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Immigrant teachers exploited, districts don't notice

Greg Toppo of USA Today and Icess Fernandez of The (Shreveport, La.) Times have a disturbing cover story in the Life section of Wednesday's USA Today exposing the crimes of a Filipino recruiting firm that extorted big bucks out of 300 immigrant teachers in Louisiana without the school districts noticing until much later. The case was brought to the attention of the two reporters, and me in my earlier blog on this outrage, by the American Federation of Teachers and its state affiliate, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers.

You have to read the story to get the full effect. It says the number one villain in this affair is Lourdes "Lulu" Navarro, owner of Los Angeles-based Universal Placement International, whose sister company PARS International Placement Agency took millions from the teachers. The Filipino educators wanted to improve their lives and those of their families by taking $40,000-a-year U.S. teaching jobs that were much better than what they had at home. But Navarro's people repeatedly hit them up for illegal kickbacks, with the threat of being sent home if they protested.
Toppo and Fernandez didn't have enough space, even in a story that almost fills a page, to push the Louisiana school officials hard on why they did not check out more carefully the recruiter--who had a fraud conviction in California. The AFT says there is more of this stuff going on. I consider it a sign of the union's enlightened leadership that it is taking a stand against these scams, and thus making home-grown recruiters like Teach For America, not so popular with unions in the past, look even better.

By Jay Mathews  | October 28, 2009; 9:50 AM ET
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Prince George's County has hired a number of Filipino teachers.
Have you checked to see if any of them have been victimized?

Posted by: edlharris | October 28, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

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