New York City public schools are bracing for a significant enrollment of non-English speaking migrants. The recently arrived youths were bused to Manhattan from Texas, an ongoing transfer from Red to Blue areas of the country that has led to bombastic protests from New York’s sanctuary city Mayor Eric Adams.
The political implications for Adams and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are yet to be seen. But the consequences for the 80,000 K-12 teachers are immediate and demanding. As Schools Chancellor David Banks said: “There are students coming in every day.” But Banks omitted some key elements of what he called a challenge. The new students have arrived illegally from around the world, about 150 different nations, and will need assistance in every facet of public education. That assistance comes at the expense of New York’s already enrolled student body, as well as its teachers and administrators. No teacher has enough time in his or her day to properly educate existing pupils and simultaneously transition the newcomers into classroom readiness.
Department of Social Services Commissioner Gary Jenkins put on a brave, but foolhardy front. Jenkins said that his agency is going all out to smooth the way for the migrants, support their needs and quickly enroll them. Easier said than done, of course. The burden won’t directly fall on Jenkins, Banks or Adams. The already overworked and under-appreciated teachers will be responsible for educating illegal immigrants, some with no formal classroom background. Good luck to the soon-to-be overwhelmed teachers.
Mayor Adams, Chancellor Banks and Commissioner Jenkins are off to a bad start. With schools opening on September 8, the high-ranking trio felt compelled to do something – anything! – to give teachers, school principals and parents the impression that they have a clue. Adams introduced his short-on-details interagency plan to transition the students before their first day. The children received free-to-them, but taxpayer-funded, school supplies and mobile phones.
Few kids who live in an understaffed shelter as these do are prepared to begin a new school year in a new country and new environment. The child who is age-appropriate for the fourth grade, but has no first, second or third grade preparation is unlikely, public education experts concluded, to ever catch up, and are at risk for dropping out.
President Biden’s open borders agenda has hurt millions of already-struggling, poor Americans. Now, Biden’s brazen, illegal, unconstitutional immigration law-breaking will leave its mark on America’s classrooms. Among the biggest losers in the very long list of immigration policy victims that the Biden administration has willfully created are the students who will now have to compete for their teachers’ attention with non-English speaking migrants. Rita Rodriguez-Engberg, director of the Immigrant Students’ Rights Project at Advocates for Children, admitted that migrants who are learning English and living in shelters “will need targeted support in school, including programming to help them learn English and participate in class.” The city is dramatically short of bilingual English language instructors.
Consider that in the 2021-2022 academic year, New York’s K-12 1.1 million student-strong profile showed that 72 percent are economically disadvantaged; 20 percent had disabilities, and 14 percent are English language learners. Into that mix, teachers and education-hungry citizen kids must find a way to accommodate the migrants and create a productive classroom environment – a tough assignment that could spike teachers’ already-high attrition rate. In New York, the two-year teacher attrition rate is 25 percent; 18 percent leave in the first year. The national rate is 10 percent.
Because Abbott has bused illegal immigrants to New York, and Adams complained loudly, the fallout between them is headline news. But, remember, Biden has also authorized migrants’ release into the interior’s every corner. Other schools will soon be juggling teacher time and scarce resources between illegal aliens and citizen students. Coming off of two years of COVID-mandated remote learning, and then vying for teacher time because of Biden’s reckless immigration agenda, U.S. kids have to apply themselves if they want a sound education that will put them on a path to good jobs. But with Biden, American kids’ educations are a distant second to illegal aliens’ schooling needs. Putting U.S. kids second is consistent with Biden’s now well-established America-last agenda.