More Unfunded mandates for Delaware

In the last week I’ve come across two articles in the news that although they were not tied to each other should have raised some questions. The first on May 16 on CNN.com online was titled “U.S immigrants lag behind in school”. During a time when the issue of immigrants is in the national spotlight I find it funny that more of our state and federal leaders have not learned the math they are “pushing” on our children with NCLB. What the article goes on to point out is that teen immigrants in the US don’t have the required math, reading, and science skills that native born students have. The article ties this poor performance back to two issues both of which should be “no brainers”. First, students of parents who use English in their homes perform better then those that do not; OK makes sense when you think reinforcement helps learning! Second, and this falls under unfunded mandates from our state and federal leaders. Funding for programs that assist in ESL, English as a Second Language, and other migrant programs fall under the Federal Title 1 heading, and these are going to be cut again for the 2006-2007 school years in Delaware. So where does it leave the children of our growing Hispanic population in most districts in Delaware?
I’ll tell you where that leaves us, seeing increasing drop out rates for Hispanics who in 2004-2005 by the DeDOE fact page have one of the highest dropout rates as a percentage of actual students enrolled! So we are losing these children who then can not help their community grow, and those districts involved will be looking at failing to make progress under NCLB. So can you say setup to fail! The students lose and the schools lose as the Federal leadership can wipe its hands of public schools leading to vouchers and privatization. A week after this article was published CNN.com posted another story about NCLB, and the Washington leaders restated their commitment to the law. In the same breath the House passed a 2007 budget that cuts federal spending on education by more then 5 billion dollars, a 7% decrease. Our own Rep. Castle agreed that, “One thing is sure: It’s here to stay”.
So let me see if I can wrap this up in a few words. First, we are going to spend millions on a fence to keep immigrants out of this country, and untold millions persecuting those already here. Then we will cut funding to programs that help teach English to the children of those who have come to this country looking for something better. So we increase drop out rates for Hispanics, and this in turn will reflect on the public schools putting more schools in Academic Review! So we continue to build walls of language in this country, and push more schools over the edge. I end with a previous thought; how is it that the Federal leadership contributes less then 10% of school budgets, but can have that much say.

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About Gary M Wolfe

The Author spent 10 years as a member of the Milford Delaware Board Of Education, and is currently seeking the 18th Senatorial seat in the Delaware Legislature.
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