David M. Keepnews, PhD, JD, RN, FAAN, a CHMP Senior Fellow, is an Associate Professor at the Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing and the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center. He is Editor of Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice, a journal focusing on nursing and health policy.
Riding the subway home recently, I noticed a Spanish-language ad placed by the New York City Department of Education (DOE). The ad, part of an effort to promote the new Common Core Learning Standards and exams being given to 3rd to 8th graders, bore a headline reading (in translation) “Higher standards. Different tests. It’s a new day.”
It ended with: “Deseamos prepararlos para la unversidad y las carreras técnicas”—“We want to prepare them [students] for college and technical careers.”
A few days later, I noticed an English-language ad headlined “This Spring, we’re aiming higher.” As I read it, I saw that despite the different headline, this was the English-language version of the ad I had read before. The text was largely identical to the Spanish-language version. However, I couldn’t help but notice that the last sentence was a little different:
“We want them prepared for college and a career.” Note: Not specifically a technical career—simply a career, in general.
This seemingly small discrepancy jarred me: The ads end with two different messages to two different audiences—English-speaking and Spanish-speaking families—about the futures they can anticipate for their children. Read more