Editor's note: Editor’s Note: Ray Salazar is a National Board Certified English teacher in the Chicago Public Schools. He writes about education and Latino issues on the White Rhino Blog. Follow him on Twitter @whiterhinoray.
By Ray Salazar, Special to CNN
(CNN) - Finally, Republicans and Democrats know that they need more than mariachis playing behind them to win the Latino vote. By now, almost everyone heard about the Latino influence this presidential election.
The signs were everywhere. Maybe this is the 2012 cosmic event predicted by the Mayan calendar. Now, President Obama must recognize Latino views as he moves forward with economic recovery and immigration policy and farther with education reform.
None of the parties should have been surprised by the Latino vote. On October 7, CNN’s “Latino in America: Courting the Latino Vote” reported that more than 60,000 Latinos turn 18 each month across the country, and we care about more than immigration. When Latinos were given a choice between what’s more important, immigration or the economy, 74% chose the economy.
Obama’s modified DREAM Act did, though, help secure 71% of the Latino vote. Romney’s unclear view of immigration reform contributed to only 27% of his Latino vote.
More notably, the Latino vote for Obama exceeded the national Latino average in some battleground states: 87% in Colorado, 80% in Nevada and 82% in Ohio.
These votes indicate that the conversations need to change. For too long, education reform remained a black and white issue, racially and politically. Our educational system as is does not work, especially not for Latinos. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the Latino dropout rate is almost double that of African-Americans and about three times higher than that of whites.Read Ray Salazar's full column
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) - A federal appeals court on Thursday narrowly struck down Michigan's 6-year-old ban on considering race and gender in college admissions, a ruling that the state intends to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 8-7 that the affirmative action ban, which Michigan voters passed in a 2006 referendum, violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection laws.
The ruling is the latest step in a years-long legal battle over whether the state's colleges can use race and gender as a factor in choosing which students to admit. The ban's opponents say the case could help strike down anti-affirmative-action policies in other states if it goes to the Supreme Court.FULL STORY
(CNN) - A senior with a big smile is wearing an even bigger smile after this weekend’s Homecoming at St. Lucie West Centennial High School in Port St.Lucie, Florida.
Hakam Daley has not had it easy. He has cerebral palsy and has been in and out of foster homes most of his life. But he has many friends at school who nominated him for homecoming king.
“When I heard the message, I had no words to describe,” Daley said. “I was so happy.”
Kayla Donohue, a cheerleader and friend of Daley’s, secretly got the other seniors to nominate him for the court. Donohue said it was important to give Daley this “special experience that he’d remember the rest of his life.”
As they called his name, Daley did something he had never done before: With the help of caregivers, he walked in public.
When they announced that he was chosen king, Daley’s smile beamed brighter than ever.
Surrounded by teary-eyed students and flashing cameras, the kid with the big smile became the most popular guy in school. (Video Courtesy of WPBF)
By Terry Frieden, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Federal civil rights lawyers filed suit Wednesday against Meridian, Mississippi, and other defendants for operating what the government calls a school-to-prison pipeline in which students are denied basic constitutional rights, sent to court and incarcerated for minor school infractions.
The lawsuit says children who talk back to teachers, violate dress codes and commit other minor infractions are handcuffed and sent to a youth court where they are denied their rights.
Also among the defendants were Lauderdale County, judges of the county's Youth Court and the State of Mississippi Division of Youth Services.
About 6,000 mostly African-American students attend grades kindergarten through 12 in a dozen schools in the Lauderdale County School District.
About 86% of the district's students are African-American, but all of those referred to the court for violations were minorities, the government suit said.
The federal action came more than two months after the Justice Department warned local and state officials that they had 60 days to cooperate or face a federal lawsuit.
By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN
(CNN) – Rochelle Ballantyne plays chess the same way she walks through the streets of New York, determined to reach her goal without letting any obstacles slow her down.
The 17-year-old student from Brooklyn is just a few wins away from becoming the first female African-American to attain the ranking of chess master.
"I've never been the first anything so having that title next to my name is going to... it's going to feel amazing."
She crushes her opponents in a sport dominated by men.
Ballantyne grew up in a single-parent home in the working class neighborhood of East Flatbush. She first learned to play chess from her grandmother, who didn't want Rochelle's background to limit or prevent her from reaching her fullest potential. Ballantyne did not disappoint.
"When I push myself, then nothing can stop me."
By Blake Ellis, CNNMoney
New York (CNNMoney) - A year after graduating from college, women are earning thousands of dollars less per year than their male peers.
Women who worked full-time jobs one year after receiving their diplomas earned 82 cents for every dollar men earned. That's according to a report from the American Association of University Women, which analyzed data from a Department of Education survey of 15,000 graduates conducted in 2009, the most recent data available.
While men earned average salaries of $42,918, women earned $35,296 - a nearly $8,000 difference, the report found.
"You hear in the news that [millennial] women are now out-earning their male peers, but what we found in looking at those emerging from college is that there is still a gender pay gap," said Catherine Hill, director of research at AAUW.
By Moni Basu, CNN
(CNN) - She was the first deaf, African-American woman to earn a doctorate from Gallaudet University. It seemed Angela McCaskill was the perfect choice to serve as that university's chief diversity officer.
And she was, until last week when the president of Gallaudet, the nation's leading higher education institution for the deaf, placed McCaskill on paid administrative leave.
Because a faculty member had informed the school that McCaskill admitted to signing a petition that put Maryland's same-sex marriage law to a statewide vote.
McCaskill kept her silence for many days but Tuesday, she came out swinging, demanding compensation from Gallaudet for the stress and harm done to her reputation. She insists she is not anti-gay; she simply wanted to exercise her political rights. FULL POST
By Moni Basu and Daphne Sashin, CNN
(CNN) - It was a homecoming rally to cheer on the Waverly Wolverines football team. They were undefeated this year. Everyone was proud.
Then, in the midst of the cheers and a sea of red and white pom poms came a 30-second skit that, for some, turned an afternoon of school pride into one of shame.
Three white male students involved in the skit made light of domestic violence, and they did it in racist manner, say some.
Two were in blackface as they re-enacted a 2009 domestic abuse incident in which singer Chris Brown assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna. The student who played Brown was vying for the school's "Mr. Waverly" title - a school tradition in which skits are performed and the one that garners the most applause wins the title.
On Monday, Waverly alum Matthew Dishler posted a photograph of the skit on CNN's iReport. He says someone shared the image on Facebook.
The photo went viral.
By Ashley Fantz, CNN
(CNN) - Eleven-year-olds sometimes have trouble sleeping through the night, kept awake by monsters they can't see.
But Malala Yousufzai knew exactly what her monsters looked like.
They had long beards and dull-colored robes and had taken over her city in the Swat Valley, in northwestern Pakistan.
It was such a beautiful place once, so lush and untouched that tourists flocked there to ski. But that was before 2003, when the Taliban began using it as a base for operations in nearby Afghanistan.
The Taliban believe girls should not be educated, or for that matter, even leave the house. In Swat they worked viciously to make sure residents obeyed.
But this was not how Malala decided she would live. With the encouragement of her father, she began believing that she was stronger than the things that scared her.
"The Taliban have repeatedly targeted schools in Swat," she wrote in an extraordinary blog when she was empowered to share her voice with the world by the BBC.
She was writing around the time the Taliban issued a formal edict in January 2009 banning all girls from schools. On the blog, she praised her father, who was operating one of the few schools that would go on to defy that order.
"My father said that some days ago someone brought the printout of this diary saying how wonderful it was," Malala wrote. "My father said that he smiled, but could not even say that it was written by his daughter."
Now that active and imaginative mind could be gone.FULL STORY