Friday, August 29, 2008

What A Little Education Will Do For You

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This is Teresa Brito Asenap PhD. speaking on the importance of education with Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barak Obama of Illinois, Aug. 18, at the Albuquerque Public Library event billed as a discussion on equal pay with working women.

Asenap told Obama how she grew up with her illiterate grand parents. Her grandmother would ask her every day how she was doing in school and what the teacher had told her. She became a successful educator because her grandmother encouraged her, Asenap said.

During the afternoon’s town hall meeting, at Asenap’s alma mater, Rio Grande High School, in the South Valley, Obama referred to her. Though he said he couldn’t remember her name, he used her story as an example in discussing what is needed in the education system; concerned parents.

Rio Grande's Principal Alfred Sanchez, center front row with grey goatee, sits before several students in the audience.

It seems someone in Obama's camp remembered the Albuquerque Public Schools Administrator's name because Asenap spoke last night in Denver as part of the American Voices Program.

Governor Bill Richardson spoke after having been bumped off Wednesday night’s schedule because former President Clinton and others exceeded their allotted time dictated by television.

New Mexico has gotten a fair amount of attention at the Democratic National Convention in Denver including a speeches by former Attorney General and Co-Chair of the Party’s Platform Committee Patsy Madrid and Rep. Tom Udall and U.S. Senate candidate Tom Udall.

So what’s wrong with this picture?

Back in June, during his third of four visits to the state during this campaign, Obama held a town hall meeting with working women as he listened to first lady Barbara Richardson. It was shortly after he clinched the nomination from his final rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton. Many of her supporters were upset and the Obama campaign was trying to address women directly.

Lt Gov. Diane Denish, left, who had been a strong supporter of Clinton, once Richardson resigned his candidacy, introduced Obama to about 30 employees of the local Flying Star Café.

I noticed that the group represented a narrow segment of women who work for owner Jean Bernstein, above.

Other than when I go to my local Flying Star Café, the mostly young group didn’t resemble the women I know. I was going to write about that, but a couple of collogues thought I was making something out of nothing. I asked several of the employees of the Café if they had the opportunity to go to the Obama event; they hadn’t. The story I got was that the women were told there were two criteria for being selected to attend; their political views and affiliation were not one of them, they had to make less than $40,000 and have at least one child.

Then last week, Obama held another session, this time with 50 women; they looked like those I thought missing at the Café event.

However, the two meetings with women seemed to make me wonder what Albuquerque men might have had to offer.

No doubt Asenap's grand parents would have believed her education has taken her to great heights.

I offer Peter St. Cyr's "What's the Word" for some of the best blog coverage from Denver.

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