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 Online Community Lesson 


Why Be Surprised?  We Created This Mess

Thou knowest the over-eager vehemence of youth,
how quick in temper, and in judgment weak.
Homer, Greek poet, eighth century B.C. 

          You might recall the incident at Montebello High School on March 27, 2006.  There is an interesting history on the Internet about the incident, .  The ludicrous reaction by many Americans to our incident underscores points made in E-News essays about incomplete or inaccurate information affecting our judgment. 

          Two days ago there was a large march in Los Angeles for immigrant rights.  Key public officials spoke to youth, asking that youth stay in class instead of participating in the march.  Cardinal Roger Mahoney said that youth could write letters to elected officials.  Mayor Villaraigosa said that students could have discussions in class.  Another person said that it was unsafe for students to be on the streets.  But all the urging and encouraging begged a question:  why would students want so much to participate in a march instead of channeling their energy through other means to effect immigration reform? 

          Certainly, there is hypocrisy among some, if not many, of the youth.  They are looking for a reason to ditch class.  But there are some, if not many, youth who, perhaps with some apprehension, are concerned about what new immigration laws would do to their families. 

          Why would the sincere students choose to march?  Would it be that American democratic capitalism, as practiced these days, gave them no choice?  Would it be that our schools, with their emphasis on curriculum instead of practicum, and theory instead of effective civic engagement, have failed to provide youth with effective options for addressing immigration reform?  Could “No Child Left Behind” and the University of California’s “a through g” requirements be contributing to the civic disability of today’s youth?         

If you answer the multiple-choice questions below and e-mail to with “Lesson answers” in the subject field, you will be credited toward a “certificate of recognition in community affairs” to be awarded in 2007 by a local nonprofit organization. 

1.  Youth choose to be truant and participate in an immigration march because

(a) a march is a social event.

(b) the march affects their families directly.

(c) they are unfamiliar with any effective alternative. 

2. What effective alternatives are there?

(a) Business education which could be applied immediately to help support one’s family.

(b) An elective course in civic engagement.

(c) An open assembly of youth to discuss and recommend with regard to salient issues.

May 3, 2007































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