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.

Connect with Gabe:


Recent Articles

Hurricane Katrina as Education Reform.

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." However, the reason for the correlation should provoke anger. New Orleans schools aren't necessarily doing better with the same students. They are serving a different demographic, one that is more affluent, whiter, and more educated (to see the pre-/post-Katrina demographic breakdown, you can look here ).The educational "gains" are only further evidence that Hurricane Katrina...

The Not Quite Overhaul of No Child Left Behind.

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. Accountability : Under NCLB, all schools were required to meet state-set reading and math standards by 2014; schools that did not make incremental gains toward this goal were classified as "failing" and risked firings and closure. Obama's new plan eliminates this deadline and proposes replacing the math and reading standards with "college- or career-readiness" goals. Instead of being evaluated on a pass/fail basis, the metric for measuring schools' success will be expanded. Funding : The administration also proposes to replace an enrollment-based funding...

Prop. 8 Trial Roundup.

This week, plaintiffs in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial began presenting their case before Northern California District Judge Vaughn Walker . Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has barred cameras from the courtroom, so most of the information available is coming from reporters or those liveblogging the proceedings. While the trial is not being broadcast, it is still being taped; the defense has sought to have these tapes destroyed , but the judge has refused to. After opening statements ( Ted Olson 's is available here ), the plaintiffs proceeded to presenting their testimony. Some highlights: The first day of the trial included emotional testimony from the plaintiffs – a same-sex female couple and a same-sex male couple -- about their relationships and how being barred from marrying has affected them. Strangely, the defense chose to cross-examine the men but not the women. The deposition of Prop. 8 sponsor Bill Tam set off a flurry of commentary on the blogosphere. Under questioning...

Camera Ready

Anti-gay marriage activists' opposition to live broadcasting the federal challenge to Prop. 8 has little to do with the propriety of cameras in the courtroom and everything to do with setting the agenda.

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Judge Vaughn Walker's decision to allow video cameras in his courtroom for the federal challenge to California's Proposition 8 has been temporarily suspended pending a decision by the Supreme Court midweek. Proceedings from the trial, which began Monday, were to be broadcast on YouTube as part of an experimental program in the Ninth Circuit to allow cameras in non-jury civil trials. Prop. 8 proponents have claimed broadcasting the proceedings will lead to harassment of "Yes on 8" campaign staffers. The debate is hardly new -- courts have wrestled with the question of media's visual access to courts since photography first emerged in the 1930s. But in the push to make government proceedings readily available to the public, federal courts have emerged as a conspicuous outlier. Most state-level courts allow cameras to be present in both civil and criminal courts at the judge's discretion. But federal courts are far more restrictive: Cameras are prohibited in criminal trials and while the...

Is 'Principled Opposition to Homosexuality' Different From Bigotry?

The proposed bill in the Ugandan Assembly prescribing the death penalty for homosexuality, which was broadly condemned in a Times editorial yesterday, has highlighted the link between American evangelical Christianity and anti-gay extremism in Africa. Many Christian groups that oppose homosexuality have spoken against the bill (they say it goes too far) and have resisted being grouped with "extremists." But it's only a difference in degree. Anti-gay groups may not be calling for gays to be murdered, but Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren and members of groups like Exodus International ( Scott Lively , Caleb Lee Brundidge , Don Schmiere ) have been instrumental in bringing virulently anti-gay forms of Christianity to Africa, and have been loath to criticize the Ugandan "kill gays" bill. The underlying assumption to their defense is that a difference exists between anti-gay bigotry and "principled opposition to homosexuality." But there is no such thing as principled opposition to...