President Obama

Jose Antonio Vargas Films for Immigration Reform

Jose Antonio Vargas, left, offers sworn testimony shown in his new film, Undocumented.

When Jose Antonio Vargas turned 16 years old, he did what almost every kid his age does. He applied for a driver’s permit. But when he went to the DMV, he got something unexpected: the truth about his immigration status.

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Gates Foundation Donates $100,000 to Franklin-McKinley Schools

Franklin McKinley School District became the first in San Jose to receive funding from the Gates Foundation. (Photo by Marc_Smith, via Flickr)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation granted $100,000 to Franklin McKinley School District to fund startup costs to promote collaboration between the traditional public school district and all its charter schools. The possibility that this seed money can lead to a much larger piece of the Gates Foundation Collaborative Compact financial pie is real, and predicated on the effort and results of the start-up phase. Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Joseph DiSalvo says that in order to radically impact student achievement and graduation rates in San Jose, especially for students of color and those living in poverty, we must work with all publicly-funded partners to reach new heights of high achievement for all. Too many efforts and public dollars are going into litigation in the old toxic model of competition between districts and charters.

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Education and the State of the Union

President Obama has an opportunity to put the spotlight on public education in his annual speech Tuesday night. (Photo courtesy of United States Government Work)

Two eagerly awaited American events take place this week: the State of the Union address and the Super Bowl. The broadcast audience for Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday will be significantly larger than the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. However, there should be no doubt that the state of the National Football League—concussion issues aside—is better than our Union’s.

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2013: The Year in Review

There was no bigger story in local politics this year than the sentencing of George Shirakawa Jr., the top elected official in Santa Clara County just a year ago. He was sentenced to a year in jail for stealing campaign funds, and a new trial on mail fraud begins next year.

The year 2013 will be remembered for its political turmoil, local and nationwide. A former county supervisor went to jail and the spotlight subsequently landed on his political buddy, a San Jose councilman. The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to get married, and the president lied to the nation about domestic spying. San Jose Inside runs down the list of stories that caught our attention this year.

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Getting Covered in California

President Obama’s landmark policy, the Affordable Care Act, has been successful in getting people to sign up in California. The open enrollment deadline for health care through the public exchange ends Monday, December 23. (Photo by Jaime Soja)

It’s been nearly four years since I fought on the front lines of the health care reform battle, eventually resulting in the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare). But that feels like a lifetime ago, as the landmark policy now serves as a punchline. Not long from now, though, the joke will be on the critics.

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San Jose State Icons Set Precedent for Equality Protests at Sochi Olympics

U.S. Olympians Tommie Smith, left, and John Carlos split a pair of gloves and raised their fists in the air at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City to protest the treatment of African Americans in what has been called the “black power salute.” (Photo via AP)

Raising their black-gloved fists in the night air of Mexico City in 1968, Tommie Smith and John Carlos were almost universally condemned. National broadcaster Brent Musberger, then a young sportswriter, referred to the men as “black-skinned stormtroopers.” Bringing home gold and bronze, the Olympic medalists received little more than spite from the country they proudly represented. But the iconic moment transcended sports and politics and time has corrected perspectives. Russia, now the host country of the upcoming Winter Olympics, presents a similar opportunity for athletes across the world to have their voice heard.

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