Category Archives: Latino News & Stats

The Dream is Now


It’s Time.

We need to fix America’s broken immigration system, giving undocumented youth and their families the chance to earn their citizenship.

We move closer to having Comprehensive Immigration Reform!  I just saw the documentary The Dream is NOW and cried the whole way through.  Take the time to see the documentary and sign the petition.  It is NOW  we need to make our voices heard. Call your Senators and Members of Congress to make sure they know how you feel.


Support Immigration Reform & Concepts from The DREAM Act | The Dream is Now.



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New Study of the Crisis of the Latino Dropout rate

According to a new report commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network, more Latinos have seen joblessness rise and wages fall in Chicago with more high school dropouts, even as the ethnicity’s power in the voting booth continues to rise. You can find the link



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Common Core Standards are here and you need to know what they are!

There is a revolution in education and students, parents and teachers need to get with it! Have you heard of the Common Core Standards? The Common Core Standards set up a single set of clear educational standards for English language arts and mathematics for each grade level. Teachers are getting ready to implement these standards in the classroom in the coming years. As a parent and a student you need to know what they are and how they affect you. The most exciting piece of this is that these new standards are designed to make sure that students graduating from high school are prepared for college, work and success in the global economy. More on this in the NCLR report “Raising the Bar: Implementing Common Core State Standards for Latino Success. The mission of this movement involves having clear, understandable and consistent Standards students need to master in each grade so that teachers and parents know what they need to help them. As a student or as a parent you need to take a look at the expectations for the coming year. Click here for the official Common Core standards Initiative, an awesome website with all the information you need to know.

Yesterday I attended a really interesting lecture from the Latino Policy Forum called “Supporting the Success of Latino Students: the New Standards” by Dr. Aida Walqui. One of her main points is parents and students need to understand the economic need to attend college. Without at least some college, students will not be able to compete in the global economy. At the meeting the Latino Policy Forum released a new report: Shaping Our Future, Building a collective Latino K-12 Education Agenda. It is the roadmap and the research that we need to move ahead.

We all need to make education an obsession for our Latino community.

Advise of the week:

• Make a copy of the Common Core Standards for each grade you are going to study.

• Parents, students and teachers together have a step by step plan to make your goals

• Knowing what teachers expect to cover in the coming years will give you the guidelines to help your student or yourself.

• Knowing the standards will help you when you talk to a teacher about how you are progressing.

• The new standards are geared to make sure that you are prepared for your dream of college and to be successful not only locally but globally.

The more you know, the better you are so take a look at the Common Core Standards.


Filed under Getting into college advise, Latino Leadership, Latino News & Stats

New rules for undocumented students announced

Last Friday the news started to trickle out that President Obama had an executive order to defer action on the deportation of young undocumented students.  It was with joy that many of us received this news.  It has been 10 years since the Dream Act was proposed in the United States Senate by Senator Durbin. It is about time something be done on such a travesty.  It is a stop band-aid measure and what we need is comprehensive immigration reform pero algo es algo.

Through the years we have followed the twists and turns of this proposal and long awaited reform.  As educators we have long faced the injustice of the systems that excludes people.  It’s tough to be undocumented and to keep the faith in a country that wants to deport you if they find you. I have seen so many young people losing hope because they are undocumented and this gives us some hope. Some of the most outstanding driven students I know are undocumented. I have held hands and cried with people desperate to go to school and contribute to the United States but can’t because of a number.  I remember a couple of students that discover to their shock that they are undocumented when they applied to college.   Imagine living in a world that you can be caught and torn from your family at any moment.  It still bothers me that the Obama administration stepped up the deportation of one million people in the last 3 years. I am not naïve to understand that the November election played into this decision.  The Latino vote is critical in many swing states  so let’s continue flexing our muscle for the things we want.

Under this directive, individuals who demonstrate that they meet the following criteria will be eligible for an exercise of discretion, specifically deferred action, on a case-by-case basis:

1) Came to the United States under the age of 16;

2) Have continuously resided in the United States for at least five years preceding the date of this memorandum and are present in the United States on the date of this memorandum;

3) Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate, or are honorably discharged veterans of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States;

4) Have not been convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, or otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety;

5) Are not above the age of 30. (From government website)

If you are undocumented student or know someone, pass this advice along.

  • Proceed with caution. It is still very early in the process so ask a lot of questions before you proceed.  This is a temporary measure for only two years. Official information from government click here.
  • Document your presence in the US. Take a class, take some photos etc.
  • Check with a lawyer.  Many people take the advice of friends and family members that might not know what they are talking about.  It is money well spent to consult a lawyer, a real lawyer, not a notario or others.
  • Keep going to school.  If you think about it, this is a reward for staying in school.  Get your GED if you don’t have a high school diploma.  There are programs in your area that can help you.
  • Find at least a class and enroll.  This will look very favorable in your application and you can prove that you were here.  Great time to perfect your English to thrive in the US.

Buena suerte and know that continuing in school will mark the difference in your life no matter what happens.

Ana Maria Soto

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Girls Rock the Mall in Washington DC

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 I have to share with you an incredible experience I had this past week.  I was in Washington DC to take part in the largest gathering of Girl Scouts in history  in Washington DC.  250,000, yes, quarter of a million, Girl Scouts gathered for Girls Rock the Mall on Saturday June 9th at the sacred grounds of the Washington Monument!  My own sister, Lidia Soto-Harmon, CEO of the Girl Scouts Council in the Nation’s Capital created and presented the event to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts!  I was privileged to shadow my sister for the entire day of activities.  Imagine the responsibility of such a large event and she was the woman in charge. During Girls Rock the Mall, Lidia addressed the crowd 3 times, gave interviews to major national and international media outlets, and monitored the safety of the crowd with grace and enthusiasm. WOW! What an amazing leader! I was so proud to have my daughter and my nieces to see her in action. She truly is inspiring!

The Girl Scouts are celebrating 100 years of service to the world.  Women could not even vote 100 years ago!  It took one woman, Juliette Gordon Low to stand up and begin an organization that has given so much to the world.  I share the Girl Scout Law because it has summaries what we all need to do. Find a way to take part with the Girl Scouts by volunteering, running your own troop and having your girls participate. You and your young girls will learn values and leadership skills on a path to success.

On my honor, I will try:

To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,

friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,

respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

As my sister Lidia reflected on leadership her words and actions resonated with me.  Leadership is about others, not you. It’s about pointing to a vision, a better place, and inspiring others to give of themselves. If everyone would bring out the best in others, in making others great, imagine the world we could have. My see my sister Lidia as such a leader.

Congratulation to the Girl Scouts on 100 year anniversary and especially to the favorite Girl Scout of all, Lidia Soto-Harmon!

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Latina Smart

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Filed under Getting into college advise, Latino News & Stats