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Countdown to the DML Competition Winners' Showcase: Day 34 Antero Garcia Responds

Antero Garcia, a 2008 DML Competition winner for Black Cloud, is a US Department of Education Classroom Teaching Fellow. Following President Obama's State of the Union address, Antero's response caught Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's attention: 

President Obama clearly signaled his support for education in his State of the Union Address. In a blog post for, Antero Garcia, a Classroom Teaching Fellow for the U.S. Department of Education, explains what the President's message means to him as a teacher:

Like millions of Americans, I watched President Obama's State of the Union Address Tuesday. I watched it particularly with hopes that his words and vision would speak directly to me and to the ninth graders I teach every day at Manual Arts High School in South Central Los Angeles.

With shootings at two schools in Los Angeles last week, many of my colleagues anticipating being laid off at the end of the year, and student achievement showing only marginal change at my inner-city high school, the atmosphere in public education has been one of perseverance through discouragement and setback.

As the president listed the many things that will strengthen the country in his forthcoming budget proposal, I was continually reminded that none of these items is possible without an improved educational foundation. The "hard work and industry" that will drive the country toward prosperity can be achieved only by reaching out to Kimberly and Michael in my homeroom class each morning. Likewise, discussing the future of America's science and engineering, I couldn't help but think of Jessica and De Andre and Carlos -- the students who are as inspiring as they are challenging every day. These are the youthful faces I see when Obama speaks of making sure America is "poised for progress."

The president then offered a sobering view of education today and the challenges we are facing "that have been decades in the making." As a teacher in a high poverty community with a dropout rate of more than 60 percent, I am reminded daily of these challenges. I feel like I know all too well how inconsistency, chaotic shifts in personnel and shifting educational agendas have all but decimated student achievement for the black and Latino students who are the sole demographic populations at my high school.

(Click here to see the rest of Antero's article on Huffington Post.) Antero Garcia is a panelist presenting at the DML Conference.

Antero Garcia is U.S. Department of Education Classroom Teaching Fellow, a UCLA doctoral candidate, and a high school English teacher at Manual Arts High School in South Central Los Angeles, Calif.


Countdown to the 2010 DML Competition Showcase features Where Are They Now? updates on the 2008, 2009, and 2010 winners. The 2010 DML Competition winners will showcase their projects at the Designing Learning Futures DML Conference on March 4, 2011 in Long Beach, California.


Visit our DML Countdown page to view more updates from featured projects.


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