The impact of illegal immigration on US public schools is a topic largely broached from a dollars and cents perspective. Breitbart News quoted Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector projecting that with the President’s executive action, it will cost taxpayers nationwide upwards of $2 trillion over these amnesty recipients lifetimes.
However, long before Obama’s amnesty, several respected think tanks examined the effects illegal immigration had on the education system. Their findings suggested that the crisis was far bigger than just the financial aspects, it was academic, too.
In 2008, Judicial Watch pointed out that even though cities have passed ordinances to stave off the devastating toll of illegal immigration on the system, public schools nationwide do not have that ability. They cannot opt out. It is federal law that they provide a free education to all K-12 youngsters regardless of their immigration status, which Breitbart Texas has reported. Public schools have no recourse against illegal immigration, any influxes, or the amnesty.
At the time, California had the highest percentage of illegal immigrants in public education and it cost the taxpayers $7.7 billion. Texas followed at $3.9 billion. Today, those figures are $14.4 billion for California and $8.5 billion for the Lone Star state, Breitbart Texas reported.
Many of those students required assistance with the English language. Judicial Watch estimated it cost Texas property taxpayers in 2008 nearly $6,000 a year to educate each student. Additionally, districts shelled out more than $1.5 million annually to pay extra for these harder to find bilingual teachers who had requisite credentials.
The article stated, “Illegal immigrants are well aware of the free education perks and admit they are a big incentive to enter the country illegally.”
The conservative watchdog organization also underscored the alarming $12 billion annually shouldered by the American taxpayer for educating illegals aliens and their often anchor babies. The nation’s tab jumped to $39 billion by 2013.
Judicial Watch contended that the longstanding and ever-increasing introduction of an immigrant population with so many assimilation hurdles “contributed to an overall lowering of academic standards across the board.”
They would come to that conclusion after taking a look at Texas public schools, which they did because of a huge jump in illegal immigrant Hispanic students “with dismal Mexican and Central American education histories.”
They highlighted the Irving Independent School District (ISD) in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. In 2008, it had one of the nation’s largest increases of illegal immigrant students.
“It has suffered one of the nation’s largest increases — 63% of illegal immigrant students in the last year compared to a 33% increase in 1995. Irving’s superintendent said it was “tough to bring so many students with such poor schooling up to state and federal standards,” according to the Judicial Watch article.
They also emphasized that Mexican government statistics revealed that only 58% of Mexicans 15 and older had some elementary school education and working with them requires slowing down and teaching the very basics.
Ironically, in 2014, Rector pointed out similarly in the Breitbart News article when he said, “you are taking 4 million people with a 10th grade education and giving them access to the largest entitlement and welfare system in the globe.”
Many of the students that attended Irving ISD campuses had not been in a classroom for years and educating them was an ongoing uphill battle, also depleting public resources.
Other services beyond English Language Learners (ELL) are often needed — counseling, public health and safety issues, overcrowded classrooms, social services, and the emotional strain on communities that exacerbate fears with gangs, Breitbart Texas reported.
2009 statistics from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) showed that taxpayers also spent over $440 million on English instruction classes for the undocumented children.
Houston was one of several cities where a local district created schools specifically for such children — and all these children were eligible for free or reduced lunches under the federal school lunch program.
This placed a huge burden on local districts and states — many of which already were struggling to provide a good education for the children who lived there legally, said Judicial Watch.
A 2010 report by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), an independent nonprofit, examined California’s immigrant population (legal and illegal) from 1970-2008 when it tripled from 9 percent to 27 percent, according to the New American.
These disturbing findings lent further credence to Judicial Watch’s assertion that educating undocumented school aged children has academically depleted the system.
CIS found that California had been transformed from a state that traditionally did not have a disproportionately large unskilled population “like Appalachia or parts of the South” had to the least-educated labor force in the nation by 2008.
That meant, it ranked at 50 out of 50 states with workers who did not have a high school education. CIS highlighted that the change had significant implications for California.
In 1970, California was the 7th most educated work force in the nation. In 2005, the Golden state’s education rankings K-12 were at 46 out of 50. Over the next few years, it hovered between 47 and 49 on the education state rankings from Morgan Quitno Press.
By 2009, a California Education Opportunity report placed California 48 out of 50 in high school seniors who went onto four-year college. They attributed the large relative decline in education in California as a direct result of illegal immigration.
In “Without immigrants, the share of California’s labor force that has completed high school would be above the national average,” the study stated.
Despite every federally mandated program designed to close achievement gaps, the CIS found there was no indication that California would close the educational gap anytime soon.
In 2014, FAIR reported annual costs to California taxpayers at $25.3 billion a year. That’s for three million illegal aliens and their 1.1 million U.S.-born children. Every California taxpaying household pays an average of $2,370 annually to fund K-12 education, according to The Fiscal Burden of Illegal Immigration on California Taxpayers.
Today, the states with the largest shares of illegal immigrant students in their schools are Nevada (17.7%), California (13.2%), Texas (13.1%) and Arizona (11.0%), according to findings from the Pew Research Center.
Now, with the President’s executive amnesty, 1.1 million immigrant parents are eligible to remain in the United States, Breitbart California reported, also according to Pew. Texas ranked second with 560,000 immigrant parents who qualify.
Interestingly, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) acknowledged a huge cultural hurdle for these youngsters in the classroom. In Building Our Understanding – Cultural Insights, Communicating with Hispanics/ Latinos, they wrote, “Hispanics come from a collectivistic culture where group activities are dominant, responsibility is shared, and accountability is collective. Because of the emphasis on collectivity, harmony and cooperation among the group tends to be emphasized more than individual function and responsibility.”
Today’s educational embrace of project-based learning, the John Dewey inspired community organized classroom, promotes a collaborative learning style. This methodology is endemic to Common Core and non-Common Core states.
Based on the CDC’s report, the transformed classroom should be a good fit for these youngsters. It isn’t. In Common Core states, neither American nor Hispanic kids are faring well. The undocumented are actually lagging behind even worse, Breitbart News reported.
In fact, not only is the Hispanic population struggling with Common Core, Hispanic publication Voxxi found that these controversial standards have done nothing to close the achievement gaps between low-income black and Hispanic and white middle-class students, which was what its developers and proponents asserted was its purpose.
Equally dismal, like the CIS report said of California, Voxxi did not think that this would happen in going forward either.
Illegal immigration has been the importation of poverty and little education from the third into the first world. All the mandated equity reform from the college and career readiness education industrial complex does not appear to be remedying the matter either.
A broken education system, illegal immigration and now amnesty — it has been going on for a long time. Perhaps, this is why Judicial Watch called the situation a “public education crisis with no end in sight.”
Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.