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Bright Immigrants Promise Bright Future for America

Bright Immigrants Promise Bright Future for America

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Posted on May 4, 2012

By Richard Reeves

GRANADA HILLS, Calif.—In 1921, Lincoln Steffens, among the greatest of American journalists, visited the new Soviet Union and came back to the United States to say, “I have seen the future and it works.”

He was of course, quite wrong. I may be, too, after chronicling the triumphs of Granada Hills Charter High School here in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. For the second straight year, it has won the National Academic Decathlon. Here are the names of the winners and the languages they speak at home:

Lev Tauz from Uzbekistan speaks Russian and English; Sean Wejebe, half-Mexican and half-Filipino, speaks Spanish and English; Hamidah Mahmud speaks Bangla and English; Christian Koguchi grew up in Peru and speaks Spanish, Japanese and English; Priscilla Liu speaks Indonesian and English; Kimberly Ly speaks Vietnamese, Cambodian and English; Stella Lee speaks Korean and English; Jimmy Wu speaks Chinese and English; Julia Wall, half-Mexican and half-American, speaks English and Spanish.

They are America’s future, and I suspect they’ll work as hard as they studied for a year to defeat 60 high schools from around the country in the 30th national decathlon, held last week in Albuquerque, N.M. This country was built by immigrants, and it looks like that will continue.

The overall subject for the two-day “Super Quiz” this year was “The Age of Empire.” Here are a couple of sample multiple-choice questions:

Advertisement

 Bright Immigrants Promise Bright Future for America


—”Regarding the anti-slavery movement in Europe, it would be MOST accurate to say the humanist intellectual climate of the Enlightenment:

“a. tended to be evenly split on the issue of slavery

“b. provided intellectual justification for slavery

“c. had little or no impact on the debate on slavery

“d. strengthened arguments for the abolition of slavery

“e. weakened the abolitionist movement overall”

—”The MOST accurate interpretation of Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘The White Man’s Burden’ in regards to its view of colonialism would be:

“a. cynical and pessimistic

“b. positive and uplifting

“c. naive and unrealistic

“d. negative and condemnatory

“e. neutral and uncaring”

Then came the essay questions. Here are two:

—”Many historians find the distinction between ‘settlement colonization’ and ‘exploitation colonization’ as a distinction without a difference. Provide examples of both ‘settlement colonization’ and ‘exploitation colonization.’”

—”Explore how ‘the historiography of colonization’ has shaped the public perception of the pursuit of empire. Which voices have been emphasized and which have been largely ignored in historical studies? To what effect?”

Tough stuff!

In case you are wondering, Granada Hills Charter—funded by the Los Angeles Unified School District, but with a great deal more autonomy than non-charter schools—is no nest of nerds. Its alumni include John Elway of the Denver Broncos and Ryan Braun, the Most Valuable Player in the National League last year.

So even in cash-strapped Los Angeles, there are good things going on out there in high schools.

And there will be good things going on in America as long as we keep attracting the best and the brightest of immigrants.

© 2012 Universal Uclick


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TAGS: academic decathlongranada hillsimmigrantsimmigrationrichard reevesschool

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avatar 287017 Bright Immigrants Promise Bright Future for America

By americanme, May 7 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

Just a few quick comments:

1.  It’s not all in the past, and that’s where I have to tell you to stop denying your part in it.  When I talk about 75% unemployment on The Rez I am talking TODAY—not 150 years ago.  So long as you continue to vote and support the system that maintains genocide in the colonial settler state you call the US, you are part of the problem—and no way are no going to be part of the solution.

2.  Ward Churchill has written about how to start giving back land by first of all admitting that about 35-40% of the US settler state territory was never ceded to the US by any treaty.  (My people live on both sides of the border with Canada—and we are many, but the US government refuses to recognize our southern brothers as an official tribe because that would mean giving them back the state of Vermont—as no treaty was ever signed by the Abenaki with the US.  That’s just one example.)  You can start by reading his collection of essays Since Predator Came—or you can start by reading this condensed version of C hurchill’s piece “I Am Indigenist” on znet:  http://www.zcommunications.org/i-am-indigenist-by-ward-churchill

3.  The Mennonites who were booted out of Canada in the 1920s were given land in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua by then-president Alvaro Obregon on the basis that they would continue to supply Mexico with cheese for the life of their residence on that land.  They were more welcome in Mexico than in the US or Canada.

4.  You have a fairly sophisticated wall of denial going for you—more so than the posters on this site who still claim that The only good Indian is a dead Indian—but you are still lying to yourself and to me.  Like I said, people learn when they WANT to learn.  You seem to have the same disease as all the other US whites, who think they already know everything.


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By JH Gordon, May 6 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

Americanme-

I can understand your sentiments. I hope you agree that indigenous everywhere have been subject to immigration, conquering invaders, and social change of all kinds through out history. When Rome invaded the homelands of my people they were conquered but not beaten. After awhile, my ancestors turned around and sacked Rome (and everywhere it seems). It happens. And as a population grows, the displaced indigenous of any land are heard less and less.

I truly hope that sacred lands can be restored if in fact the spiritual beliefs that make the land sacred is still active and intact. If not, it’s just real estate.

I’ve visited reservations in California, Oregon, Washington, and Arizona. I’ve spent time with indigenous people in Peru. They too have much the same issues as North American natives. Only when they protest in this modern age, they are called terrorists.  Go figure. Take their land, drill baby drill, and they object to the poverty, the moral decay, the slavery, the pollution, and they are supposed to smile and take it. So I have a sense of what you’re talking about.

I still can’t apologize about populations expanding no matter how it’s brought about. And certainly not what happened 150 years before I was born or even one day. Can I help? I will if I can. Do I think your people are entitled to better treatment? Sure. Will it happen without educating the rest of the public, I doubt it.

You’re the educator, what will it take? How do you sell the idea to people who “didn’t do it?” I don’t know. But I’m willing to listen and to pass on your point of view, but not guilt or anger because I don’t think people listen very well to it and it’s not a great motivator.

And I don’t know how or if “separate but equal” works. I suppose it’s possible but I think it’s pretty divisive and causes trouble from the start. It is possible of course. So how can we help you get what you want?

Am I correct when I equate the Mennonites to a separate but equal tribal society living and thriving in their enclaves? I can see that a reasonable and industrious people can live quite well if they have a mind to. But since many native American indigenous were nomadic,(I understand that there was no personal real estate claimed by tribal members)Restoring land to nomads probably won’t work.

As to new immigrants to North America, I believe we need them. I believe what they bring to America is the idealism that would help your people prosper despite what has been inflicted upon them.  The idealism that is liberty and justice is what I think you’re looking for. Perhaps the newer Americans can be of great service to the originals.   

JH Gordon
Fireclosure
How to burn down Wall Street and get away with it.
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/98807


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avatar 287017 Bright Immigrants Promise Bright Future for America

By americanme, May 6 at 10:54 am Link to this comment

JH:

You wrote:  “In any period in American history we can see examples of mass immigration. The Spanish came, then the English came and the French, then Germanic settlers by the thousands. The Irish came, the Italians, the Greeks, and the Slavs came, and the Chinese, they built the bi-coastal America and the industry thereof. And now we are finally recognizing that Africans played more than a major part as well.”

And all of those folks either actively ripped off or are now lliving on land ripped off from MY people.

So, frankly, I am not in favor of proting any more American Dreams of Genocide.

The UN’s investigator for indigenous issues—the first one ever allowed to take the measure of how MY people are doing in the US—just finished his 12-day visit with the recommendation that you folks give us back some of the stolen land—especially the sacred sites—and start treating us as if we were entitled to basic human rights.

To tell the truth, 75% unemployment on The Rez worries me a helluva lot more than gringos not choosing to learn anything.


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By JH Gordon, May 5 at 10:45 am Link to this comment

Americanme, I appreciate your long experience as a educator. I can understand your frustration as well having been married to a teacher and watched her wring her hands when she felt she’d failed a student. 

Having lived long enough to realize that no matter how you count it, 50% of everybody graduates in the lower half of their class, I know things can’t be graded on a curve to be real.

But some of the smartest people I know, (as in well adjusted, happy and successful to their own satisfaction) are not necessarily formally educated.

There is a certain drive that exists in the mentality of immigrants. There’s an American dream that propels them to achieve. That that dream is all but anesthetized in the native born is an American tragedy. Is our educational system to be blamed for that? Or is it something else?

Immigrants arriving here have no sense of the ennui felt by those who believe the deck is stacked against them. It may depend on social values, or race, or economic frustration, but it is pervasive.

I believe there is a priory knowledge native born share, and that is much of what American stands for is in name only. A one word response the the word “trust” would likely not be the word “government”, or the word “honesty” with “politician” or “policeman” or “clergyman”.

I believe it’s because we as a nation are awakening to the fact that we are not in control; corporations are. We are not free; there are too many laws governing us and not the 1%. We are intentionally and hopelessly mired in divisive argument by those who control the public conversation.

Having said all that, let me say there’s hope. We who have been around long enough, see a new spirit coming from the young that will either be extinguished by government or utterly surprised by it.

So I say there’s hope in their distrust of power. And there’s the rebelliousness of youth we both can remember.

My hope is the shiny bauble they pursue isn’t the conspicuous consumption in our past, or the distraction of sound bites delivered to confuse them now. The new energy that comes to us from immigrants will foster the drive.

I hope with their powerful ability to communicate with each other they will listen to the truth they find and act upon it. I hope they are democratic in their principles; Because it’s no longer up to us.

In any period in American history we can see examples of mass immigration. The Spanish came, then the English came and the French, then Germanic settlers by the thousands. The Irish came, the Italians, the Greeks, and the Slavs came, and the Chinese, they built the bi-coastal America and the industry thereof. And now we are finally recognizing that Africans played more than a major part as well.

In my generation we saw refugees from the 2nd world war, then Korea, Cambodia, and Viet Nam.

Now come middle easterners and Russians. We are not changing, we are change. It’s our tendency toward isolationist xenophobia that is the antithesis of who we are because we are all the children of immigrants. We have to restore America as the repository of those who believe in freedom and democracy. It takes new and idealistic energy to do that. We need their idealism and their drive.

I only hope they will help us keep our democracy, or rather help us restore it. I hope they are disappointed in us and do something about it. Because you’re right, as a culture we are of late laying down on the job. Too many natives buy into the belief that real democracy is impossible and that we must accept the rule of the wealthy and the corporate. We are trained to be complacent and foolish. There’s big money in our ignorance. As an educator, I hope you don’t lose hope.

JH Gordon
Fireclosure
How to burn down Wall St. and get away with it.
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/98807
Because it’s all about fiction.


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By gerard, May 5 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

This article is a bit under the top.  It is meat for a ripping satire, and I might not be able to resist the temptation much longer.  Here’s for starters and you can imagine the rest:

Question:  Regarding the anti-immigrant attitudes in the United States, it would be most accurate to say:
  1.Most people oppose immigration because they don’t know anything about it.
  2.Most people oppose immigration because they are afraid they will lose their jobs if they support it.
  3.Most people think somebody else will take care of the problem.
Essay question:  In 100 words or less explain your ideas on how public education could be used to stop racism in the U.S.


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avatar 287017 Bright Immigrants Promise Bright Future for America

By americanme, May 4 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

Vector:  Good post.

People learn when they want to learn—many many years as an educator have taught me that.

Gringos don’t want to learn because they have been told and they believed it, that they already know everything.

Ergo:  They know nothing.

Too bad.


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By SoTexGuy, May 4 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

The author has given up on American children?  speaking of immigrants he writes “They are America’s future”.. Interesting choice of words, since he could well have said ‘they, along with the children of Americans across the country are our future’

There’s more to the article than that but I kind of got stuck on that point.

Adios.


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By bobi6, May 4 at 9:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I thought Charter schools were run by corporations using taxpayers’money to run schools. This is a good example but everything I have read points to little and even negative progress. The very idea that education would be turned over the for profit entities makes me shiver. This is probably exceptional and where are the Phi Beta Kappas, the Harvard graduates and creative geniuses from this school? from this school.I am sorry but I would not call NFL players something to give a school credit for. Funny because of the recent suicides of NFL players suspecting brain damage does not make that a goal to be pursued. And it in today’s Truthdig.

I congratulate these kids and their accomplishments but Charter schools are not the answer to our educational failures. Public schools have served this country for a long time. The problem has more to do with poverty, racism and our anti science leaders.


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avatar 172259 Bright Immigrants Promise Bright Future for America

By vector56, May 4 at 4:34 am Link to this comment

There is a kind of “Reverse Colonization” taking place in the “Whitest” of places (Europe, America). After these Empires have hollowed out the so-called “third world” the surviving occupants seem to have decided to follow their Natural Resources.


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