While the Iraq War bogs down in the mush of bombs and blood, Lou Dobbs' big topic right now is Illegal Immigrants. In today's terminology, Dobbs is always "dissing" public education. His general line of talk about public school is, "... it works for our middle class but for the poor, it is failing miserably." I say, "Not so fast Lou. You are just the anchor and not the professional, here." We have to throw in too many variables when it comes to student failures than just the school, curricula, or teachers.
I've been appalled at the Bush Administration ignoring public education. But, what can we expect when we have a government that started a war and then became bogged down into a politically, unethical course of denial. As I watch CNN right now, the anchor and the "expert" are discussing the "Theater Of War." In fact, if we were to turn to any of our cable outlets where news is handled, the war is what sucks-up almost all of the air-time. And believe it or not, most of our troops, I would bet, joined the military to get out of their spiralling fall into the meat flipper minimum wage at McDonalds or the shelver at WalMart career. Actually, ... there are upwardly mobile jobs in both of those industries, but those jobs come with a minimum of a college degree, otherwise the worker can only look at "head of the shift" or "charge of the department."
Immigrants go where the jobs are. We used to have many Mexicans working full time around and in our school district. Unfortunately, those jobs have vanished. We had a peanut milling company that hired undocumented Mexicans, but, like all other companies, they had to down-size to just one Texas unit, and most of those workers were laid off or moved there with the company. Those Mexicans had their families here, and we've seen their students graduate with honors and go on to graduate from college. Personally, ... I would much prefer working with the Mexican families than the families who has one or both parents involved in drugs, and believe me our schools have way too many of those students. Also, I would rather work with Mexican families than with right-wing political and religious fanatics.
As long as the Iraq War is tearing families apart, the public schools will be dealing with thousands of children who would be considered as victims of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Iraq has lost thousands of their children, and our children are paying for it, with absentee parents.
I know, I know, everybody starts jumping down my case about English should be recognized as THE LANGUAGE in the United States. Big deal. It already is. It is not for the students that a teacher should learn Spanish, it is for the parents. Their Mexican students will learn to speak English, ... within the first year. I sure could have used Spanish over my 34 years. The neat thing about Mexican families is that they "appreciate" a public education for their children and will treat our teachers wonderfully. Some of greatest memories are those in which I dealt with non-English speaking, Mexican parents.
There is plenty of work in rural United States that could sustain a Mexican family. Unfortunately, Mexicans head for big cities or huge corporate farming to find their day jobs. It is almost impossible for local, farmers to find full time hired hands. With a house provided, a poor Mexican family would be far better off working for a farmer than living in poverty in Mexico. The problem, though, is and always will be health insurance for the family. Mexican children do quite well in public school, if their parents are educationally supportive. Extra money is available for schools in the form of Immigrant Students Assistance. Whether immigrant children are successful in public schools has more to do with the families than the schools. Most Mexican families find our U.S. public schools a godsend, that isn't available in Mexico.
Getting Mexican families involved in adult programs offered by the school is important. The difficulty for the immigrants has to do with the inability to offer their children opportunities to read, at home, with the ability to correct reading errors. After-school programs for English As A Second Language (ESL) adults are successful, if the parents get involved and when the whole family is present. No Child Left Behind, forces these newly speaking students, to have to take tests when they simply are not ready. The Iraq War is taking the government's eye on our children. Can anyone on this forum name our Secretary of Education?
Illegal Mexican immigrants can really become vitally important for small-town United States, if their children get involved in sports or non-sports school activities. Remember, Eduardo Najera #21 , a professional basketball player for the Denver Nuggets was recruited by Oklahoma University and now is a hero, not only to Mexican Americans, but also the entire country of Mexico. Dealing positively rather than negatively with immigrants can be a perfect fit for small towns in our country, in dealing with the Mexican immigrants. Of course, immigrant education doesn't begin to touch students who come from violence, drug, and crime ridden environments. Great schools grow from roots up, not leaves down.