Immigration and education

Immigration is a hot political topic, lately – specifically dealing with the Latino population, more specifically Mexican immigrants, and even more specifically undocumented Mexican immigrants.

So many people want to do away with immigrants – send them back to their home country to fix their own problems. What if we’re causing some of those problems? Yup, that’s right – the United States is selling our cheap corn to Mexico, and wondering why the 1.3 million Mexican farmers that have been priced out of work are coming up to the States for work.

Oh, and those dirty Mexicans don’t pay taxes, right? They come up here and make all that money, and then give it to their fat families in Mexico and don’t even have to pay taxes… wait, what? You mean that’s wrong, too? Most of them don’t even make minimum wage, but a good portion of them pay taxes, and even file federal returns. Also, most states have sales tax – every time they buy something, like food, they are paying taxes. Do they get tax refunds? Or the same benefits that legal US citizens get? Nope.

Alright, so perhaps I should get to the education connection before I get shoved down off of my soapbox. North Carolina has one of the fastest-growing Latino populations in the country – 393% over ten years from 1990 to 2000, according to the 2000 US Census. I’ll be teaching in North Carolina for at least four years, and have lived here my entire life.

As a teacher, it is illegal for me to ask the immigration status of my students or their families, according to Supreme Court Case Plyler v. Doe.

In the eyes of a school, there is no difference between legal or illegal immigrants. They are entitled to the same education as American citizens.
The 14th Amendment Equal Protection Clause does not allow public schools to ask about immigration status. Source.

Personally, I agree with this decision – why should children suffer because of the disagreements of adults?

Also, the Supreme Court says that “sink or swim” education is unconstitutional, according the the case Lau v. Nichols – this means that if a student does not know English, schools and teachers are required to adapt their instruction and/or supplement the student’s learning to help them succeed.

I agree with this, too – ignoring them doesn’t make the problem go away, and creating ignorant citizens makes it worse.

So, why all this ranting? Because I feel that our nation’s views on immigration – illegal or not – are generally founded out of ignorance and misunderstanding, and that most United States citizens cannot be bothered to learn the truth.

I intend to brush up on my weak Spanish over the summer, and hopefully I’ll be conversationally fluent by the time I’m teaching, in a year. And I wish people would stop trying to tell me that I’m wrong because I’m “catering to the illegals”. Would it really hurt to do some research and give some support to our neighbors? Really?

2 thoughts on “Immigration and education

  1. lfutbol says:

    well no offense, but seriously…. Bleeding heart liberals are doing a great job bringing this country down. No where did i see sources (your a teacher, right?) and not only that your logic, quite frankly sucks. What if someone speaks german, french, spanish, cantonese, or even pig latin?!! Guess why the chinese never had to petition for equal treatment? They worked their ass off. When I am over seas for work, I learn the language. I don’t expect them to adapt to me. I hate your blog. You’re an idiot.

  2. Miss Fox says:

    I apologize if you lack the ability to click on links to check sources. Perhaps you should also reconsider typing “no offense” and “you’re an idiot” in the same paragraph.

    Anyway, I want to address two things before I have to get to school:

    1) I do believe that students and parents and workers should try to learn the language of the country they are going to. I also know that ours is a difficult language to learn, and that most people coming here without learning it are coming from poor countries where they don’t have the resources to learn the language. Most foreigners I encounter (be they Latino, German, Asian, etc) actually do want to learn English. It takes time, more as an adult, to pick up a language and be able to speak it fluently. Many are desperate when they leave their homes to come here to live in shitty conditions – learning a language is something they will get to when they have the time. It’s difficult to judge when you’ve not spoken with them.

    2) Also, the Chinese didn’t have the ability to petition for equal treatment the way people do, now, so that is a rather moot point. I’m sure there were some that were doing their best, but the reality was very different then than it is today.

    Also, comparing your ability to learn a language when you are overseas for work and a migrant worker’s ability to learn a language are two very different things. I’ll hazard a guess and say that your employer probably sends you, and that they provide language training for you. Even if that isn’t true, you are probably not going overseas because you are too poor to live in the United States, so you probably have the resources and money to learn new languages. I’ll also guess that you aren’t fluent in those languages, but that you learn just enough to get by (it takes many years to become fluent in any language), which is what many immigrants do as soon as they get here.

    Being intimidated by people doesn’t exactly help the situation, I might add.

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