- The Washington Times - Monday, August 18, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Education officials across the country are in the process of testing their old and new math skills as annual back-to-school rituals begin taking shape.

On individual schools’ and school districts’ resource ledgers, there are textbooks, computers, personnel head counts, school buses and routes, lockers, desks and chairs, chalk, blackboards and audio-visual equipment.

You know, the stuff that makes a school a school — an appropriate learning environment for the young people who cross the schoolhouse threshold.


And then come the young people — the intended recipients of public education dollars who put those ‘readin’, writin’ and ‘rithmetic skills to the real test.

Who, exactly, are the recipients?

Unfortunately, in many instances, we may not know.

School officials can’t necessarily ask foreign-born children who they really are, and the young people’s caretakers don’t necessarily want you to know.

The headline on an Aug. 18 press release speaks volumes: “Influx of Illegal Immigrant Children Likely to Strain Public Schools.” It was distributed by Project 21, a public-policy collective that focuses on black conservatives.

Forthwith, some of the highlights in the press release:

• The new recipients: An estimated 90,000 unaccompanied children may illegally cross America’s threshold by Sept. 30, and that number is projected to hit 142,000 in 2015. Neither figure represents immigrant children with parents or other relatives already here in the States.

• The new policies: In a nutshell, the federal government has said open all public schoolhouse doors to immigrant children, even if you do not know who they are. And whatever you do, do not ask about immigration status. Period. That public policy was reinforced in a springtime “Dear Colleague” letter that federal authorities sent to school authorities across the nation. The Obama administration threatened to throw down the Justice Department gauntlet if state authorities and/or local school districts violate federal policies regarding education.

A black conservative underscored the contrariness of the policy.

“The sad irony is that American mothers being criminalized for wanting better schools for their kids are black and they pay taxes. Illegal immigrants do not. Also disturbing is the idea that school district officials aren’t permitted to even inquire about legal status,” said Project 21 member Stacy Washington, a mother, former school board member and St. Louis radio talk show host, who was quoted in Monday’s press release.

• The new problems: State authorities and teachers unions have been crying uncle about class sizes, and the new school year has yet to even sweep across the nation.

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