Monday, April 28, 2008

Latinos Score - Critics Muzzled

In the ongoing drama that is Costa Mesa politics there has been a persistent drumbeat of criticism of the impact of children of immigrants on our schools. The main targets were, of course, the so-called "anchor babies" - those kids who have been born in this country but are thought to be the offspring of illegal immigrant parents. The discussion didn't stop with just those few children - it was expanded to include all children of immigrants, legal or illegal.


During the last municipal election Allan Mansoor rode to re-election using the subject of the illegal immigrants among us as his magic carpet to float him above other issues, dr
agging his barnacle, Wendy Leece, along for the ride. In that campaign Mansoor supporters frequently ranted about gangs, graffiti and the drain the kids of immigrants were on our schools. They never missed a chance to take a shot at the system which permitted those children to have a chance for an education and a future. The negative message became part of the ambient noise of our community.

Recent events, however, seemed to have caused them to go mute - a good thing, in my view. Here's why...

Earlier this month it was announced that 5 schools within the Newport-Mesa Unified School District had been named California Distinguished Schools. Three of the schools are located on the east side of the Back Bay in the high rent district. The remaining two are in Costa Mesa - Killybrooke and Sonora. This is great news! Sonora has
been one of those schools maligned by the Mansoor mob as an example of what's wrong with the school system because of the large number of children of immigrants in attendance. You can find the original Daily Pilot article HERE, an editorial on the subject HERE and an excellent Town Hall piece HERE.


Then, last week, a report was released providing information on the improvement by English as a Second Language (ESL) students in our district. I won't try to paraphrase the results, except to say they were excellent. You can read them in the Daily Pilot article HERE and get the editors take on it HERE.

During this time none of the anti-immigrant voices have been heard. The outstanding achievements by schools t
hat include significant populations of immigrant children has apparently muzzled those who have yapped incessantly about the damage those children were doing to our school system. Our community is benefiting from their silence.

No one can dispute that children with limited English skills, regardless their ethnic background, have a tough time obtaining an education. However, with the creation of
excellent programs by the leadership of the Newport-Mesa School District and the application of them by the individual teachers and administrators, combined with the hard work by the children, they have proven their critics wrong. These children can achieve at high levels if given the chance. They can master a language not spoken in the home.

This is something to which all local politicians should pay close attention. These American-citizen children will soon be the voters in our Costa Mesa. The demographics of our city, now approximately 35% Latino, will continue to shift as these children make lives of their own and begin to take an active part in the future of our city.

Those presently in power in this town better begin to find ways to positively direct the energies of this growing group of constituents. It's not likely that they will be as passive as their parents have been. They will have grown up with the power elite treating them as if they are a sub-class of residents, not worthy of our attention. If attitudes don't change, these young folks with a vote may force the issue. The clock is ticking, Costa Mesa.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home