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This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-host Cara Candal talks with Linda Chavez, a senior fellow at the National Immigration Forum and the author of Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation. She shares how her ethnic background, Catholic education, and experience working with legendary American Federation of Teachers president Al Shanker, a great champion of civic education, shaped her outlook and public career. Ms. Chavez talks about why she ultimately parted ways with the teachers’ unions on key education issues. They discuss heated policy debates in American K-12 education regarding how to craft and deliver curricula that honor students’ diversity, while also educating for common ideals. Chavez sheds light on changing perceptions of Hispanic students, pointing to the wide variation in socioeconomic and academic achievement levels among those from different Spanish-speaking countries. She makes the case for a more flexible, broad, skills-based national immigration policy that responds to labor demands, and concludes with insights on why the country is struggling to unify around common civic values.
Stories of the Week: In Connecticut, a trend in the making? The state’s tech ed and career system, enrolling 12,000 students, is planning to become independent from the state education department, to increase its autonomy over finances and curricula. A new $100 million Google certification program could put students on the fast track to successful IT careers – bypassing a four-year degree.