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Alan A. Aja
Alan A. Aja is an Assistant Professor and Deputy Chair in the Department of Puerto Rican & Latin@ Studies at Brooklyn College (City University of New York). He holds a Ph.D. in Public & Urban Policy from the New School, a Master of Arts in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Sociology from the University of Kentucky. Prior to academia, Aja worked as a labor organizer in Texas and conducted human rights and environmental education research in Latin America. His research and publications focus on racial disparities, ethnic enclaves, intra-group colorism, immigrant incorporation, inter-group relations, Latino political power and race-based affirmative action. He has provided live and/or taped commentary for various media outlets, including CNN en Español, AOL’s Black Voices, MSNBC’s the Grio, TV3 (Cataluyna, Spain), CUNY Television, Brooklyn News 12 and (the former) Air America. Aja’s parents were born in Cuba. He considers Miami, Florida and Louisville, Kentucky as his co-hometowns. He currently lives in Brooklyn with his family, all Brooklyn Nets fans.

Entries by Alan A. Aja

A Better Way to Spend $60 Billion? Expand Pell Grants

(1) Comments | Posted February 9, 2015 | 4:02 PM

Leading up to his most recent State of the Union address, President Barack Obama unveiled in Knoxville, Tennessee a proposal to offer all qualifying Americans a two-year, tuition-free community college education. During his remarks, the president argued that the plan would strengthen the U.S. workforce and make it...

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Why We're Still Talking About Campbell Brown

(79) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 10:10 AM

Over the past two weeks, news about Campbell Brown's Partnership for Educational Justice and the secretive organization's lawsuit against New York State's teacher tenure laws reached a peak. Capitalizing on her reputation as a former journalist and CNN correspondent, Brown appeared on The Colbert Report and other shows...

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Civil Rights or Civil Wrongs: A Closer Look at the Common Core

(46) Comments | Posted August 4, 2014 | 7:56 PM

From the very beginnings of No Child Left Behind, the strongest argument for attaching stakes to standardized tests has been one of Civil Rights. This argument is shorthand for equity in education, an end to the systemic neglect of children of color. More recently, proponents of corporate education reform have...

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Why We're Wrong About Affirmative Action: Stereotypes, Testing and the 'Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations'

(3) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 6:04 PM

Earlier this month a divided Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the University of Texas' right to use race amongst its criteria for undergraduate admissions, however limited that right may be. While the decision will be viewed as a small victory for supporters of race-based affirmative action, there...

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Social Security for the Life-Cycle

(43) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 5:35 PM

As Congress nears the month-long mark of budget negotiations, a recent poll by Public Policy Polling found that voters in key swing states and districts both overwhelmingly oppose reducing social security and support expanding the long-time federal social insurance program. The findings, which run contrary...

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Professing and Parenting to the Test: Education Reform and the Testing Madness

(8) Comments | Posted October 30, 2013 | 5:06 PM

Last week I asked my class of 30 plus first-year students a simple question in review for an upcoming mid-term: In what year did Mexican and U.S. authorities sign the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo? Almost immediately, the sound of ruffling papers permeated the classroom air, with students flipping back to their...

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Segregated Education in Desegregated Schools: Why We Should Eliminate "Tracking" With "Gifted and Talented" for All

(28) Comments | Posted June 17, 2013 | 2:40 PM

In the 1969 Supreme Court ruling Alexander vs. Holmes County Board of Education, a unanimous court ruled that a Mississippi school district "terminate dual school systems at once and to operate now and hereafter only unitary schools." The ruling, a mandate for non-compliant segregationists, was supposed to finally reverse the...

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Refusing Austerity in America -- How "Baby Bonds" Could Expand Social Security

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2013 | 3:34 PM

Cutting social security benefits is under consideration once again as the US Congress and the White House hurtle toward a full embrace of austerity. The rationale they offer is the professed bankruptcy of the social security system. Undoubtedly, reducing benefits from a program that keeps an estimated 40 percent of...

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Don't Cut, Invest! Why the Obama Administration Should Support a Federal Job Guarantee Program

(24) Comments | Posted March 12, 2013 | 12:11 PM

By Alan A. Aja, William Darity Jr. and Darrick Hamilton

In the late 1970s, after nearly a decade of rising unemployment rates and high inflation, Congress passed the Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act, better known as the Humphrey-Hawkins Act of 1978. Signed into law by President...

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If Not Race, Then Wealth: Why Universities Should Avoid Income As Proxy for Race-Based Admissions Policy

(48) Comments | Posted January 10, 2013 | 8:50 PM

In the coming weeks, the U.S. Supreme Court may land the final blow to what's left of race-based affirmative action in higher education. If the type of questioning raised during case hearings in October are an indicator, the Court may rule that the University of Texas at Austin's

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