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On Fronteras: Rally Against Controversial Textbook, Texas Prisoners Demand Air Conditioning

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Ryan Poppe

This week on Fronteras:   

·         Texas Mexican Americans rally against a controversial proposed textbook. They say it incorrectly portrays their history.

·         Should Texas prisoners have air conditioned cells?  They’ve filed a lawsuit claiming extreme heat is killing infirmed and elderly inmates.

·         Some New Mexico contractors are in jeopardy because the state hasn’t paid them for disaster recovery work.

·         An update on whether Albuquerque voters will get to decide if paid sick leave should be mandatory.

·         A jewelry project is changing lives on two continents by giving women meaningful work and meaningful pay.

Public Comments Heard On Controversial Mexican American Textbook

The State Board of Education heard public comment this week on the controversial Mexican American studies textbook. Numerous scholars say it’s racist and has more than 100 factual errors. “Mexican American Heritage,” was the only text submitted to the board for review after it issued a call for text books to be used in high school Mexican-American studies classes.  TPR’s Ryan Poppe reports on criticism that the book depicts Mexicans as lazy and prone to drunkenness. Critics claim it misrepresents history and raises moral issues.

The Story

Texas Prisioners Sue For Air Conditioned Cells

Another controversy brewing in Texas involves the state’s prisons. More specifically the lack of air conditioning during the sweltering summer heat. A group of inmates is suing the state prison system, the nation's largest, claiming extreme heat is killing older and infirm convicts. The inmates allege it’s "cruel and unusual punishment." NPR’s John Burnett reports they're asking the courts for relief.

The Story

John Burnett’s report originally aired September 12th on NPR’s All Things Considered.   

New Mexico Holding Payments To Disaster Contractors 

In New Mexico, some contractors are trying to recover expenses after helping residents recover from wildfires and floods.  FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has done its part by sending money to the state of New Mexico for disaster relief.  But as Laura Paskus reports for KUNM, the state has not released FEMA’s millions to the contractors who did the disaster recovery work.

The Story

Paid Sick Leave Ballot Fails In New Mexico

Should businesses be required to provide paid sick leave? Some advocates in New Mexico think they should and they’ve tried to get that issue on the ballot in Albuquerque. But Marisa Demarco of KUNM reports, a judge denied their request this week.

The Story

Texas And African Women Earn Living Making Jewelry

A jewelry making program originally designed to help women in Africa secure meaningful employment is now helping women in Texas, too.  The Akola Project’s mission is to empower women with jobs earning a living wage and a little bit more.  KERA’s Courtney Collins reports.

The Story

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules