class Archives - Three Sonorans News & Analysis

Acuña | Critique of Chicana/o Scholars

ts

Image courtesy of Stanford U. Libraries.

Moderator’s Note: In the best of circumstances, I believe all of us probably know someone like the auto repairman that fixes Rudy Acuña’s car and whom he calls “Dr. Mechanic.” I know two Dr. Mechanics, one in the city and one in the countryside. Both earn a middle-class living, comparable to that of many college instructors, and both take twice the amount of vacation time I am able to afford. They may not get that sabbatical every six years – which by the way, Rudy, is no longer automatic and is becoming an increasingly scarce resource at most state universities – but who needs a sabbatical when you can take 3-4 months off every year? Indeed, one of them is so well off he accepts non-cash payments for some of the work done. He welded some parts for me just the other day and refused money, asking for the chicosroasted corn that we produce on our farm. “That’s the real stuff,” he told me, winking, knowing that I am anti-money and anti-capitalist.
In contrast, the majority of newly-minted Chicana/o Ph.D. graduates are increasingly being channeled into part-time jobs that lack security or even health benefits, come with obscenely low pay, and offer dim prospects for tenure-track jobs let alone sabbaticals. According to one study by the AAUP (American Association of University Professors), about half of all new academic positions are non-tenure track, part-time, adjunct teaching positions. According to AAUPstatistics, the most widespread use of part-time teachers is at the two­-year community colleges where they now constitute 51 per­cent of the faculty. Close to a quarter (24 percent) of the faculty at four-­year liberal arts colleges are part-time faculty members and about 20 percent of the faculty at research universities.
So, I am not really sure why Rudy is so pissed off at Chicana/o academic scholars who have tenure-track positions – this is a position of great potential power and influence. Instead of bashing or dismissing them for their apparent “errant” ways (by the way, Rudy, who get to define that?), I would prefer we press them even harder to become more directly active in the service of their origin communities. I would guess a better target would be the millionaire administrators and development people whose fat paychecks are comparable to the money meted out to star athletes and who are responsible for the dismantling of the American professoriate – a group that very much remains a last bulwark against anti-democratic impulses and corporate domination. Or, maybe Rudy should go after the bankers, who after all are the only interests that profit from the dismantling of the academic Left along with the neoliberal privatization of everything?
I do not like over-generalizations and this piece by Rudy is so filled with over the top generalizations that I must protest. Yes, there are plenty of Chicana/o Ph.D. scholars who have apparently forgotten their community-base; some who conduct irrelevant, disengaged, and even banal research on mostly theoretical topics filled with obscurantist language that not even their postmodernist critics understand. Yes, there are plenty of vendidos who treat their own people as olvidados. However, I also see a lot of fine young scholars in Chicana/o Studies who are dedicated to social action and social change research and many of them are right now active in collaborative research projects with immigrant rights groups, labor organizers, and environmental and food justice NGOs, to name a few. There are still plenty of people conducting research on working-class struggles.
Finally, I will note that in my family, everyone insisted that I use the title, “Dr.”, even though I preferred that this not be the case. My family and friends and neighbors were very proud that I had earned the advanced degree and they relished introducing me as “Dr. Peña.” Ya déjalos, Rudy; this is definitely the wrong tree to be barking at and not everyone is going to use the doctoral title as a puff-up-and-strut badge. However, many of us do need and use that badge to get inside the halls of power as is the case when we testify as expert witnesses in court cases or in environmental impact studies. As my colleague Tezozomoc of the South Central Farmers told me last week – after I submitted a letter to the Mayor and City Council of Los Angeles objecting to a new proposed development at the famous 14-acre site – “You are our legitimator.” I am happy to play the legitimation role and understand that without those three letters after my name, well, it is even less likely anyone in power would even bother to listen; they still might not, since I am, after all, just a Mexican, but it can serve a purpose.
A Scholar
¡qué catedrático ni qué demonios! no eres más que un maestro! 
RUMINATIONS
Rodolfo F. Acuña | Northridge, CA | July 23, 2014
I guess it is because I have never mastered the English language – or any language for that matter – that I am intrigued by the meaning of words. The word scholar is one example of the vagaries of English meanings. In Spanish I am called a catedrático – a professor so I would assume that I would be a scholar — a person who has studied a subject for a long time and knows a lot about the field.
Like professor the word catedrático sounds more impressive than it is.  However, my family had a way of bringing me back to earth and deflating my sense of self-importance.  When I told a relative that I was a catedrático,  he answered “¡Qué catedrático, ni qué demonios! ¡No eres más que un maestro!” (Like hell you’re a professor! You are just an ordinary schoolteacher).
Supposedly a scholar is an intelligent and well-educated person who knows a particular subject very well but who often knows little about life. Without a sinecure he would probably starve.  For my relatives he/she was a person who teaches twelve hours a week (if that) and gets paid three times as much as the ordinary worker.
However, the great irony is that the more a catedrático teaches the less of a scholar he/she is in the eyes of his/her peers. The mentality runs if he is so hot, why isn’t he teaching two classes a semester? The truth be told, the word teacher has been downgraded to the point that some people repeat the stupid saying “those who can’t teach.” The people who say this are usually those who can’t deal with their own children.
The scholar often runs away from being a teacher, and in the fashion of academe they create their own class pecking order. I marvel at my former students – so called Marxists – who make it a point after passing their terminal exams to immediately start putting cremaon their tacos and add the term Dr. to their names imbedding into their persona.
When you tease them about it they answer, “I’ve earned it (the title).” So did my relatives earn respect but they do not tattoo it on their chests. Basically what I object to is the expectations that the title creates.  It sets a context that demands veneration and compels everyone to recognize and acknowledge their official position in society. In real life it is like the service ribbons we wore above our hearts in the military.
Scholars are obsessed with their professional or academic ranking. They unconsciously or consciously perpetuate a pecking order of the sciences, social sciences, humanities and “non-content” areas such as education, which like physical education is a pedagogical field distinguishing it from content areas of study.
The influence of the title doctor is pervasive – just like the label scholar it conditions research topics and trajectories of enquiry. The result is a narrowing of research topics, reducing them to esoteric Chicana/o areas that admittedly have cultural value but detract the field of Chicana/o studies away from working class studies, which it was originally intended to pursue. It limits the questions asked by scholars and the entire field itself, creating an internal class pecking order.
It is important to study and understand the socialization of Chicana/o scholars and the distance that it creates between them and the community. Epistemology is important because it asks questions about “How” what we know and how we know it is logical. The questions we ask must be answered before we can start to develop theories or what course of action is justified. Without this process we remain an inchoate field of study.
Simplifying the epistemological process, it is similar to working out mathematical equations by breaking down fractions to their lowest common denominator. It gives one a coherent pathway for sound thinking.  In order to know the nature of knowledge one must understand that others aren’t always familiar with a subject and that empirical knowledge is not based on books.
A mechanic does not have a doctor qualifying him but he sure as hell has more knowledge than I do about engines. Unfortunately, it is not a problem that we as a community can ruminate about because people feel attacked.
Along these lines it is interesting to read Facebook and read the individual Dr. Scholar Facebook pages and see what so-called Dr. Scholars are saying about the border crisis caused by U.S. policies such as the War on Drugs. Out of ten randomly selected Dr. Scholar sites – two of which were posted by Central American scholars there was relatively little or no comment on what is happening on the border. It is as if activism has been separated from their roles as the custodians of the Truth.
I have to admit that this partially due to the summer vacation. I weekly send out about 4-5000 emails with my blogs. The number of responses from Dr. Scholars that they are on research leaves jumps during the summer months to over 200. A lot of them are on sabbatical leaves something that my Dr. Mechanic cannot take.
Doing research without grants is no longer part of the job of being a Dr. Scholar who has to have extra time to be a scholar. This is ironic since I have met many medical doctors in Mexico who write excellent history as a hobby.
For over fifty years I have averaged six to twelve book reviews a year. They have little scholarly value but I do it because I want to stay current with the literature. The books supplement my activism. So quite frankly I am disappointed with the reasoning in the Dr. Scholars’ books. The research is good but their analyses of the past are weak. Unlike Dr. Mechanic they don’t know how the engine works.
George I. Sánchez, an early proponent of activist research.
I am currently reviewing a book on the influence of Chicana/o scholars on Mexican pedagogical ideas and the reverse during the 1920s and 1930s. Dr. Scholar discovers George I. Sánchez and his role in Mexican education. Thus far in my reading he has not acknowledged what made Sánchez unique which was that he was an activist. The ideas of John Dewey and the rest were important but Sánchez and the Mexicans based their ideas not only on books but on experimentation. Sánchez was a leader in the Mexican American Movements of the fifties and sixties, so much so that I would gladly call him Dr. Sánchez.
As for the title that I most cherish it is Maestro or teacher. I learned more as a junior high school teacher than I did in all of my research. It changed me. So take no offense to my ruminations, I am not a doctor and offer no prognosis, just a teacher trying to learn how the pinche engine works.

Acuña | Critique of neoliberalism in higher education

ts
La verdad sobre el neoliberalismo.

Credit: Portafolio Electroníco Historia II

Moderator’s Note: In his 2005 book, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, David Harvey offers this initial definition of the concept:

Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices

The universities and colleges play a major role in this process of creating the institutional framework for the reproduction of the dominant free market fundamentalist ideology. Neoliberalism is an ideology, and it is fundamentalist in form, because it negates other ways of knowing and being and is based on a religious-like blind faith in the superiority of the market as the best organizational form possible to produce and distribute the maximum social good. Selfishness leads to sociality. Trust the market; trust inequality; trust environmental destruction and ignore the facts on the ground of an economic system based on the ruthless commodification of everything – including knowledge in the entrepreneurial university.

No wonder Rudy Acuña is down on California’s public institutions of higher education, they are clearly committed to the neoliberal path and this represents a threat to academic freedom and working-class interests. In Tenoch, a Mexican science blog, an anonymous blogger had this to say about neoliberalism and higher education that resonates with this post by Acuña:

En suma, es posible que la vigencia del neoliberalismo esté en proporción directa de la confusión de todo tipo que sus opositores tienen y no por qué tenga algo válido que ofrecer salvo las riquezas de los capitalistas y las becas de sus investigadores que son también sus más enconados defensores en la academia y en la elaboración de las políticas económicas que tanta miseria y desesperación están sembrando por todo el mundo. [Trans. In sum, it is possible that the validity of neoliberalism is in direct proportion to the confusion the diverse opponents have and not because it has something valid to offer except for the wealth of the capitalists and the research grants to its investigators that are also its fiercest defenders in the academy and in the elaboration of the economic policies that are spreading so much misery and despair worldwide.] 

Let us also not forget the case of South Central Farm in which yet another Mexican-American elected official, in this case LA Mayor Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa betrayed the community’s creation of a world-renowned urban public space and sold out to the privateers driving the new enclosures. ¡Adelante, colegas!

Our Politicos Have sold us Out

Selling Public Space

THE CHICKENS WILL COME HOME TO ROOST
Rodolfo F. Acuña | Northridge, CA | May 24, 2014

On the one side is neoliberalism, with all its repressive power and its machinery of death; on the other side is the human being. There are those who resign themselves to being one more number in the huge exchange of power … But there are those who do not resign themselves … In any place in the world, anytime, any man or woman rebels to the point of tearing off the clothes resignation has woven for them and cynicism has died grey. Any man or woman, of whatever colour, in whatever tongue, speaks and says to himself or to herself: Enough is enough! ¡Ya basta!

Subcomandante Marcos       

El garrote. Image credit: Tenoch

The lambs have a problem hearing the sounds of the clarion because they lack long term memory. Because of this loss, the Zapatistas’ January 1, 1994 revolt in reaction to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) never sunk in. It could be that the word “neoliberal” was too foreign to the lambs that had a difficult time comprehending that the word takes different forms.

News that University of California President Janet Napolitano began two days of meetings in Mexico about expanding academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities and scientific and cultural organizations has raised fears among many of us.

The U.S. War on Drugs has ravaged Mexico to the point that few U.S. students want to study there. As a consequence, about 40 out of 233,000 UC students study in Mexico each year, while about 1,900 Mexicans attended UC schools in 2013. 

Ironically, Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security was involved in making U.S. drug policy; her visit coincides with that of Secretary of State John Kerry.  According to the UC president this part of the, “UC’’s many and varied partnerships, exchanges and collaborations with Mexico are integral to bettering lives on both sides of our national border … I’m here to ensure we grow that relationship by establishing our new project to enhance the mutual exchange of students, faculty and ideas across the border.”

For over 50 years, the Mexican American community has encouraged exchange programs by lobbying for programs with Mexico. However, many of us have come to realize that just studying in Mexico, or studying in the United States, does not always have positive outcomes.

A Facebook friend, Vicente Ramírez says about these exchanges,

They’re [the UC and CSU] not going to recruit the working class – it’s a class war… They’re recruiting Mexico’s elite students so that they can then go back and apply neoliberal policies. All of Mexico’s secretaries of Economy (Secretario de Economía) and Finance (Secretario de Hacienda y Crédito Público) have gotten their Ph.D.’s from American universities since the mid-1980s. Mexico’s current Secretario de Hacienda, Luis Videgarray, who successfully pushed for the privatization of PEMEX, got his Ph.D. from MIT. Ex-Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, arguably the intellectual godfather of Mexican neoliberalism, received his MA and PhD in economics from Harvard.

Upon hearing about Napolitano’s Mexican junket UC Irvine Professor Rodolfo Torres wrote.

I read this morning that Janet Napolitano is in Mexico exploring academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities. Do you think there is a proactive role UC Chicano Studies and progressive Latin American Studies faculty can play to prevent this initiative from becoming a total market-driven and neoliberal project? My Dean (Social Ecology) also announced at a school-wide faculty meeting that she will be meeting with selected faculty to discuss this US-Mexico initiative.

UC Professor Jorge Mariscal wrote on FB:

UC is recruiting the Mexican ruling class and a token number of working-class mexicanos/as who identify with the ruling class. This process will intensify in coming years as Napolitano struggles to erase her record as DHS/Deportation Czar. One (un)intended consequence will be the slow-motion strangulation of Chicano/a programs in the UC system that refuse to subordinate the local (albeit transnational) to the ‘global’.

 

The revolution will be privatized. Image credit: Google Images/R. Acuña
It should be made clear that this initiative is not about diversity or cultural enrichment. The recruitment is global and it is about profit. When the UC or CSU turns away students the for-profit university sector in both countries thrive.

Neoliberalism at its worse will recruit wealthy Mexican students to displace U.S. minority students charging them out of state and foreign student fees. Not too many, if any, working class Mexican students will be able to afford the tuition and dorm costs.

The current exchanges have had little scrutiny from progressives in this country. Mexico has set a goal of sending 100,000 Mexican students a year to the U.S. by 2018. In addition, the UC and CSU system have recruiters in China, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S. Let’s be clear, large numbers of international students impact minorities and working class students many of whom have already been priced out of the market.

Today, first year students from outside California comprise almost 30 percent of freshmen at UC Berkeley and UCLA, a growth of just over 10 percent in four years. The Mercury News reports, UC Berkley’s “revenue from out-of-state and international students has grown to about $160 million, about 7 percent of its annual operating budget and more than half of its state subsidy.” 

Meanwhile, at UCLA just under 28 percent of the incoming freshmen are out of state students while just over 3 percent are African American. Inside Higher Ed writes that

The number of foreign and out-of-state students admitted to the University of California’s 10 campuses soared by 43 percent this year, while the overall number of would-be freshmen admitted from within the state’s borders grew by just 3.6 percent, the university system … Out-of-state and foreign students made up nearly one in five students admitted for next fall, 18,846 of a total of 80,289.

In the meantime, the Cal State Universities are following the same neoliberal model. Pathetically desperate, the CSU has embarked on a policy of growth. The problem is that it is shifting the cost of this growth almost exclusively to students who pay over three-quarters of instructional costs and almost a hundred percent of new construction. 

This leads to an insidious policy that limits space for low-income students and justifies higher fees and tuition. It gives students who are turned away no alternative but to go to for-profit universities. Recently, a scheme by the community colleges to enter into a contract with the University of Kaplan to offer classes online to community college students (at a substantial fee) was derailed because of public outcry. (Until recently Kaplan was a tutorial center mainly for foreign students).

Education is not a business. Image credit: Google Images/R. Acuña


Meanwhile, California politicos are encouraging an insidious policy of divide and conquer, pitting the Asian community against the Latino and other minority communities. This has led to some Asian American leaders thinking affirmative action will discriminate against them.

I use the phrase “The Chickens are Coming Home to Roost” because the commodification of public spaces has been occurring for some time. The Zapatista revolt should have been a wake-up call; however, our elected officials have sold us out. They seem more concerned with photo-ops and getting elected than they are in preserving public spaces. 

I cannot remember a Latino elected official since the late Marco Firebaugh who was concerned with the state of Latinos in higher education. However, the lambs have to bear responsibility for not keeping the politicos in check and allowing themselves and their public spaces to be sold on the open market. 

Acuña | Critique of neoliberalism in higher education

ts
La verdad sobre el neoliberalismo.

Credit: Portafolio Electroníco Historia II

Moderator’s Note: In his 2005 book, A Brief History of Neoliberalism, David Harvey offers this initial definition of the concept:

Neoliberalism is in the first instance a theory of political economic practices that proposes that human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within an institutional framework characterized by strong private property rights, free markets, and free trade. The role of the state is to create and preserve an institutional framework appropriate to such practices

The universities and colleges play a major role in this process of creating the institutional framework for the reproduction of the dominant free market fundamentalist ideology. Neoliberalism is an ideology, and it is fundamentalist in form, because it negates other ways of knowing and being and is based on a religious-like blind faith in the superiority of the market as the best organizational form possible to produce and distribute the maximum social good. Selfishness leads to sociality. Trust the market; trust inequality; trust environmental destruction and ignore the facts on the ground of an economic system based on the ruthless commodification of everything – including knowledge in the entrepreneurial university.

No wonder Rudy Acuña is down on California’s public institutions of higher education, they are clearly committed to the neoliberal path and this represents a threat to academic freedom and working-class interests. In Tenoch, a Mexican science blog, an anonymous blogger had this to say about neoliberalism and higher education that resonates with this post by Acuña:

En suma, es posible que la vigencia del neoliberalismo esté en proporción directa de la confusión de todo tipo que sus opositores tienen y no por qué tenga algo válido que ofrecer salvo las riquezas de los capitalistas y las becas de sus investigadores que son también sus más enconados defensores en la academia y en la elaboración de las políticas económicas que tanta miseria y desesperación están sembrando por todo el mundo. [Trans. In sum, it is possible that the validity of neoliberalism is in direct proportion to the confusion the diverse opponents have and not because it has something valid to offer except for the wealth of the capitalists and the research grants to its investigators that are also its fiercest defenders in the academy and in the elaboration of the economic policies that are spreading so much misery and despair worldwide.] 

Let us also not forget the case of South Central Farm in which yet another Mexican-American elected official, in this case LA Mayor Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa betrayed the community’s creation of a world-renowned urban public space and sold out to the privateers driving the new enclosures. ¡Adelante, colegas!

Our Politicos Have sold us Out

Selling Public Space

THE CHICKENS WILL COME HOME TO ROOST
Rodolfo F. Acuña | Northridge, CA | May 24, 2014

On the one side is neoliberalism, with all its repressive power and its machinery of death; on the other side is the human being. There are those who resign themselves to being one more number in the huge exchange of power … But there are those who do not resign themselves … In any place in the world, anytime, any man or woman rebels to the point of tearing off the clothes resignation has woven for them and cynicism has died grey. Any man or woman, of whatever colour, in whatever tongue, speaks and says to himself or to herself: Enough is enough! ¡Ya basta!

Subcomandante Marcos       

El garrote. Image credit: Tenoch

The lambs have a problem hearing the sounds of the clarion because they lack long term memory. Because of this loss, the Zapatistas’ January 1, 1994 revolt in reaction to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) never sunk in. It could be that the word “neoliberal” was too foreign to the lambs that had a difficult time comprehending that the word takes different forms.

News that University of California President Janet Napolitano began two days of meetings in Mexico about expanding academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities and scientific and cultural organizations has raised fears among many of us.

The U.S. War on Drugs has ravaged Mexico to the point that few U.S. students want to study there. As a consequence, about 40 out of 233,000 UC students study in Mexico each year, while about 1,900 Mexicans attended UC schools in 2013. 

Ironically, Napolitano, the former secretary of Homeland Security was involved in making U.S. drug policy; her visit coincides with that of Secretary of State John Kerry.  According to the UC president this part of the, “UC’’s many and varied partnerships, exchanges and collaborations with Mexico are integral to bettering lives on both sides of our national border … I’m here to ensure we grow that relationship by establishing our new project to enhance the mutual exchange of students, faculty and ideas across the border.”

For over 50 years, the Mexican American community has encouraged exchange programs by lobbying for programs with Mexico. However, many of us have come to realize that just studying in Mexico, or studying in the United States, does not always have positive outcomes.

A Facebook friend, Vicente Ramírez says about these exchanges,

They’re [the UC and CSU] not going to recruit the working class – it’s a class war… They’re recruiting Mexico’s elite students so that they can then go back and apply neoliberal policies. All of Mexico’s secretaries of Economy (Secretario de Economía) and Finance (Secretario de Hacienda y Crédito Público) have gotten their Ph.D.’s from American universities since the mid-1980s. Mexico’s current Secretario de Hacienda, Luis Videgarray, who successfully pushed for the privatization of PEMEX, got his Ph.D. from MIT. Ex-Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, arguably the intellectual godfather of Mexican neoliberalism, received his MA and PhD in economics from Harvard.

Upon hearing about Napolitano’s Mexican junket UC Irvine Professor Rodolfo Torres wrote.

I read this morning that Janet Napolitano is in Mexico exploring academic and research cooperation with Mexican universities. Do you think there is a proactive role UC Chicano Studies and progressive Latin American Studies faculty can play to prevent this initiative from becoming a total market-driven and neoliberal project? My Dean (Social Ecology) also announced at a school-wide faculty meeting that she will be meeting with selected faculty to discuss this US-Mexico initiative.

UC Professor Jorge Mariscal wrote on FB:

UC is recruiting the Mexican ruling class and a token number of working-class mexicanos/as who identify with the ruling class. This process will intensify in coming years as Napolitano struggles to erase her record as DHS/Deportation Czar. One (un)intended consequence will be the slow-motion strangulation of Chicano/a programs in the UC system that refuse to subordinate the local (albeit transnational) to the ‘global’.

 

The revolution will be privatized. Image credit: Google Images/R. Acuña
It should be made clear that this initiative is not about diversity or cultural enrichment. The recruitment is global and it is about profit. When the UC or CSU turns away students the for-profit university sector in both countries thrive.

Neoliberalism at its worse will recruit wealthy Mexican students to displace U.S. minority students charging them out of state and foreign student fees. Not too many, if any, working class Mexican students will be able to afford the tuition and dorm costs.

The current exchanges have had little scrutiny from progressives in this country. Mexico has set a goal of sending 100,000 Mexican students a year to the U.S. by 2018. In addition, the UC and CSU system have recruiters in China, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S. Let’s be clear, large numbers of international students impact minorities and working class students many of whom have already been priced out of the market.

Today, first year students from outside California comprise almost 30 percent of freshmen at UC Berkeley and UCLA, a growth of just over 10 percent in four years. The Mercury News reports, UC Berkley’s “revenue from out-of-state and international students has grown to about $160 million, about 7 percent of its annual operating budget and more than half of its state subsidy.” 

Meanwhile, at UCLA just under 28 percent of the incoming freshmen are out of state students while just over 3 percent are African American. Inside Higher Ed writes that

The number of foreign and out-of-state students admitted to the University of California’s 10 campuses soared by 43 percent this year, while the overall number of would-be freshmen admitted from within the state’s borders grew by just 3.6 percent, the university system … Out-of-state and foreign students made up nearly one in five students admitted for next fall, 18,846 of a total of 80,289.

In the meantime, the Cal State Universities are following the same neoliberal model. Pathetically desperate, the CSU has embarked on a policy of growth. The problem is that it is shifting the cost of this growth almost exclusively to students who pay over three-quarters of instructional costs and almost a hundred percent of new construction. 

This leads to an insidious policy that limits space for low-income students and justifies higher fees and tuition. It gives students who are turned away no alternative but to go to for-profit universities. Recently, a scheme by the community colleges to enter into a contract with the University of Kaplan to offer classes online to community college students (at a substantial fee) was derailed because of public outcry. (Until recently Kaplan was a tutorial center mainly for foreign students).

Education is not a business. Image credit: Google Images/R. Acuña


Meanwhile, California politicos are encouraging an insidious policy of divide and conquer, pitting the Asian community against the Latino and other minority communities. This has led to some Asian American leaders thinking affirmative action will discriminate against them.

I use the phrase “The Chickens are Coming Home to Roost” because the commodification of public spaces has been occurring for some time. The Zapatista revolt should have been a wake-up call; however, our elected officials have sold us out. They seem more concerned with photo-ops and getting elected than they are in preserving public spaces. 

I cannot remember a Latino elected official since the late Marco Firebaugh who was concerned with the state of Latinos in higher education. However, the lambs have to bear responsibility for not keeping the politicos in check and allowing themselves and their public spaces to be sold on the open market.