Who made the list of Texans and Latinos at the DNC and RNC?

Texans, Latinos, and yes, Latino Texans. They were every bit present during the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Their numbers may not have been large, but they made strong appearances, leaving memorable remarks.

The Los Angeles Times, which broke down the list of scheduled convention orators for us, found that the DNC had nearly twice as many and more diverse speakers than the RNC. Not surprising.

DNC had 133 speakers of which 43 percent were women and 44 percent were nonwhite, according to the LA Times. Meanwhile, the RNC had a total of 71 speakers, of which 35 percent were women and 20 percent were nonwhite.

So how many were Texan? Latino? And Texan Latino?

LA Times said six Latinos spoke at the RNC and I found more than 20 took the stage at the DNC. From Austinite Robert Rodriguez (in video above) to Ted Cruz, Latino Texans made for some of the most unforgettable appearances at both conventions.

And while the Los Angeles Times did not have a count of speakers from the Lone Star State, at least five spoke at the DNC and three at the RNC.

There’s no surprise to find the lists lopsided in Latino and minority representation. One need only look to the party platforms to see why. The parties differ on everything from health insurance coverage to college education with most Latinos favoring the Democratic positions. But perhaps the most stark difference is on immigration in which Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump calls for the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants and the building of a wall stretching nearly the length of the southern border between Mexico. Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ candidate, calls for comprehensive immigration reform.

So, who exactly showed up at the conventions? Here’s a list — and links to some of the speeches:

AT THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION:

From Texas to the DNC:

  • U.S. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (Houston) | Speech
  • Actress Eva Longoria (Corpus Christi) | Speech
  • Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez (Austin / San Antonio) | Speech
  • U.S. Representative Joaquín Castro (San Antonio) | Speech
  • Sheriff Lupe Valdez (Dallas) | Speech

Latino representation at the DNC:

  • U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva of Arizona
  • U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego of Arizona
  • Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti of California
  • Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, California
  • State Senate President Kevin de León of California
  • U.S. Representative Xavier Becerra of California
  • U.S. Representatives Linda and Loretta Sánchez of California
  • State House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran of Colorado
  • U.S. Representative Luis Gutiérrez of Illinois
  • State Senator Ruben Kihuen of Nevada
  • U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico
  • U.S. Representative Ben Ray Lujan of New Mexico
  • Hillary for America Latino Vote Director Lorella Praeli
  • Civil rights leader Dolores Huerta, civil rights leader
  • National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen Garcia
  • Disability rights advocate Anastasia Somoza from New York
  • Immigration advocates mother and daughter Karla and Francisca Ortiz
  • DREAMer activist Astrid Silva
  • Jose Arraigada, speaking about the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting
  • Singer Demi Lovato
  • Actress America Ferrara
  • Musician Sheila E.

AT THE REPUBLICAN CONVENTION:

From Texas to the RNC:

  • Former Governor of Texas Rick Perry (Austin) | Speech
  • U.S. Representative Michael McCaul (Austin) | Speech
  • U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (Houston) | Speech

Latino representation at the RNC:

  • U.S. Senator Marco Rubio from Florida
  • Kentucky state senator Ralph Alvarado Jr.
  • Libre Initiative spokesperson Rachel Campos-Duffy

 

 

Hate the STAAR? Fine, but what’s the best replacement?

Students take the STAAR test at East View High School in Georgetown on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Students take the STAAR test at East View High School in Georgetown on Tuesday, April 23, 2013. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

For many Texans, the state’s current standardized test – STAAR – represents everything that is wrong with public education. The annual assessments for grades 3 thru 12 have been blamed for everything from killing teacher innovation in the classroom, creating unnecessary stress for students while failing to produce more prepared graduates.

So, State Board of Education chairwoman Donna Bahorich is correct to restart the state’s conversation with a series of public forums to help shape what the next phase of accountability testing should look like. Bahorich is gathering public input for the Texas Commission on Next Generation Assessments and Accountability, created by the Texas Legislature last session to help determine the state’s next steps in school accountability.

As reported by American-Statesman’s Julie Chang last weekend, the ideas from advocates and parents are wide-ranging, including: winnowing down state standards that drive the current test, removing the requirement that students pass to graduation, online testing and replacing high school student’s end of course exams with the SAT or ACT.

But before choosing a new testing regime, educators, policymakers, business leaders and parents need to figure out what exactly the state is testing for. After all, inappropriate use of a single test is what got public education into this accountability mess in the first place.

Seriously, what do we really want the test to tell us?

Are we checking to make sure that an individual student makes progress so they will be ready to enter the workforce or college upon graduation? Are we trying to make sure that parents know which schools are meeting state standards? Are we looking to weed out teachers who do not cover the state’s required curriculum? Are we double checking that students have mastered specific skills and getting early intervention if they are not?

Each of those scenarios require a different kind of test. The inability to agree on a single measure has led to the proliferation of testing, consuming the academic calendar. And when you look at the charge to the new commission in House Bill 2804, it is clear that it has been tasked with accountability’s version of the kitchen sink.

That’s not to say that ideas such as substituting the ACT for end of year high school tests should be dismissed out of hand. There’s a lot to like about using a single, shorter test to determine college or career readiness — which in the end is what colleges and employers really care about. However, end of year tests measure mastery — did the student learn specific material and skills that should have been taught by the teacher – not readiness.

So using the ACT, or a test like it as a replacement test for accountability, which has recently been allowed by the latest federal education standards, would make plans by districts like Austin to use test scores as part of teacher evaluations inappropriate. The broader testing criteria makes it even harder than it already is to attribute a student’s success to a single teacher. It is also an inadequate diagnostic tool to determine what specific skills a student might need to bone up on to improve performance.

The ACT (or SAT) may be more familiar than the current array of alphabet soup test names, however even the old standbys have their critics. Income and parental education are huge predictors of how a student will perform, which throws into question whether the assessments measure a family’s financial resources or a student’s ability to perform.

And lastly, switching to the ACT readiness standard will do little to immediately relieve the sinking sense that Texas students are underachieving. In 2015, only 41 percent of Texas graduates took the test. Of those students 59 percent met the English readiness benchmark and less than 45 percent passed the reading, math or science thresholds.

The prediction is that if we expanded the test to include all students, even those who are not college bound, the passing rates would be much, much lower.