Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blogging Comments on Immigration and Education

I made a comment over at Independent Alaskan. It got fairly long and required a fair amount of time, so I thought I'd post my response here too. Independent Alaskan wrote about Gil Sanchez running for the Anchorage School Board. Rocknak commented:

Well, if this happens, I'm sure he will do whatever he can to make it easier for the illegal children in the district to make it through the system. Thank you NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND. Let's see how dumbed down our schools can get!

Here are some facts for taxpayers:

The ASD bilingual department currently serves about 4,700 students, plus there are another 2500 that "exited" the system last year who need to be monitored for two years. The current budget for this year is $11,015,820. It goes up to $11.77 million next year.

That 11.77 million would be a great help to the thousands of underpriviledged American children in this state.



It's pretty common for humans everywhere to divide people into us and them and then to pick facts that reinforce the how them are screwing over us. So here was my response to Rocknak:

Rocknak, here are some different facts for taxpayers:

The average home value in Anchorage is $275,999. We pay about 7/10 of one % of home value for ASD. I calculated this from the How to Read a Tax Bill page on the muni website.
So the average household that pays direct property tax (not people renting who pay it through their rent) pays about $1,855 a year to the School District. I would also note that a portion of the bilingual education money is federal money, not from Anchorage property taxes. So the $11 million that you cite, Rocknak, wouldn't all be available if you cut the program to use the money elsewhere.

Now, if you have kids or grandkids, and most households in Anchorage do, that's an incredible deal. The Northern Academy tuition in Anchorage ranges around $12,000 (varies by grade levels). I couldn't find the tuition for Anchorage Christian Schools on their website.

But even if you don't have kids, the community advantages of kids having a public education available are significant, even if we only talk about the crime rate if large numbers of kids never went to school.

And let's remember that when comparing costs of private and public schools, that private schools don't have to admit the most expensive kids (one's with various severe disabilities - physical, mental, social, or emotional). And when comparing test scores of private and public students let's also remember (in addition to not having to keep 'problem' kids) private schools have kids whose parents care enough to pay more for them to go to private school and parental interest is a big factor in how kids do in school.

And some more facts. Rocknak suggests that we should reallocate the money we spend on "non-American" kids to "American kids." The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Anchorage households spend an average of $529 a year on alcoholic beverages. That's 28%, or more than 1/4, of what my calculations above show they pay for ASD through their property tax. But I guess Rocknak thinks that it's better to take the money from the bilingual program rather than dipping into his beer money. I'm not saying we shouldn't consume alcohol, but when we compare how money is spent, we often restrict our comparisons. Why just look at other ASD expenditures? Why not look at all the other uses of our money? According to the same BLS list, Anchorage per household expenditures on entertainment were $4,297, more than twice the national average, and more than twice what we pay ASD through taxes.

Another way of responding to Rocknak is to ask: what is the difference between an American child and a non-American child?

What causes someone born in the US to be worthy of special privileges that someone, say born in Brazil, shouldn't have? Maybe Americans shouldn't be allowed to listen to Bossa Nova music since they weren't born in Brazil. It's just an accident of fate that one human soul gets born in the US as opposed to somewhere else. A human child is a human child. Why should a selfish, lazy American citizen (no I'm not saying all Americans are like that, it's an example) have more opportunities than a public spirited, hard-working non-American? (Nor am I suggesting all non-Americans are saints.) I'm just pointing out that in terms of human rights, national boundaries are completely artificial and change frequently over history. The US took most of California, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona by military force from Mexico, for example. That raises other questions about who the illegal residents of those states really are.

And in your calculation Rocknak, you didn't distinguish between the American kids (legal US citizens born in the US) who get bilingual aid. I would guess that many if not most of the kids in the program are American citizens. So, the money spent on them IS money spent on underprivileged Americans. Though not all of them are underprivileged, just like the kids in speech or other special ed programs are not necessarily underprivileged.

The issue shouldn't be, take the money from these kids and give it to another group. The issue should be how do we pay for a reasonable education for all the kids. And it isn't just the kids that 'get' the education. We all get the collective benefits of kids who do well in school, feel good about themselves (and thus aren't as likely to cause trouble), and who can eventually make positive contributions to our community and society. If you don't believe that look at the economies of countries where kids don't get access to education.

5 comments:

  1. Nothing you said had anything to do with the point I was making.
    Thank you for the typical liberal attempt to make this issue America's fault.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rocknak,

    I took your comments seriously and responded seriously. I don't see that you have done the same. Perhaps you can
    1) explain the point you were making that you say I missed completely, and
    2) identify exactly where I said "it" was the fault of the US. You might also explain what 'it' is, since I'm not sure what 'it' refers to.

    I thought your comment at Independent Alaskan was about the fact that bilingual education was costing the ASD $11 million and that the money would be better spent on "American" kids. I pointed out that
    a) Much of that money is federal money so if the program were cut, most of the money would be lost to the ASD and couldn't be spent on other, American, kids,
    b) Many if not most of the kids in the program are actually US citizens.

    I probably was a little long winded about how I said it, and I added a some other context, but I don't see how you can say that I said the problem was America's fault. The problem of how to allocate ASD money is a local Anchorage problem. Or does saying it uses federal money what you mean that I'm blaming the US?

    If you're serious about having a discussion and enlightening me and perhaps even yourself, then explain. If you're just interested in venting your anger, please find another place to do that.

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  3. Steve, I think the main problem is that when it comes to immigration and race, many people get too emotional over the issue and people who are partisan, as it seems to be the case here, become blinded by their rage and negative emotions. Nothing that you and I will say, will change this person's mind.

    I think this is fueled by the media's downpour. I can't turn on CNN without hearing he word immigration in a negative way every 20 minutes or so.

    Sadly, history does repeat itself. This has happened before and will continue to happen. The players and nations change, but the trend is always the same.

    If our country is headed to recession, and things are pointing that way, things will not get better. Immigrants tend to be the first ones blamed for the economic woes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'll be more than happy to respond, and I'll try to be more professional and less condiscending than you were.


    The average home value in Anchorage is $275,999. We pay about 7/10 of one % of home value for ASD. I calculated this from the How to Read a Tax Bill page on the muni website.
    So the average household that pays direct property tax (not people renting who pay it through their rent) pays about $1,855 a year to the School District. I would also note that a portion of the bilingual education money is federal money, not from Anchorage property taxes. So the $11 million that you cite, Rocknak, wouldn't all be available if you cut the program to use the money elsewhere.

    I have no idea why you found it necessary to break down the taxes for the Anchorage homeowner?? What in the world does that have to do with my point? It doesn't matter whether it's Anchorage taxpayers or American taxpayers, who, by the way, pay into the Federal system! If our language program wasn't getting those Federal funds maybe it would be used in a program to help poor American families or American elderly, or American homeless Veterans. Maybe that money could be used to help some of the native Alaskans in poor villages that don't have running water.

    But even if you don't have kids, the community advantages of kids having a public education available are significant, even if we only talk about the crime rate if large numbers of kids never went to school.

    I think what you are trying to say here is that we need to pay for the education of illegal alien children so they won't commit crime? So, if I understand you correctly, taxpayers need to pay to prevent crime by the children of poeple who are here illegally (which is a crime). This is a joke right?


    And let's remember that when comparing costs of private and public schools, that private schools don't have to admit the most expensive kids (one's with various severe disabilities - physical, mental, social, or emotional). And when comparing test scores of private and public students let's also remember (in addition to not having to keep 'problem' kids) private schools have kids whose parents care enough to pay more for them to go to private school and parental interest is a big factor in how kids do in school.

    I have no idea what the point of this paragraph is. Sorry.


    And some more facts. Rocknak suggests that we should reallocate the money we spend on "non-American" kids to "American kids." The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Anchorage households spend an average of $529 a year on alcoholic beverages. That's 28%, or more than 1/4, of what my calculations above show they pay for ASD through their property tax. But I guess Rocknak thinks that it's better to take the money from the bilingual program rather than dipping into his beer money. I'm not saying we shouldn't consume alcohol, but when we compare how money is spent, we often restrict our comparisons. Why just look at other ASD expenditures? Why not look at all the other uses of our money? According to the same BLS list, Anchorage per household expenditures on entertainment were $4,297, more than twice the national average, and more than twice what we pay ASD through taxes.


    There is so much hate and condescension in this paragraph I don't know where to begin. First of all, I DO NOT drink, so that was a waste of your assumption making time. If I did, it certainly isn't YOUR right or anyone else's to ask me to give up something I enjoy so the government can take MY hard earned money to pay for the education of someone who has broken the law! I think Americans do enough of that paying for our prison population!


    Another way of responding to Rocknak is to ask: what is the difference between an American child and a non-American child?

    What causes someone born in the US to be worthy of special privileges that someone, say born in Brazil, shouldn't have? Maybe Americans shouldn't be allowed to listen to Bossa Nova music since they weren't born in Brazil. It's just an accident of fate that one human soul gets born in the US as opposed to somewhere else. A human child is a human child. Why should a selfish, lazy American citizen (no I'm not saying all Americans are like that, it's an example) have more opportunities than a public spirited, hard-working non-American? (Nor am I suggesting all non-Americans are saints.) I'm just pointing out that in terms of human rights, national boundaries are completely artificial and change frequently over history. The US took most of California, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona by military force from Mexico, for example. That raises other questions about who the illegal residents of those states really are.

    Wow, I didn't think you could be anymore racist or condiscending, but I was wrong! I'm not a rocket scientist, but I'm certainly not stupid enough to fall for this spin. What is the difference between an American child and a non American child. Well, let's see, that's a tough one. Maybe, the American child was BORN an American citizen? I hope that isn't too confusing for you to comprehend.

    As far as what causes someone born in the US to be worthy of special privileges, I don't remember EVER saying in any of my posts that someone born in the US was worthy of special privileges. Can you please find that comment for me? You and the Independent Alaskan like to twist and spin. Typical for your type.

    If by special privileges you're referring to are going to American schools well I'm not sure it's a privilege. Americans pay for their children to go to American schools. Those payments are called taxes and/or tuition. Something you obviously don't feel should be paid by EVERYONE who has the privilege of going to an American school. Oh, I keep forgetting. Americans owe you.

    A selfish lazy American? The U.S. TOOK land by military force from Mexico! I'm laughing right now! Well,now I know why you and the Independent Alaskan are so passionately opposed to discuss these things with me openly! Interesting!

    You're the ones who feel that Illegal immigrants have a right to come to this country and steal from us because WE owe them something. I'm just one of those lazy Americans who've worked for over 35 years, sometimes at 2 jobs to raise my child BY MYSELF. I don't owe you or anyone else anything. I am NOT lazy, I do not drink, I am NOT a bigot, I am NOT racist. What I am, is sick and tired of taking care of people who act like I owe them something! Last time I checked a lazy Mexican or lazy Brazilian wasn't doing anything to help me pay my bills! I'd love to have a better life for my son. He won't go to college unless he can get a loan or scholarship and based on what I'm reading in regards to grant money,much of that is being given to immigrants too!!

    I'll make the same assumption about you that I made about the Independent Alaskan. You are probably profiting in some way off of these people. It's obvious you are racist against Americans. You are a typical racist activist who feels America owes you something. The good people of this country are being robbed of their jobs, their money, their health care and you have the nerve to write that worthless condiscending response . When you call Americans lazy, and you did, you might want to remember those lazy Americans are supporting millions of your friends!
    I wonder what the Mexicans would do if Americans decided to start moving to Mexico? I wonder how quickly they would shoot us or put us in jail? It's amazing to me that people like you are so determined to destroy this country, yet you do nothing to improve the conditions in the countries these people are leaving. Why is that? Is it because all of the immigrants are coming here, taking our money, and sending it back to their home countries? Someone is getting rich? People like you? Politicians? Drug Lords? Gangs? While Americans are paying for their medical care, education, social services etc. etc. they are sending their money back home. They aren't paying taxes. They don't pay for their education. They recieve free lunch programs, free sports etc. etc.
    All of this is true. Everyone associated with our schools know it and those in our hospital emergency rooms know it. Every word I've said is true, but no one will talk about it because there are people like you that will scream bigot or racist even when you know it's not true. Most people are afraid of that. I'm not because I know that I'm neither of those things. It's apparent that YOU are the true bigots and racists. You are also criminals for supporting crimes against America. It's your dirty little secret or at least it used to be

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  5. Bi-lingual education is a scam, essentially a make-work program for Mexicans without teaching credentials. Kids who enter the school system should have the option to take English classes for non English speakers. Learning English is not the same thing as what's being called "bi-lingual." When my grandmother was teaching school in Oregon 100 years ago, all kids were grouped according to age. If they didn't speak English, they were expected to learn. They all did, some better than others. I have a good friend, a physician, who spoke only Latvian when she started school in Portland in the '50s. She was put in a special class for mentally retarded students. It took her less than a year to catch up to her peers, but it was a painful year. The Portland Public School system now has an excellent program for teaching English. The teachers are familiar with the linguistic problems the speakers of different languages encounter when they learn English. They are culturally sensitive to Hmongs, Bosnians, Central American Indians, and the other groups they deal with. This makes it easier to address the learning issues and get the kids into the mainstream. The Vietnam War ended in 1975 and there was a flood of refugees into Portland. In 1979, the valedictorian of every Portland high school was Vietnamese. Those are kids who arrived with minimal English skills. They went on to become doctors, scientists, accountants, productive members of American society. Teaching English to non-English speaking kids is important. The politicians and the race and ethnic pimps need to be told to take a hike so the linguists can do their job. And don't forget, all kids with limited English aren't foreigners. There are many Alaska Native students who do not speak English at home. There are ethnic minorities such as Russians and French Canadians who have been here longer than most of the garden variety honkies who came up to work on the pipeline.

    ReplyDelete

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