4.01.2014

What is citizenship?

As the deadline to file taxes approaches, think for a minute about what it means for some of your neighbors. One view from Lincoln
When these model non-citizens are responsibly filing their taxes in a country that continues to refuse to recognize them (unless we need their $), what's the point? You may ask why they are filing at all. It's to be in good standing while hoping for a reform that would possibly provide them a pathway to citizenship, allowing them the benefits they are denied now based on a technicality. I say technicality (legal status) because they are as citizen-like as any of us. They own a home, their kids go to my neighborhood schools (for which they pay property tax), they live down the block from me, Lucia works at a restaurant I frequent, they bought a new car last year. You know: America, right?
My friend Aaron volunteers as an interpreter and tax filing assistant. I am proud to call him a friend. Thank you, Aaron, for what you do for our community. And thank you for speaking for many of us who agree with you, sharing your gratitude with Lucia and Esteban.  

3.12.2014

Effecting Change: Why did USAC Restrict One-Day License Availability?

Problem: The governing body for bike racing in the US made a rule change that negatively impacts occasional amateur racers.

Details:

In order to participate in many cycling events, riders must purchase a license through USAC. In the past, riders of all but the elite levels could choose to purchase either a one-day license ($10) or an annual license ($60, or $90 if participating in both road and mountain disciplines. Either worked for cyclocross). In 2014, USAC changed the rules as follows:
  • One-day licenses are now $15. 
  • One-day licenses are not available for anything but the beginner category.
  • If you have EVER possessed an annual license, you cannot purchase a one-day license. 
  • An annual license now covers all disciplines, and costs $70. 
Why this is problematic:

Let's say I decide to have a baby. After giving birth, I probably won't want to race a full calendar of races, not nearly enough to justify a $70 license to do a race or two. But I can imagine it would feel really good to get back out there for my favorite race of the season. However, because I have held an annual license for the last 4 years, I would be ineligible to participate.

I can think of many examples, but I'll leave it at one. I'd like to hear what others think, too.
 
Context: I'm studying civic engagement, democratic participation, and effecting change in the face of decisions made that negatively impact the less powerful.

Action: This is where I need help. I've seen some pushback on Twitter and a few blogs, but that's not effecting change...yet. How can we work together to point out the negative consequences and hopefully find a solution/policy change?

If you are upset about this change, let's work together instead of complaining in isolation, let action win over cynicism.
USA Cycling has changed the rules regarding ONE-DAY (Beginner) licenses ONE-DAY USA Cycling licenses are $15. ONE-DAY USA Cycling licenses are no longer available for any riders racing as a men's 4,3,2,1, or Pro or for women 3,2,1, or Pro. ONE-DAY licenses are also no longer available for anyone who has ever possessed a USAC license. - See more at: http://303cycling.com/node/6213#sthash.aTwxyfP6.dpuf
USA Cycling has changed the rules regarding ONE-DAY (Beginner) licenses ONE-DAY USA Cycling licenses are $15. ONE-DAY USA Cycling licenses are no longer available for any riders racing as a men's 4,3,2,1, or Pro or for women 3,2,1, or Pro. ONE-DAY licenses are also no longer available for anyone who has ever possessed a USAC license. - See more at: http://303cycling.com/node/6213#sthash.aTwxyfP6.dpuf
USA Cycling has changed the rules regarding ONE-DAY (Beginner) licenses ONE-DAY USA Cycling licenses are $15. ONE-DAY USA Cycling licenses are no longer available for any riders racing as a men's 4,3,2,1, or Pro or for women 3,2,1, or Pro. ONE-DAY licenses are also no longer available for anyone who has ever possessed a USAC license. - See more at: http://303cycling.com/node/6213#sthash.aTwxyfP6.dpuf
USA Cycling has changed the rules regarding ONE-DAY (Beginner) licenses ONE-DAY USA Cycling licenses are $15. ONE-DAY USA Cycling licenses are no longer available for any riders racing as a men's 4,3,2,1, or Pro or for women 3,2,1, or Pro. ONE-DAY licenses are also no longer available for anyone who has ever possessed a USAC license. - See more at: http://303cycling.com/node/6213#sthash.aTwxyfP6.dpuf

2.15.2014

It's not about self-esteem

From Gloria Ladson-Billings, 2006:

"Our supreme reliance on individuals means that we look at students as individually responsible for their success in school. We lack complex understandings of how individual, family, community, school, and societal factors interact to create school failure for some students. It is much easier to explain students' failure by looking at something internal to the students than endemic in this thing we call school culture. Self-esteem is liberally sprinkled throughout American English. Every talk show host, every talk show guest has uttered the word. 'I overate because I had low self-esteem.' 'I allowed my partner to abuse me because I had low self-esteem.' I eagerly await the day when someone says, 'I overeat because I am surrounded by food ads and fast-food outlets that sell nothing but high-fat, unhealthy food, and as a poor person it is more difficult to buy fresh fruits and vegetables and take time to prepare them.' Or, 'I was abused by my partner because he's a jerk who has decided to work through his own shortcomings by taking advantage of me. The society says he should make a certain amount of money to take care of his family. He doesn't make it and I am a constant reminder of his failure but I'm an okay person.'"

Preach on. Say why problems really exist. Think about why it's not your fault. Or why it is.

From: 
Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). It’s not the culture of poverty, it’s the poverty of culture: The problem with teacher education. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 37(2), 104–109.

2.14.2014

2.12.2014

Burning Questions

I'm in a seminar on democratic education this term. It deals with 1. What is education, done democratically? and 2. What is education in a democratic society?, among many, many other questions.

Monday night's class tasked us each with writing for 5 or so minutes our answers to the following questions:

Where does your orientation to justice come from?
and
Where does your citizen consciousness come from?

The responses were interesting. But I'm not going to tell you about them until you do this yourself. Really think about it. Write it down. What influenced you? Where did you learn about justice, and what does it mean to you now? What does it mean to you to be a citizen, a part of civil society, and why do you feel that way?