Sunday, November 30, 2008

Feel-Good Hispanic Story Ignores Feds' Failures

It is the government's fault.

Failure to enforce immigration laws directly impacts students in public schools, no matter where those schools are. The Charleston County School District is one of the last to feel the fiscal brunt of an influx of non-English-speaking students whose parents came illegally across our borders. [See Sunday's P & C for a story that puts the best face on this latest anchor weighing down its schools, Embracing Diversity.]

A few statistics reveal the outlines of the problem:
  • "The number of Hispanic students in Charleston County nearly has doubled in the past five years";
  • "In [the last] eight years . . ., the number of ESOL teachers has nearly tripled";
  • "The district's Hispanic population growth has necessitated the hiring of a bilingual parent advocate and a bilingual administrator";
  • "Hispanic students make up nearly half of the roughly 750 students at Midland Park Elementary School in North Charleston, up from just 20 percent five years ago";
  • "[Midland Park] employs a translator, three full-time and 2 part-time ESOL teachers as well as bilingual teachers, psychologists and speech pathologists to work with its Spanish-speaking students and parents."
Schools are not allowed to ask the immigration status of parents or their children. Try getting a number out of district staff for how much these children have added in costs to CCSD? Won't happen.

Probably most of these children are American citizens by virtue of being born in the United States. Most native-born Americans do not realize that other countries do not have similar rules. Do you think you could claim citizenship for your child if he or she were born in Mexico or Guatemala? Even School Board Chairman Toya Hampton-Green seems to believe she could have claimed German citizenship by being born in Germany! Not unless one of her parents were German.

This influx of Spanish speakers adds to public schools' many problems. Is there any doubt in your mind that dollars that could have gone to raising achievement for the children of legal Americans now is spent coping with non-English-speaking students and illegal parents? We are paying through the nose for Mexico's and Guatemala's failures. Do we feel sorry for these struggling people? Yes. Should we be forced to support them? No.

Our local developments spring directly from our federal government's failures, but you won't see the federal government making up the difference.

You will.


Anonymous said...

Meanwhile the rest of us are having to produce every document under the sun to prove our residency UNLESS, of course, we're going to Buist.

Anonymous said...

I guess you don't know that at Buist we have to show our tax bill for our house, 2 utility bills and sign an affadavit saying we live were we live and if we lie we could pay fines or go to jail... do you have to do that?

Anonymous said...

It only matters if there are consequences. When the administration doesn't do anything more than go through the motions, it's only the parents who are mildly inconvenienced. The best deterent is peer pressure, but without peers from within the community there is no effective pressure. Ever wonder why there is only one Buist?

What about the inconvenience of trying to find a good school where CCSD will allow a parent to enroll their child without interference or objection? It doesn't exist for the average parent.

There is no penalty for the parent who cheats at Buist and doesn't rock the boat while doing it. Some officials might reason it's a nice thing to hold over their head should CCSD ever need to apply pressure. When was the last time CCSD made a formal case against anyone within its 42,000 student system, let alone at Buist? Try never. There are no consequences.