Denmark approves new classification and requirements for low-income immigrant neighborhoods
- The Danish government plans to classify low-income, predominantly Muslim immigrant neighborhoods as “ghettos,” triggering a set of household requirements for the receipt of welfare benefits.
- Starting at one year of age, children will be separated from their families for 25 hours a week for education in “Danish values” (including Christian religious traditions), while other Danish children typically do not begin school until age six.
- The policy comes as anti-immigrant sentiment has increased in the country, with political figures (including the Prime Minister) denigrating immigrant enclaves and demanding assimilation.
“Denmark to school ‘ghetto’ kids in democracy and Christmas” (Reuters | May 2018)
“In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant ‘Ghettos’” (The New York Times | July 2018)
“‘No ghettos in 2030’: Denmark’s controversial plan to get rid of immigrant neighborhoods” (Vox | July 2018)
Discussions of systemic racism in France provoke backlash
- Recent rows in French government and civil society have pitted anti-racism activists against government officials over discussions of the state and other political institutions’ role in propagating racial inequality.
- Journalist Rokhaya Diallo was removed from France’s national digital council only a week after her appointment following a campaign by right-wing activists and officials that targeted her for, among other things, her discussions of “institutional racism.”
- The same use of the term by the teachers union SUD-Education 93 led Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer to indicate he will pursue complaints against the organization as well as for having hosted workshops reserved for people of color.
“French race row erupts as feminist forced off advisory body” (The Guardian | December 2017)
“Blanquer porte plainte contre un syndicat qui a utilisé l’expression «racisme d’Etat»” (Le Monde | November 2017, in French)
“Les ateliers « en non-mixité raciale » du syndicat SUD-Education 93 créent une polémique” (Le Monde | November 2017, in French)
“When will France admit that police racism is systemic?” (The Guardian | March 2017)
The Fall Before the Rise in South African Higher Education
Over the last two years, a new set of student movements has situated the South African university as the site of a contentious conflict over higher education’s role in the perpetuation of racial and economic inequality. As the battle has shifted from public representation to economic access in the transformation of Rhodes Must Fall into Fees Must Fall, black South African students have taken on the deeply entrenched systemic and institutionalized inequality of South Africa’s higher education system. But beyond education, the struggle has called on South Africans to examine the “unfinished business of apartheid,” as one scholar has described it. BuzzFeed News investigates the emergence of the new student movements in South Africa and the stories of those driving its evolution.
“Poor, Gifted, and Black” (BuzzFeed News | May 2017)
“The faces behind South Africa’s Fees Must Fall movement” (CNN | October 2016)
(Image Credit: Alon Skuy/The Times/Getty Images, via BuzzFeed News)
Hundreds of protesters clash with police at campus rape protests in southeast South Africa
- Police used rubber bullets, stun guns, and pepper spray to disperse hundreds of protesters at Rhodes University in Grahamstown.
- The protests erupted after the names of 11 alleged perpetrators of sexual violence were circulated on campus and via social media.
- Demonstrators disrupted lectures and organized the #RUReferenceList and #Chapter212 campaigns to call for a reform of the campus sexual assault policies and trauma services, leading to an indefinite shutdown of academic activity.
“Protesters demand reform following release of #RUReferenceList” (Mail & Guardian)
“South Africa police fire rubber bullets to disperse protesters at Rhodes University” (Reuters)
“Academic activities disrupted at Rhodes University” (SABC News)
(Image Credit: Sophie Smith/Mail & Guardian)
Tibetan education activist charged with inciting separatism
- Tashi Wangchuk has been detained in Yushu, Qinghai Province, for months in secret and faces up to 15 years in prison.
- While Tashi’s writings promote widely accepted Tibetan autonomy, the Tibetan entrepreneur has publicly opposed Tibetan independence.
- Tashi has been a vocal advocate for Tibetan-language education in line with constitutional guarantees to ethnic autonomy.
“China Charges Tibetan Education Advocate With Inciting Separatism” (The New York Times)
“Inciting Separatism Charge for Tibetan Education Advocate” (China Digital Times)
“Tibetans Fight to Salvage Fading Culture in China” (The New York Times, November 2015)
(Image Credit: Gilles Sabrie/The New York Times)
Oromo Ethiopians clash with government over land, language rights
- Members of the ethnic community have been protesting in a cycle of dissent and retribution since November, with activists reporting as many as 200 dead despite largely peaceful demonstrations.
- The Oromo have clashed with the government over land rights as they have found themselves pushed off their land by ongoing urban development driven by the country’s economic boom.
- Language rights have been a particular flashpoint, with the government’s refusal to officially recognize Oromo, the country’s most widely spoken native language, leading to Amharic-only instruction in schools.
“Video: Anger among Ethiopia’s Oromo ethnic group boils over” (France 24)
“What do Oromo protests mean for Ethiopian unity?” (BBC)
“Ethiopian students demand end to police crackdowns in rare protest” (Reuters)
(Image Credit: via BBC)
Disproportionate Suspension Rates in U.S. Charter Schools
A new study has found that black students and students with disabilities are suspended at considerably higher rates than their peers in charter schools at both the elementary and secondary level. At the secondary level, Latino and Native American students join them in disproportionate suspension. The report from the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the UCLA Civil Rights Project spells particular trouble for black students with disabilities and has troubling implications in the fight against the school-to-prison pipeline.
4.1% (all students) vs. 9.7% (with disabilities) vs. 3.7% (without disabilities)
Suspension rates at the elementary level by ability
4.1% (all students) vs. 8.7% (black) vs. 2.1% (white) vs. 2.4% (Latino) vs. 3% (Native American)
Suspension rates at the elementary level by race/ethnicity
11.6% (all students) vs. 20.8% (with disabilities) vs. 10.6% (without disabilities)
Suspension rates at the secondary level by ability
11.6% (all students) vs. 22% (black) vs. 5.6% (white) vs. 9.1% (Latino) vs. 10.9% (Native American)
Suspension rates at the secondary level by race/ethnicity
7.8% (charters) vs. 6.7% (non-charters)
Suspension rates at the K-12 level
15.5% (charters) vs. 13.7% (non-charters)
Suspension rates of students with disabilities (K-12)
7% (charters) vs. 5.7% (non-charters)
Suspension rates of students without disabilities (K-12)
Suspension rate of students with disabilities at 235 charter schools
Years studied: 2011-12
Charter Schools, Civil Rights, and School Discipline: A Comprehensive Review (The Center for Civil Rights Remedies)
“Students With Disabilities Suspended More Often At Charters” (Disability Scoop)
German minister announces proposed law requiring refugee integration
- Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere outlined plans for a law requiring refugees to learn German, allow free mobility for relatives, and accept employment or lose their residency.
- Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel stated integration must be “demanded” in return for residency after ruling pro-refugee conservatives were dealt a blow during recent regional elections.
- In 2015, some 1 million refugees arrived in Germany, and an estimated 100,000 have arrived so far this year.
“Germany wants refugees to integrate or lose residency rights” (Reuters)
“Europe Refugee Crisis: Syrians Must Learn German Or Lose Residency Under Proposed Integration Law” (International Business Times)
“When refugees want to work in Germany” (Deutsche Welle)
(Image Credit: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters)
Sewing Clothes, Sewing Futures
A new initiative is providing Bangladeshi women working in garment factories with the opportunity to earn a college education. Through a partnership with the Asian University for Women (AUW), garment factories, many affiliated with popular global brands, are sending select workers to school while maintaining their pay. Factories’ reputations have taken a blow in the fallout from the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, and some employers are keen on improving their public image through social responsibility initiatives. The Guardian takes a look at the program and a few of its bright young student-workers.
“Dresses to degrees: university opens its doors to Bangladesh garment workers” (The Guardian)
(Image Credit: David Levene/The Guardian)
The Rise of “Family Values” Activism in Latvia
Caught between the Western-democratic values of the EU and conservative nationalists and Kremlin supporters, Latvia has seen a surge in so-called family values activism in recent years. Activists have increasingly targeted LGBT rights and visibility as symptoms of cultural decline, and anti-LGBT sentiment has been connected to wide-ranging issues including the rights of Latvia’s Russian minority, abortion, corporal punishment, and academic freedom. EurasiaNet investigates how groups like Asociācija Ģimene (Family), Mūsu bērnu (Our Children), Dzimta (Kin), and Sargāsim mūsu bērnus! (Let’s Protect Our Children!) have grown their reactionary causes, including the influence of Russia’s hard-line anti-gay, “pro-family” campaign next door.
“Looking at Latvia’s Cultural Fault Line” (EurasiaNet)
“The ABC of ‘Traditional’ Values Activism” (EurasiaNet)
(Image Credit: Dean C.K. Cox/EurasiaNet)
New Mexico university recruits undocumented students as student activists continue to fight for reform
- Silver City–based Western New Mexico University has begun an outreach program to recruit undocumented students, a group known as DREAMers after the proposed legislation providing a path to citizenship through higher education or military service.
- Undocumented students face uncertain prospects for higher education because of their status, with financial aid restrictions and legal precarity constraining their prospects.
- As colleges face declining enrollments, undocumented students have seen their appeal to admissions offices increase, while students across the country fight for visibility and legal reform.
“New Mexico College Seeks Immigrant Students in US Illegally” (AP via ABC News)
“Undocumented students come out of the shadows” (USA Today)
“The Folly of Under-Educating the Undocumented” (The Atlantic)
Indonesian city orders Muslim hardliners to remove anti-gay banners
- Bandung, Indonesia’s third-largest city, ordered the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) to take down banners and encouraged them to leave.
- The FPI targeted boarding houses in the city they believed to be housing LGBT residents.
- The pro-LGBT support comes as Indonesia’s education minister has faced a storm of criticism over anti-LGBT comments and a call to ban an LGBT research and counseling group at the University of Indonesia.
“Indonesian city reprimands Muslim hardliners for harassing gays” (Reuters)
“Minister on back foot over anti-gay remarks” (The Jakarta Post)
“Affectionate gay students should be banned from university campuses, Indonesian minister says” (ABC)
(Image Credit: Agus Bebeng/Antara Foto/Reuters)
Students lobby Portland school board for ethnic studies class
- The Asian Pacific Islander Leaders for the Liberation of Youth (ALLY) have lobbied the Portland Public Schools Board of Education for the creation of at least one ethnic studies class in all 10 of the public high schools in Oregon’s largest city.
- Asking that the class count towards the social studies graduation requirement, the group has called for a course that covers the contributions of Asian, Pacific Islander, African, Latino, Arab, and Native Americans and LBTQ Americans of color to American history and culture.
- Students supported their curriculum-based arguments with data indicating increased academic performance, attendance, and graduation rates for students who have taken similar courses in other schools.
“Students Call For Ethnic Studies in Portland High Schools” (NBC News)
“Textbooks don’t tell the history of minorities, students say. Teenagers want to change that” (The Oregonian)
(Image Credit: Casey Parks/The Oregonian)
British PM announces name-blind admissions and hiring measures, new gender pay equity policies
- PM David Cameron announced that the UK’s University and College Admissions Service (UCAS) will switch to name-blind applicant evaluation in 2017 to reduce racial bias in college admissions.
- Numerous studies have indicated that culturally inflected differences in names significantly impact job applicants’ likelihood of being hired, with those with names traditionally from black and other ethnic minority communities receiving fewer interviews.
- Cameron also outlined new policies to address the gender pay gap, including forcing private companies to publish bonuses, requiring large public sector organizations to publish pay data, and pushing for the elimination of all-male FTSE-350 boards.
“Ucas to enforce ‘name-blind’ applications to tackle racial bias” (The Guardian)
“The perfect name for a job application, based on biases” (BBC)
(Image Credit: David Cheskin/PA, via the Guardian)
Several Israeli cities effectively bar Arab laborers from their jobs in schools as violence in the country grows
- Several municipalities including Tel Aviv, Rehovot, Hod Hasharon, and Modiin-Maccabim-Reut prohibited school staff including maintenance workers, cleaners, and construction workers (most of whom are Arab) from going to work during school hours.
- To date, 41 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed in recent weeks as cycles of revenge killings, protests, and state-driven violence continue.
- While Arab-Israeli politicians and NGOs denounced the restrictions as illegal and racist, the Interior Ministry called for respect and equality without reversing the restrictions.
“Four Israeli cities, citing security, ban Arab workers from schools” (Reuters)
“Israeli Towns Move to Ban Arab Workers From Schools” (Haaretz)
(Image Credit: Moti Milrod/Haaretz)