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Leave them kids alone

30 April 2007

A Presidio friend of mine says, “I’d rather have educated neighbors” whenever the “problem” of Mexican students attending school in the U.S. comes up. 

One of our sillier local publications thought they would get a good “scoop” out of writing on the number of Mexicans attending school on the U.S. side, but it isn’t a huge percentage of the students in border districts… and … as with the kid mentioned in this story, most of the students crossing the border to go to school are already U.S. citizens, living with Mexican relations.  

And… while Mexican education is very good, in general, the schools never have enough supplies, the classrooms are crowded and the teachers are poorly paid.   I don’t see much difference between the parents who send their kids across the border, and those that send their kids across school district lines to the “better” school. 

Yeah, there is the funding problem.  U.S. schools normally depending on local property taxes for support, which wouldn’t apply to those kids crossing to attend church schools or private academies (or the college students).    And, around here, it’s not at all unusual for someone to have a business in the U.S., but their house in Mexico.  Some of these “Mexicans” may already be paying property taxes.  

This isn’t the big deal that some want it to be, but it’s worth watching, since it’s going to be the new, improved “border issue” for a while: 

Growing Number Of Students Walk From Mexico To U.S. Schools Every MorningApril 30, 2007 8:44 a.m. ESTLinda Young – AHN Staff WriterEl Paso, TX (AHN) – The growing number of Mexican children who walk across the border every morning to schools in the United States has critics arguing that U.S. taxpayers shouldn’t pay the tab to educate them. Students walking across the border have become so common that last month officials opened a special walking lane for them. It’s an issue for local schools facing soaring costs. In El Paso, the school district is preparing for a $230 bond election to build new schools to accommodate an expected 10,000 new students in the next five to eight years. Although most of them won’t come from Mexico, the fact that many do is a thorny issue for taxpayers weary of soaring tax bills.

A local newspaper on Sunday reported that more than 1,200 people from Mexico used the new walking lane on a recent morning. Among them was Aaron Ortiz who walks his 6-year-old daughter Rachel from their Juarez, Mexico home to her El Paso elementary school every morning, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Ortiz and his daughter are both U.S. citizens, but her mother is not and after she lost her green card, the family moved back to Mexico. Ortiz owns a vacant house near Rachel’s school, which satisfies the residency requirement.

He said he considered sending Rachel to a Mexican school but didn’t because the classes have 40 students, who meet in two shifts during the day using outdated resources, including a string of alphabet letters with some missing. He grew up in the U.S. and attended U.S. schools.

“As a parent,” Ortiz told the Houston Chronicle, “it doesn’t matter if you don’t make it, just as long as your children do.”

That sums up the attitudes of many Mexican parents who send their children to U.S. schools. Many of them also cite violence in Mexican schools as a reason to send their children to U.S. schools. And while the Ortiz’s own a home in the U.S., other students use the address of relatives living in the United States.

That is one reason critics object to U.S. taxpayers paying to educate students who commute from Mexico.

But not all of the students are in public schools or in K-12. Some students are in private schools or attending college.

Copyright © AHN Media Corp – All rights reserved.

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