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The Finance Club, Hostos Community College Newsletter, "The Talk of the Club" Linda Chavez Visit, 1991

The Finance Club: The Talk of the Club re: L. Chavez

The Finance Club: The Talk of the Club re: L. Chavez

Hostos Community College Archives, HOS_GeMe_B2_36
 
Document Description
Newsletter article from the Hostos Community College Finance Club on a meeting with Linda Chavez, December 1991.
 
Questions
Why did the Finance Club at Hostos Community College have to limit its meeting with Linda Chavez?
How did Linda Chavez gain free publicity?
What is her thesis about the negative effects of welfare and affirmative action programs on Hispanics?
How did she compare the success of Cubans and Puerto Ricans?
According to the newsletter, what accounted for the high poverty rate of Puerto Rican families?
Why was “all the fuss about Linda Chavez” counterproductive?
Would an open exchange of ideas have benefited supporters of bilingual education?
Did the visit by Linda Chavez “prove to be a great experience”?
 
Historical Challenges
Research Supreme Court cases that involve freedom of speech or freedom of assembly. Report on three of them. Are there any limitations to these rights? Has the opinion of the Court changed over the years?
Interview a number of Hispanics and record their opinions on bilingual education and affirmative action.
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Write a persuasive essay either agreeing or disagreeing with the positions taken by Linda Chavez.
Math: Using the Census Bureau statistics mentioned in the fifth paragraph of the document that describe Hispanic and non-Hispanic families, create graphs or charts from the information.
 
Resources
Linda Chavez. Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation. Basic Books, 1991.
Linda Chavez and Daniel Gray. Betrayal. Three Rivers Press, 2005.
Linda Chavez. An Unlikely Conservative: The Transformation of an Ex-Liberal. Basic Books, 2002.
 

 

Historical Context
Born in New Mexico, Linda Chavez started her public career with the American Federation of Teachers as a union official and editor of its prize-winning journal. She promoted liberal educational and political views.  As her ideas changed, however, she became an outspoken voice for the small but growing segment of Hispanic conservatives, and Ms. Chavez became a determined critic of organized labor and affirmative action. As the author of "Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation," she focused on the neglected story of Hispanic progress and achievement while criticizing bilingual education and affirmative action programs.

A controversial former Democrat, Chavez has held a number of political positions, among them White House Director of Public Liaison and director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights under President Reagan. She won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from Maryland, but lost in the general election.  In 2001, President Bush nominated her as Secretary of Labor, but Chavez was accused of hiring an illegal immigrant and the nomination was withdrawn.

However, she remains very active as a prominent print and TV commentator and as president of the Center for Equal Opportunity, a conservative think tank that favors traditional values and the assimilation of immigrants into mainstream American society.

When Chavez came in 1991 to speak at Hostos Community College, a City University of New York school established in The Bronx as a bilingual institution to meet the needs of Hispanic students, she unleashed a storm of protest. Many students and faculty at Hostos saw affirmative action as a positive policy that compensated for unfair discrimination against minorities. They defended bilingual education as a desirable means for preserving Hispanic culture.
 
Essential Question
How do cultural beliefs influence political viewpoints?
 
Check for Understanding
Identify the main idea of this letter and explain why a visit by Linda Chavez caused this reponse.