medical school."

(Download an Education Week article on this subject "The SAT: Public-Spirited or Preserving Privilege?" Education Week.)

This story reminds me of my first literary conference a few years ago, where I did a reading to a packed room. It was well received and when I was done, the first question I was asked was, "Did you write that?" Later, another person asked me the same question.

While the two anecdotes are not dead-on the same situation, they are representative of attitudes that do not go away, no matter who our President is.

[The mission of TODOS: Mathematics for ALL
"is to advocate for an equitable and high quality mathematics education for all students—in particular, Hispanic/Latino students—by increasing the equity awareness of educators and their ability to foster students' proficiency in rigorous and coherent mathematics."]

I've been a TODOS member since attending one of their workshops. Getting great anecdotal material like the one above is nothing compared to loads of other great educational material I've received as a member. I'd recommend them to anyone involved in educating the non-English speaking, math, or pedagogy in general. Anyway, thanks TODOS for a great organization and a good laugh.

Thanks to the Spaniards, of all people

My wife Carmen gave me this bookmark she picked up at a conference. I tracked down the producers who turned out to be the Spanish Institute for Foreign Trade (ICEX) and the Spanish Association of Publishers Guilds (FGEE). They "have developed the campaign America Reads Spanish, aimed to increase the use and reading of our language through the thousands of libraries, schools and book stores of the U.S."

I don't know if this was in response to the myopic attitude toward Spanish by the English-Only crowd, but I liked it so much I got them to send me a few bookmarks and have had fun handing them out to both bilinguals and monolinguals. The usual reaction is one of surprise and/or confusion. I can see their minds going: "We read Spanish?" or even, "We don't read Spanish!"

Of course, the slogan refers to the New World, which all together is called America, and overwhelmingly does read Spanish, literally 2 to 1. Thank goodness the Spaniards were sophisticated enough not to use the wording, "America Reads ONLY Spanish."

Thanks to Mom

I managed to get to San Antonio this month for my mother's 80th. It was a quick trip, but we got to spend a few days where the weather was just like Denver, only humid.

My brother set up this outrageous dinner at a touristy restaurant on the San Antonio Riverwalk, and those of the family who could make it gave Mom a time she won't soon forget.

Most of the women on my mother's side outlive the males; consequently, I have no uncles or grandfather and am the oldest surviving male. You can see from this photo that my Mom (2nd from L.) is old, but still going apparently as well as her younger sister, to her left. (The balloon is for my brother who didn't show--it's tradition to always fill his empty spot.)

Anyway, I guess this is thanks for that trip, thanks for a mother who keeps on truckin', no matter the foibles of her progeny. Next, I'll have to give thanks for her staying around until her 90th, which I'm in charge of setting up, assuming . . .

Lastly, THANKS y un gran salud to René, Lisa, Ann, Manuel, Michael, and Dan Olivas. It's largely been their effort and dedication over the past years that made La Bloga into a distinctive literary site and something I'm proud to be associated with. Perhaps it's more than just coincidence that this great bunch of gente came together to build La Bloga, at least for now.

Rudy Ch. Garcia

1 comment:

Lisa Alvarado said...


I am incredibly grateful to be a small part of Team Bloga, and have the honor of throwing in mis dos centavos.