Home / Culture and Society / The Three Way Attack on Texas Public Education; Part Two: Immigration

The Three Way Attack on Texas Public Education; Part Two: Immigration

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Hispanics now make up 49 percent of the population of the State of Texas and account for 50 percent of the school age population.

When compared to the nation, Texas has 32 percent more Latinos. By stark comparison, the representation in the Texas Legislature is not 50 percent Hispanic. In fact, the few Latinos in the legislature have been working to see that the state is redistricted to represent more of the Hispanics that have entered our state, even suing the governor to see that the needs of this demographic group are met.

However, it would appear that the state legislature has a different agenda when considering our Latino growth that does not mirror opportunity or representation. Two major bills crossed through the Capitol building related to Hispanic growth and labeled through an effort on the State’s part to reform immigration, a Voter ID Bill and Sanctuary Cities Bill, were debated this legislative session.

The Voter ID bill passed the legislature and heads to Governor Perry’s desk. This law will simply require a photo ID to vote in any election. There will be 5 different types of IDs accepted: Texas driver’s license, Texas concealed handgun license, military photo card, U.S. passport, or election ID certificate (provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety without charge to those who do not have other acceptable ID cards). The Sanctuary Cities Bill, which did not pass this legislative session, would have prevented cities, counties and other governmental entities from adopting policies that prevent law enforcement officers or other employees from inquiring into the immigration status of a person arrested or lawfully detained. Authorities can subsequently report individuals to federal immigration officials if they are thought to be in the country illegally.

The discussion of Hispanic growth at the school level was not debated and discussed openly during session among lawmakers but it did occur on message boards, blogs, and other web portals. Early discussion of the topic, before the legislative session began, centered on a potential bill that would have required school districts to count the number of illegal immigrants entering our schools. Other thoughts on the topic considered requiring tuition for illegal immigrants, separate tax payments for apartment dwellers, the DREAM Act (which would subsidize education costs and grant amnesty to people 35 years old or younger who illegally entered the United States before they were 16 years of age), and simply preventing children of immigrants from attending school.

Here are some comments on the topic of illegal immigrants taken from only one website news article, copied exactly as they were submitted:

SE“I live along the border and any local resident, student, teacher can tell you our schools are flooded with illegals. They provide the school with a USA address and they’re in. There are 52 schools in the Brownsville school district!!! How does this not throw up a red flag? Until this problem is addressed we will always need more schools and more funding…and I know where it WON’T be coming from.”

James“Get the illegals out of our schools. I am tired of giving them a free ride.”

Les“i agree !!! the problem is our ckickens### government !!! tell the parent’s of these kid,s to come to the school and make sure the ins is there . ask for proof of citizenship !!! if not load them on buses and take them to the border !!”

Reeper–“For those yelling about illegal’s in school there is one easy way to get some out. Parent’s would have to pay an additional fee for each child they send to school to help give taxpayer’s who never had kids a break in taxes. $100/year/kid would be nice, remember you also get all those federal tax breaks the rest without kids don’t get if you are legal. The cost of my education was far less than it is today, so I’ve paid for my own education 10 fold, yet my parents had already paid for it. When schools first came about the kids education was paid by the parents and community.”

Clearly, fear, confusion, discontent, and hard feelings are exhibited in these comments. These frustrations are fueled by demands on our governments to be more fiscally responsible with the tax dollars they are given and to establish reforms of our immigration laws. Because states are limited in how they can respond to immigration, we are seeing various levels of resentment pertaining to our schools, our social programs, and our elections.

Certainly, our federal government does need to address the issue of illegal immigration and not only for national security reasons. Let me remind everyone reading this blog that we are bordered by two countries, one of which is longest unfortified border in the world: Canada. Furthermore, I would argue that the numerous drug cartels fueling Mexico’s drug trade serve a larger threat and problem for the United States than Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya combined.

But, our state constitution is clear on the issue of public education. The opening line of Article 7 states, “A general diffusion of knowledge being essential to the preservation of the liberties and rights of the people, it shall be the duty of the Legislature of the State to establish and make suitable provision for the support and maintenance of an efficient system of public free schools.”

In regards to textbooks, section 3 (b) states, “It shall be the duty of the State Board of Education to set aside a sufficient amount of available funds to provide free text books for the use of children attending the public free schools of this State. “

In addition, the 1973 federal IDEA law maintains that it is the responsibility of the states to provide, “free and appropriate education for all students.” This is backed by a Supreme Court ruling that does not allow a state to prevent a student from attending a public school due to their immigration status (Plyler v. Doe, 2003).

Throughout history, the State of Texas has worked to protect public education and the actions of the federal government often have done the same (Brown vs. Board of Education, IDEA, Civil Rights Act 1964, 1968). As we enter a new era of discontent with our government, it is clear that instead of taking action against public education, we should take actions for public education, even if they come with a cost. The entry of Latinos into the state does not present to me an opportunity for resentment, fear, or more laws to prevent progress, it presents a chance to embrace the rich heritage of a group that has worked to build and defend our state and to seek to expand the potential minds of young Hispanics who simply seek they same as their immigrant parents: opportunity.

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About DrJerryRBurkett

  • Heloise

    Right the Feds make it a crime to ask the status of illegals. In fact the districts give them phony SS numbers and that illegal sits right next to an anchor baby legal. Oh sure some have been in this country for century or more like my Castillian family. But they don’t stick out like newly minted illegal and anchors filling up the seats.

    As for books good luck we have not had a new adoption in more than a decade. I have to write my own damn book and curriculum with help of course.

    Yes we can thank my brother Ted for the flood of illegals south, north, east and west to this country who came by land, sea, air forgot to leave or dropped a baby in one of our many now-shuttered hospitals.

    Spoken like a true ivory tower lib Burkett. And I hate folks who use Dr. When they are phds, it is so pretentious. Prof is acceptable if that’s the case.

  • Clavos

    The flood of illegal immigration will NOT stop or even lessen until Mexico’s economy is much better than it is…

    It will never stop. The “flood of illegal immigration” is beneficial to both governments, and neither really wants it to stop. For Mexico, it offers some relief to their severe unemployment situation, less drain on their few social services and the money sent home by the illegals is now third in importance to Mexico, behind only oil and tourism as a source of foreign income. For the US, it offers a never-ending supply of cheap hard-working labor not available from the citizenry.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    It looks like we have yet another low-information voter who thinks that cutting billions from schools and giving it to corporations in the form of tax breaks is the very best way to make sure our children receive a good education!

    It’s all very simple – take away the money from the schools, and the quality of education will magically get all better! Isn’t that, well, magical?

    On a more serious note, perhaps Tom and Brittanicus are not aware that the Obama administration is deporting record numbers of illegal immigrants. Of course this can’t be true because Obama pals around with terrorists and all…but that’s just what the numbers show.

    Not that mass deportation will do any good. The flood of illegal immigration will NOT stop or even lessen until Mexico’s economy is much better than it is, and their current drug war is over. It might be interesting to note that the Mexican drug war IS largely fueled by guns smuggled from the US. Go go go NRA! Don’t regulate gun dealers and gun shows! Don’t register our guns! PROTECT THE GUN SMUGGLERS!

    But come to think of it, if the conservatives get their way, our economy WILL be as bad as Mexico’s…and voila! the illegal immigration problem will go away! Brilliant!

  • It does seem fair [no pun intended] and useful to differentiate between various groups of undocumented immigrants: those who have jobs and pay taxes, versus those who draw government benefits; those who come here looking for a better life for their families versus those who come to commit crimes.

    The US would arguably be a stronger place if it welcomed more immigrants who come here for positive reasons.

    FAIR may not like being classed as a hate group; but on the evidence of this thread alone, FAIR’s supporters seem to be overflowing with negative energy. And attacking a wonderful organization like SPLC is rarely a sign of enlightenment.

  • robber

    To smrtmn – It looks like the Southern Poverty Law Center has done its job on you (regarding FAIR, Numbers USA). Please research, especially when it comes to its founder Morris Dees. I’ve looked into all the above trying to find the “truth” and have concluded that those who smear Numbers and FAIR as hate-groups are the true bottom-feeders.

  • tom

    To : Brittanicus

    Just don’t talk like an idiot. Majority of the people are in US are well educated. So you need to present reasonable facts to convince them. Before you comment on anything go to a university and learn.
    If you worried about chain migration, that’s a problem of chain migration, not the dream act, and change the policies of chain migration and get the job done.
    So please don’t comment like an uneducated person. I’m ashamed of you as an American. (Austrian-American).

  • smrtmn

    Brittancus – I scanned through your post and found you mentioned NUMBERS USA, FAIR in it, immediately i decided not to read your reply, because anyone who uses the numbers pumped out by hate groups are not serious about providing facts. so please, if you plan on being considered a serious poster, kindly post numbers from credible sources.
    not white supremacist hate groups.
    thank you

  • Brittanicus


    The Dream Act in itself, might be a reasonable law allowing the students of illegal parents to be permitted to stay in the United States? But the ramifications are more ominous, that once the students have legitimacy they can then start petitioning for family members and that by any other name is CHAIN MIGRATION.

    It further challenges more people to simply scorn what lax laws we have and just enter illegally. Immediate family members over time can
    then bring in even more people and this has set up a chain reaction.

    Just like another possibility of yet a second mass amnesty, it always attributes to costs. It has been verified that the 1986 accounting, when the final tally was made that it cost US taxpayers 76 Billion dollars. By the time of a further amnesty in today’s dollars and cents had been calculated, the Heritage foundation assessed such final bottom line of in the range of 2.6 Trillion dollars.

    Now this dollar figure is based on the assumption, that there are only 11 to 12 million foreign nationals in the country, a number based on processing, background checks and an accumulation on other personal data along with medical examinations. But (FAIR) Federation of American Immigration Reform, (NUMBERSUSA) and thousands of grass root sovereignty organizations have assessed the population figures to well over 20 billion. This is an overwhelming number to consider and a dollar figure to incredulous to even imagine. That would strip any gains against the $14.5 Trillion dollars we owe outside the shores of America.

    This nation must be entirely thankful to the great State of Arizona, who started this long and dangerous crusade against the tyranny inside the Obama administration that would welcome into America every indigent family from across the globe.

    America cannot keep giving any more as they are not representing the needs of those of Citizens and legal residents? Taxpayers have been burdened to long in Georgia, Alabama, Arizona that has become the height of outrageous irresponsibility and indifference. Rallies or demonstration are looked upon with disdain and anger, with those politicians who pander to foreign nationals exhibiting poor judgment. There may be thousands protesting immigration laws, but think about the other half of law-abiding people, that is certainly to be in the tens of millions?

    Arizona outburst against unfair laws was just the beginning and now the real battle will begin in the coming months as we progress towards the 2012 election.


    Stepping forward now the TEA PARTY is the only true way that will elevate this massive debt, placed upon taxpayers by thoughtless politicians. We cannot trust the Imperials in the Republican Party and we certainly cannot trust the undercover far Left, that has impregnated the Democrats. Either party has had their own agenda for omnipotent power of new voters through illegal immigration, or the overall influence from big business to relax laws, so millions can be used for a lesser form of slavery; except in both ideals the programmed taxpayer picks up the unknown estimated cost to support them.

    In three decades America’s working man/ women has lost a percentage of his wages to support illegal immigrants. How academia thinks the economy would grow, must live in a delusional world, when nearly every State is burdened by instant citizenship baby laws, which under the current misinterpretation payments of cash to these families, has diluted every treasury.

    Our schools are crammed to capacity, full of the children of illegal aliens, the health system slowly falling apart as more hospitals fail of wanton families to be treated; many of these institutions unable to survive. Then we have the US penal system choked with illegal alien criminals, that is yet another tax hike on the American population. The TEA PARTY is our only remedy as the Congress, have no sense of urgency to the impending financial crash.

    Perhaps Rep. Michele Bachman of Minnesota, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Sarah Palin of Alaska; all regarded as strong supporters of the ever growing TEA PARTY. Only the TEA PARTY leaders seem to understand the financial predicament we have truly manufactured for ourselves, from the years of corruption within equal parties. The TEA PARTY has astounded both political parties in power, and will release us from the years of rot and poor or intentional mismanagement to gain favor with open border lobbyists. The TEA PARTY has sworn to the major majority of the American people, no new amnesties of any kind, which includes the dismantling of Sanctuary cities and towns, no dream Acts or anything assigned to foreigners who broke our stagnant laws.

    To accomplish this task we must insist our government implement mandatory E-Verify and Secure Communities, which will track down both illegal workers and criminal illegal aliens. There must be no compromises, but that Congress should enforce these laws, without interference from the open border zealots or the elitist groups discount labor.

    You should also introduce yourself to the people who run this devastated country at the Senate 202-224 3121/ House 202-225 3121 and tell them it’s time to depart of fight for the American taxpayer.