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+ Immigration debate must be honest
I read Rod Thomson’s take on the immigration debate with great interest — and even greater admiration. Rarely have I read or heard the problem put into such crystal-clear perspective. The advocates of legalizing the immigrants in this country illegally always avoid or ignore the basic truth: They are here illegally!
U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., frequently appears as a proponent of finding a way to “fairly” absorb the immigrant population, but he skates past that bottom-line issue, namely that from the word go they’re here illegally. He claims to want the conditions to include registering, paying taxes, etc., but refuses to acknowledge the laws broken by their mere presence.
And, most recently, U.S. Rep. (and DNC chair, no less) Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, D-Weston, spouted that Republicans were attempting to make it a crime being in the country illegally. Unbelievable! And the fact that the federal government will not enforce the laws but would rather sue states that will, tells me we are in serious trouble — now and especially in the future.
It has been apparent for years that this president and the rest of the Democratic party will not rest until they find a way to get the votes represented by the millions of immigrants already in this country — with no regard for the long-term repercussions. The goal of a permanent majority stokes their efforts.
Any of us speaking out against the invasion are immediately branded as racists. This is frequently a workable strategy that quiets many voices. That makes Thomson’s column that much more important. Please don’t let them steal his voice.
+ Editorial puts issue into proper context
As usual, your editorial nailed the issue right to the wall. Focusing on principles, not emotions, you put the matter in proper context.
Twice in my life, I was in a country illegally. In 1957, my Turkish residence/work permit expired. Within a week, a plain-clothed Turkish detective appeared in my office doorway. Human Resources took care of it. In 1962, the same thing happened in France. It took two weeks for the Deuxieme Bureau to track me down; similar resolution. And all this was before the age of computers, UPS or FedEx package tracking and the Internet. The Turks won by a week.
I have nothing against Mexicans. Most of them are honest and work like hell. I just want someone to know who they are, where they are, what they are being paid, so they don’t get ripped off by unscrupulous employers, and that taxes are collected — and that, as guest workers, they eventually are going back home. Furthermore, their kids born here should not be citizens. My kids were born in Libya and are sure not Libyan citizens. True (but white) African-Americans, yes, but not Libyan citizens.
+ Wakeland comparison troubles Ranch parent
I read with great interest your article in the June 2 edition of the East County Observer regarding McNeal Elementary School.
I am surprised by the parent uproar regarding turnover of 13 faculty at McNeal over a two-year period. I seriously doubt this level of turnover constitutes anything remarkable in comparison to other elementary schools in the county (and elsewhere across the state of Florida), nor am I surprised by the response you received from district officials.
We actually live right around the corner from McNeal but have chosen instead to send our daughters (a rising third-grader and a rising first-grader) to Wakeland Elementary School. I must say that I was troubled by your sentence that read, “Furthermore, district officials say the number of faculty and staff who have left is not high compared with other district schools, especially at schools such as Wakeland, where virtually every teacher has left the school under its new principal.”
The International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program at Wakeland is a philosophical approach to education that draws on the best practices in elementary school instruction. The PYP philosophy promotes the use of inquiry where the students drive the focus of instruction. The PYP identifies a body of knowledge for all students in all cultures, in six subject areas. These include: language, social studies, mathematics, science and technology, arts, personal, social and physical education.
In the spirit of internationalism, students are required to learn a second language in addition to the language of instruction of the school. Spanish has been taught from the beginning, while next year the school welcomes its first teacher in Mandarin. The academic instruction is rigorous and advanced.
Wakeland’s principal, Dr. Chuck Fradley, faced a good bit of attrition in 2005 or thereabouts when the school district decided to place the Primary Years Program at Wakeland. At that time, all current staff members were eligible to stay at Wakeland if they opted to take part in specific PYP professional development and expressed a commitment to the program. A significant number of faculty opted out of this PYP professional development (read: extra work) and went elsewhere.
However, attrition at Wakeland in the past couple of years has been minor. Furthermore, in the past two years, Wakeland has been one of the only schools in all of Manatee County (if not the only school) to have increased its enrollment over this period of time. Interestingly enough, this increase in enrollment has been fueled primarily by students who reside in the East County. School enrollment was 445 a couple of years ago and will be at 610 in August. The school is bursting at the seams.
I just wanted to respond to your article from the perspective of a Wakeland parent who lives in the East County. My wife and I are convinced our children are getting the equivalent of a private school education. The school has several staff who are nationally board certified as well as holding master’s or doctoral degrees and numerous other certifications and qualifications that make them highly qualified to teach students.