Gabriel Arana is a senior editor at The American Prospect. His articles on gay rights, immigration, and media have appeared in publications including The New Republic, The Nation, Salon, The Advocate, and The Daily Beast.
At its annual meeting, the American Bar Association (ABA) called for an overhaul of the immigration court system. Currently, immigration courts operate under the aegis of the attorney general, which the ABA says leads to conflicts of interest. As Dana Marks, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, told the Times, "There have been increasing concerns about the propriety of housing a neutral court in the law-enforcement arm of the government." The ABA has proposed setting up special courts to hear immigration cases -- like those that hear tax cases -- to avoid these conflicts.
The National Organization of Marriage thinks so. In response to a San Francisco Chroniclearticle "outing" District Court Judge Vaughn Walker, who is presiding over the Prop. 8 federal challenge in California, the organization released a statement cataloging instances of the judge's bias, which include:
Charter schools are often touted as labs for novel approaches to education, but one of these innovations isn't so new at all. The Civil Rights Project at UCLA today released a report showing that charter schools have become bastions for racial re-segregation.
This Sunday, Education Secretary Arne Duncan made his first diplomatic visit to gaffe-land while discussing New Orleans' educational gains on Washington Watch: "The best thing that happened to the education system in New Orleans was Hurricane Katrina." Duncan later apologized for the comment.
The statement itself isn't really a call for outrage; it was a trite way to tie test-score gains to the mythology of the city's resurgence. I see it as just another excess of the "education speak" that's bandied about, where everything's about "reform," "achievement," "accountability" -- and "wake-up calls."
The Obama administration released its 2011 budget proposal today, which includes a sweeping overhaul of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The Bush-era education law was widely criticized as an "unfunded mandate" that punished struggling schools and encouraged districts to slough off poor-performing students.
Details of the overhaul are sketchy, but it seems the primary focus is to change the funding structure and accountability standards.