Gabriel Arana

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.

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Recent Articles

Moving Toward National Education Standards.

Today, Obama told members of the National Governor's Association that his administration plans to require states to adopt "college and career-readiness" standards to qualify for $14.5 billion in Title 1 funding, which supports school districts with a high percentage of low-income, high-minority students. Under No Child Left Behind, schools had to meet state standards, but these were adopted with little input from the federal government. Because NCLB penalized schools that failed to meet the self-imposed standards, many just lowered them. The new education plan, whose details still have to be ironed out by Congress, seems to remedy many of the problems with the counterproductive incentive system of NCLB. States would be required to adopt common standards but not penalized if certain schools failed to meet them. Instead, these schools would receive additional assistance. The proposed standards would be "developed through a consortium of states" -- the Common Core Standards that the...

Where Have All the Log Cabin Republicans Gone?

As conservatives have intensified their opposition to marriage equality and employment nondiscrimination, gay Republicans must ask whom they love more: Reagan or themselves.

(Flickr/David Clarke)
Far away from the hullabaloo and homophobia of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), gay-rights supporters and culture warriors gathered at the Cato Institute for a more sustained debate about the place of gay people in conservatism. In one corner, bewhiskered blogger titan and gay conservative Andrew Sullivan . In the other, National Organization for Marriage president and anti-gay crusader Maggie Gallagher. While invited speaker Nick Herbert, a gay member of parliament from Britain's Conservative Party, occasionally chimed in, the discussion consisted mostly of barbs between Sullivan and Gallagher. Their heated exchange underscores the long-standing tension between believers in limited government who support gay rights and the rest of the conservative movement. While the conflict is hardly new, many gay conservatives say that in the wake of advances like hate-crime legislation, nondiscrimination ordinances, and marriage rights in certain states, the movement has...

Good Luck Reforming Immigration Courts.

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. In addition to being overburdened with cases (some judges will make life-changing decisions for 50 immigrants a day), the immigration courts are also highly politicized. A 2007 Washington Post investigation found that under Bush , one-third of immigration judges had Republican connections and half had no experience in immigration law. There is also little consistency : Immigration advocates...

Does it Matter if the Prop. 8 Judge is Gay?

The National Organization of Marriage thinks so . In response to a San Francisco Chronicle article "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: Subpoenaing the "Yes on 8" campaign for documents, but not the "No on 8" campaign. Allowing a non-California gay man forced into ex-gay therapy to testify. Allowing the public trial to be broadcast (the Supreme Court put a stop to this until it can consider the matter more thoroughly). These are all pretty feeble indications of "bias." "Yes on 8" docs were handed over to address the key question of whether the amendment was motivated by "animus" against gays and lesbians -- it wasn't clear why the defenders of Prop. 8 wanted to get their hands on "No on 8" materials. The defense has been allowed to present non-expert testimony that would not have been allowed in a jury trial. And...

Rolling Back Brown v. Board of Ed., One Charter School at a Time.

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. The racial segregation cuts both ways. In certain states with high minority populations -- in the West and South in particular -- the composition of charter schools is overwhelmingly white. In other places, it is primarily black or Latino. And because these schools operate independently of state school districts, they are more free to skirt guidelines for racial and economic diversity. The Civil Rights Project suggests turning to magnet schools for the specialized approaches to education currently offered by charter schools. But it's an incomplete recommendation: Magnet schools function just like charter schools, but operate within the purview of school districts -- and draw on their students. There is no guarantee that they will...