Monday, April 11, 2011

Resident fired up over migrant trip

Comments 43

April 05, 2011 7:21 PM


The founder of the Odessa Concerned Citizens Coalition is taking a stand against a planned migrant-student trip to Washington, D.C.

Faye Hall said she is organizing a petition to protest a June 19-24 trip to Washington for the Experience in Democracy Leadership Program’s conference. Hall points to Bert Corona, the founder of the group that organizes the conference, as a potentially negative influence on students.

According to the Bert Corona Leadership Institute’s website, Corona “dedicated his life to fighting economic and social injustice.” He founded the Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, the nation’s largest Latino immigrant organization, with more than 30,000 member families.

But Hall said Corona, who died in 2001, had ties to Communism, and advocated violence when attempts were made to remove him as a teacher at a Los Angeles university. She also fears that students, who she said “may or may not” be in the country lawfully, will hear a position advocating illegal immigration.

“We need to help these kids as much as we can, but not send them to learn how to fight us,” she said. “Not to learn more than our kids learn and to learn how to manipulate our legislators.”

To this point, Hall said has only gathered “five or six” signatures on her website. But she plans to take to the streets to get more people to sign her petition, which calls for the Ector County Independent School District Board of Trustees to rescind the approval it gave for the trip at its March 29 meeting.

Hall said she would like to address the board at its next regular meeting, scheduled for April 26. She attempted to address the board before the migrant student’s 2008 trip to Washington, but said she ultimately didn’t get to because she had family commitments.

While ECISD won’t be paying for the trip this year, Hall said she doesn’t like seeing federal grant money go toward sending students to the conference.

Trustee Luis Galvan said he would be open to hearing from residents who are concerned about the trip, but he wants to make sure they are armed with facts.

“Ultimately, this is a positive, valuable experience,” Galvan said. “Just to have that opportunity is amazing. I don’t see how they can see anything negative, honestly.”

In fact, Galvan was selected to go to Washington as part of a Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute internship.

“Having experienced Washington, D.C., is a truly wonderful experience, and seeing government explained on a large, large scale,” he said.

While he said he didn’t have all the information on the trip, Trustee Ray Beaty said he is hopeful that the board’s decision to require the students, whose parents work seasonally in agriculture or manufacturing, to get information from sources outside the Corona Institute will be positive.

“Be sure there is a good balance of information the students are receiving from a historical standpoint and a governmental standpoint,” Beaty said.

Repeated calls to ECISD officials, as well as the Corona Institute to get comment for this story were not returned.


Faye said...

Faye, I caught part of your interview this morning on KWEL. I appreciate Mr. Andersen providing you a public forum and giving his personal endorsement to your efforts. Hopefully this will help getting more to sign the petition you're going to present to the school board.
Faye I've been following this story, and I have a couple of things I'm curious about that might not even be pertinent, and you might not be able to address.
It's my understanding that the children selected to attend this 'left-wing indoctrination seminar' are children of migrant workers. Does the Ector county schools keep track of "migrant children" from the time they enroll and if so do they have the same curriculum as other students? Do they have other special privileges? Is Mr' H. T. Sanchez the one that makes the selections and would anyone know for sure if they are "migrant children", and not just students he chooses to have indoctrinated? Reckon the school trustees verify they are "migrant children"?
Also, do you know if the ECISD has a job description list available to the public. I'm curious about what are all the duties of Mr. H. T. Sanchez. His title ECISD assistant superintendent for accountability and special populations sound far ranging to me. Might be a good position to eliminate to save money.
Once again, thanks for doing what you do, and that you do very well.

Robert W.

Faye said...


There are both federal and state programs for the migrant students... I believe they all come under the Dept of Education. You can pull up scads of info just by entering "federal education programs for migrant students" or "state programs for migrant students." Here's you one link to get you started. And, if I'm not mistaken, the OA had a link on the original article in 2008. I accessed it not long ago. Just to to OA and put "migrant students" in your search bar.

We're told schools can't identify those here illegally but they must under these programs for the students to meet the qualifications. I have to say that all migrant students are not illegal. I know from experience working in the little area hospitals after I retired from MCH that a lot are. But, in this circumstance, it really makes no difference whether these children are legal or illegal. It's the study course we're sending them to for all of those involved. I've just started researching these schools because I originally thought there was only the Bert Corona Leadership Institute and about 300 charter schools for K-12. But there are lots of them and lots of federal, state, and local money is involved. The funds have a history of not being supervised and of being mismanaged. It looks like almost any one can obtain at least the federal funding under what's called a 501(c)(3) tax status. That's non-profit, tax-exempt and they are not supposed to be involved in our election process at all and they supposedly have limited ability to lobby. Well, that's not what's happening. They obtain this 501(c)(3) status usually by providing some sort of education.... helping migrants to learn English is the most common. Then some do a half-hearted job and mainly use the money for personal things. There's all sorts of mismanagement involved. When Bert Corona first started, he used the money to pay his mortgage and buy jewelry... cars for people he liked. The federal government kiinda slapped him on the hand, but they didn't recover any money. And the amounts of money used to lobby are staggering.

I don't know who makes the selections. Working with the kids daily, I imagine they have a pretty good idea of who the kids are. They had 14 go on the first trip. I've heard they onlly have 4 that have any interest in going this year.

I tried to find a job description for Mr. Sanchez but I was never able. I have asked for this information plus the people, positions, and salaries of those reporting to him in his position as their supervisor in a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request to Mike Adkins. I'll ask Mr. Adkins, but right now I see no reason I can't post the replies to my questions in that FOIA on my website when I get it. It's public information.

As for what the migrant students are taught, I would imagine they are evaluated and given any special help they need such as ESL and tutoring although I've heard of decreases in the tutoring program for over a year now.

Thank you very much for showing an interest in this. To my knowledge, this is not being brought to anyone's attention and never has been. I'm working on having it become common knowledge.

Faye said...

Faye, bless your heart you are a mine of information and I for one really appreciate you. Thanks for the info.