It’s Famous Friday!

Lynda Carter

Lynda Carter

The original television Wonder Woman and former Miss World USA is multiracial. Linda was born to a Mexican-American mother and a father of English and Scots-Irish ancestry. Lynda is an American actress, singer, song writer, and model. Lynda landed the starring role on Wonder Woman in 1975 and her acting career took off. She signed a Maybelline cosmetics contract in 1977. She was voted the Most Beautiful Woman in the World in 1978. Lynda has been married twice and has two children. In 1985 she left Hollywood to be with her new husband in Washington D.C. for several years. Lynda is a huge supporter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Pro-Choice rights for women, and legal equality for LGBT people. Lynda stated in an interview with Hollywood that some of her best memories were in Globe, Arizona with her Spanish family. She remembers her grandmother would make her a big stack of tortillas and they would make menudo together and it was about eating. Her father did not speak Spanish, but her mother’s family did and she pretty much understood everything. Lynda reported in the interview that over her lifetime she has felt reverse discrimination at times. People did not view her as Hispanic because her last name was Carter. They thought she did not look Hispanic enough due to her skin not being dark enough. She feels people are surprised when they learn she is half Latina. Lynda has always spoken very proudly of her entire heritage.

Project RACE Teens President

Makensie Shay McDaniel

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Ethnic Studies Could Return

Ethnic Studies Could Return to Tucson in Desegregation Plan

Mexican-American studies is poised for a comeback in Tucson. After a years-long, tumultuous fight that came to a head earlier this year when local school officials pulled the plug on the program, a leading civil rights group today announced that the ethnic studies courses will not only return to the school district, but could be expanded.

This turn of events stems from a much broader plan to settle a nearly four-decades-old desegregation lawsuit against Tucson Unified that must still be approved by the federal judge overseeing the case. The lawsuit involves both plaintiffs who are Latino and African American. The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, or MALDEF, which represents Latino students, along with representatives of African-American students who are also plaintiffs in the suit, joined the Tucson school district and the U.S. Department of Justice in filing the desegregation plan.

A court-appointed special master, Willis Hawley, oversaw the plan’s development. This is the second time in the lawsuit’s history that a final settlement has been attempted. An earlier effort was appealed by the plaintiffs.

The new plan—intended to bring “unitary status” to Tucson Unified—involves numerous, highly prescribed components related to student assignment, transportation, enhancing the racial and ethnic diversity of its workforce, access to rigorous curriculum and programs, family and community engagement, dropout prevention, and discipline practices.

In a call with reporters on Monday, MALDEF lawyer Nancy Ramirez particularly highlighted the plan’s restoration of the popular, yet politically charged Mexican-American studies program. In the draft settlement, the district would not only bring the program back to its high schools, but it would have to expand the course offerings to middle schools by 2014 and propose plans to bring “culturally relevant curricula” to students in the earlier grades.

“This is a critical strategy for closing the achievement gap for Latino students,” Ms. Ramirez said.

It was not even a year ago that the Tucson school board shuttered the popular Mexican-American studies program because they argued it was their only choice to avoid losing nearly $15 million in state funding for the 60,000-student district. Arizona’s state schools chief, John Huppenthal, had threatened to withhold the funds because he said the courses violated a new state law that prohibits public schools from offering courses that are designed for a particular ethnic group, advocate ethnic solidarity, or promote resentment toward a race or group of people.

Tom Horne, the Arizona attorney general—a former state schools chief and one of the most vocal opponents to Tucson’s Mexican-American studies program—has until later this month to formally object to the plan.

Also Monday, researchers at the University of Arizona released a new study that found a “consistent and positive” relationship between students’ participation in the Mexican-American studies program and his or her academic performance. The study was done at the request of the court’s special master.
By Lesli A. Maxwell for Education Week