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Cesar Chavez

Chavez/Huerta Day

We’ll see about this.

Houston ISD trustees are expected to vote Thursday on whether to establish a district holiday in honor of César Chávez and Dolores Huerta, two iconic labor activists who helped win greater rights for farm workers across the country.

The holiday would mirror Martin Luther King Jr. Day in January, when districts across the region do not attend classes in remembrance of the civil rights leader.

HISD Trustee Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca, who brought forward the resolution to establish the holiday, said the district should recognize Chávez and Huerta for their pioneering work on behalf of Hispanics. About 62 percent of HISD’s roughly 214,000 students are Hispanic.

“We should definitely honor those who have come before us that really fought for freedom and doing what’s right,” Flynn Vilaseca said.

[…]

If approved, HISD’s holiday for Chávez and Huerta would be on the Monday that falls on or precedes March 31. It would start in 2020, as HISD already has established its 2018-19 academic calendar.

Flynn Vilaseca said she didn’t know whether HISD would add one day to its academic calendar or minutes to the school day to make up for lost instructional time.

As the story notes, other school districts including Fort Worth ISD have done something similar. I don’t have a problem with the idea – Chavez and Huerta are more than worthy of the recognition – but I do have a practical concern. Given that this wouldn’t be a holiday outside of HISD, this has the potential to leave a lot of parents without a good child care option on that day. (The same is true for MLK Day, as many businesses don’t close for it.) That doesn’t need to be insurmountable, but it would be nice to get some feedback from the public before a decision is made. I don’t know how much they’ll get if they’re voting on Thursday, but we’ll see.

The SBOE’s assault on history

In my earlier post about the virtues of a pro-science PAC, I mentioned that the State Board of Education had turned its attention towards doing to social studies what it had done to science. Vince gives a great rundown of the so-called “expert” who is heading up the SBOE’s panel reviewing the curriculum. Check it all out, then tell me if you think I’m exaggerating about the need for those PACs I suggested.

In related news, the Texas Freedom Network chronicles the far right’s push to get Cynthia Dunbar appointed Chair of the SBOE, while the new Observer blog The Contrarian suggests that having Dunbar and her out-there in-your-face nuttiness would be better than having an equally conservative but much more presentable Chair like Barbara Cargill. On the assumption, which I’d made all along, that we’ll never get a sane Chair as long as Rick Perry is in charge, I have to concede the wisdom of that line of thinking. If nothing else, the likes of Dunbar will serve as good campaign material.