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Trying to open this blog to your good comments soon

I am just getting back from vacation, feeling abandoned. No comments on my last two posts. But before I could get too far in my downward emotional spiral, several of you told me that the blog was refusing all comments. (Okay, I should have checked, but I was hurting inside.)

I am better now, and asking that the young folks who have been so good at getting me through several blog crises come rescue me again. I have scheduled a pretty good post for one minute after midnight Monday. Please try then.

Read Jay's blog every day, and follow all of The Post's Education coverage on Twitter, Facebook and our Education web page.

By Jay Mathews  | August 13, 2010; 7:28 PM ET
Categories:  Jay on the Web  | Tags:  Jay distraught, but relieve to learn it is a technical mishap, he requests assistance, no comments  
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Comments

OK. Can't comment on the undocumented students' (Patricia and Luis) stories on that post so I am posting here. We should pass the Dream Act (Senate Bill ...) that would allow undocumented students to qualify for federal student loans. It's the humane thing to do but it's also in the best interest of society from a cost/benefit analysis. I truly doubt it will happen when we have reactionary populists demanding that undocumented students should pay out of state tuition for college. Some people would prefer to perpetuate poverty and cling to the myths of social mobility in the US (AKA The American Dream).

I really have a problem with the new grumblings about putting an end to citizenship by birth. Are you kidding. Smacks of closet racism to me. These are the same people that tell undocumented students to do their best in school only to pull the rug out from under them after 18 years and tell them that they can't get the money to go to college and oh by the way even with a degree you still can't get a legit job without citizenship. I don't want to smash students dreams by hammering this message into them but I find it disingenuous that most educators/teachers don't engage students about this topic. I can see why they don't though. Imagine telling a student the truth and then asking them to do their best on some standardized test for you and the school.

I have researched how to obtain citizenship if I were undocumented and already in the US (from Mexico). I really didn't find a definitive answer beyond the fact that the system is intimidating, complex and costly even to an English speaking citizen let alone a Spanish speaking immigrant. My conclusion is that if you are from Mexico and you are undocumented your best bet is to get married to a citizen.

Again we hate each other because we are forced to fight over the crumbs that the top 5% discard to us.

Posted by: stevendphoto | August 14, 2010 2:14 AM | Report abuse

I thought that no one was responding because the columns were not that interesting and did not reflect anything of real interests in public education.

A view of lawyer regarding standard was of little interest since I have always known that painting a falling down house white does not make it the White House.

Yes there has been a problem with illegal aliens in the public schools for years. My mother was born on a boat going to England as a stopover to the United States. She was thus not an American citizen but actually a citizen of England even though her parent obtained citizenship. She never voted because she feared deportation.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 14, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I really have a problem with the new grumblings about putting an end to citizenship by birth.

Posted by: stevendphoto
..........................
This is really simply the usual nonsense since it would take a Constitutional amendment to put an end end to citizenship by birth.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 14, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Trying to open this blog to your good comments soon

Be better to be more concerned with having good ideas on the blog.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 14, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

If you have ever dealt with students as people and not numbers then this issue should matter to you. Students that you might not even suspect may be undocumented (not illegal or aliens because no person can be illegal). Think of those connotations. Words matter. In California I would bet that there are an average of two undocumented students in every class, at least. They're here and they're not leaving. I say help undocumented students become as educated as they can. But the bottom line is that these students need citizenship. All the education in the world doesn't matter if you don't have "papers." This is something that the rest of us take for granted. The real issue here is class/race warfare. People want to have an economic and social underclass, especially those at the lower end of the socioeconomic scale. Who wants to be at the bottom? Always good if you can scapegoat a group and make them the lowest of the low in society. The exploited take it out on each other instead of the exploiters. Alas, we are all complicit in some way. Amnesty.

Posted by: stevendphoto | August 14, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

stevendphoto: The Dream Act is a worthy cause. But I am a selfish professor who tires of student party-goers who sometimes pay attention in class. I will gladly take five hardworking immigrant students to replace the stoned and hungover who sit in the back row of my intro classes tapping away at their phones.

bsallamack: What, nothing about Jay’s vacation has you upset?

Posted by: professor70 | August 14, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Gentlemen: A proposal

Issue Work Authorization ID Cards at US Border crossings. Biometrics included. 24 hour wait for background check. Renewable every 2 years at regional ICE offices. Kids get a dependent card, too--not allowed to work part-time until 16, but eligible for student loans. Adult card good for I-9 and W-4 forms but 80% of the FICA tax goes to the locality in which the worker lives. 20% to Homeland Security to pay a contrator to run the program. Only eligible for labor categories in agriculture, hospitality, domestic services, construction and environmental services or any other sector that we are, gosh, just too darn smart to get our hands dirty doin'.

Commit a felony, drug or violent crime and you loose the card and get removed from the US with your family. $25 per card, no refunds of exchanges without a receipt. No part of the United States may be re-written or rebroadcast without the expressed written permission of Major Laegue Baseball. Renewal fee waived in Texas for registering to vote ReW-lican. Not valid in Arizona or within 1000 feet of a place of worship or Glenn Beck.

Ok I've forgotten which parts of the blog post I was actually serious about but have at it!

Posted by: professor70 | August 14, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Note: Within 845 of Glenn Beck exists an 'event horizon' from which light and other matter cannot escape.

Posted by: professor70 | August 14, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I thought they'd closed comments so no one would point out that the essays weren't very good for supposedly Advanced Placement students. They certainly aren't college level material. The vocabulary wasn't terribly academic. AP students need to do more than simply write complete sentences with competent (but not perfect) grammar.

I do get tired of English teachers confusing education with advocacy, and analysis with narcissism. If I ever see an essay of equivalent quality written by an illegal immigrant on something that doesn't personally make their life better, uses hard data instead of feeeeeeeeelings, and doesn't take a position the English teacher clearly supports, I'll be slightly more impressed.

Posted by: Cal_Lanier | August 14, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Always good if you can scapegoat a group and make them the lowest of the low in society. The exploited take it out on each other instead of the exploiters. Alas, we are all complicit in some way. Amnesty.

Posted by: stevendphoto
...................................
In 2003 I was without a job. The use of cheap foreign labor had destroyed for Americans the ability to obtain work as a software developers and where I would have obtained a position with the Department of Defense, this position was lost because of the start of the invasion of Iraq.

I obtained a seasonal job cleaning out toilets in a park with other manual labor tasks. When this ended I looked with envy at illegal workers doing custodial work for American companies through contracts.

In 2004 I was even willing to go to Iraq for 3 months of every year to obtain employment. Most of the wages of menial jobs had been depressed because of the use of illegal aliens in this country and daily living was a struggle.

In June of 2006 I was able to get work back in my field.

Illegal aliens only depress the wages for Americans and in many cases shut out Americans that are willing to do menial labor. During this period of massive unemployment there was an article where over 800 hundred Americans applied for a janitorial job in a school.

I believe that the government should pass severe criminal penalties and fines for employers that hire illegal aliens and this will force these illegal aliens to return to their own countries.

There should be no amnesty but instead a policy of not allowing employers to hire illegal aliens.

I have nothing against Indians that have been given American jobs or of Mexicans that illegally have been given American jobs, but the reality is that this deprives Americans of jobs and also depresses the wages of American workers.

I am sure that all the Americans that believe in amnesty would quickly lose this belief if they daily had to struggle with the lack of jobs and the low wages caused by the use of illegal aliens in this country.

The use of foreign cheap labor is only destroying this country.

The Department of Defense is having difficulty in finding American software developers now because the use of cheap foreign labor since 2002 has discouraged any American from enrolling in this field in colleges. This is occurring in the sciences and engineering where enrollments are down.

There is massive unemployment in the United States and the wages of menial jobs have been depressed by illegal aliens and also the number of jobs for Americans. Illegal aliens have moved into the construction trade and have displaced Americans in this field and also wages.

It is easy to be generous and caring when someone else has to pay the costs for your generosity.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 14, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

stevendphoto: The Dream Act is a worthy cause. But I am a selfish professor who tires of student party-goers who sometimes pay attention in class. I will gladly take five hardworking immigrant students to replace the stoned and hungover who sit in the back row of my intro classes tapping away at their phones.

bsallamack: What, nothing about Jay’s vacation has you upset?

Posted by: professor70
.....................................
Okay. Now will you also pay yearly $200,000 for these 5.

Or what would you feel that you should pay for your generosity?

I love how there can be tens of millions of Americans out of work and no consideration of this fact.

And professor I never had the problem that you described when long ago I was an adjunct instructor since all my students knew that they would receive an F if they could not pass test.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 14, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

I do get tired of English teachers confusing education with advocacy, and analysis with narcissism. If I ever see an essay of equivalent quality written by an illegal immigrant on something that doesn't personally make their life better, uses hard data instead of feeeeeeeeelings, and doesn't take a position the English teacher clearly supports, I'll be slightly more impressed.

Posted by: Cal_Lanier
.....................................
Good comment.

I still remember the dislike of my middle English teacher regarding my essay regarding the flaw of tales of faithful wives being tested in their virtues by their husbands.

Of course I never saw much point in this teacher since instead of reading Chaucer from the original she read from a prose description of Chaucer.

The other professor was the teacher that actually did readings in class of the middle English.

Then there was the 19th century teacher that I did like and I put up with the boring essay I had to write about social issues in the works of Dickens.

..................................
"I’m an immigrant who believes that we came to the United States to improve our lives, but at the same time, improve American’s lives by our hard work."
......................................
Why does Jay Mathews always expect reader to read nonsense from others? The articles he writes are bad enough.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 14, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Bsallamack,

"Illegal aliens only depress the wages for Americans and in many cases shut out Americans that are willing to do menial labor. During this period of massive unemployment there was an article where over 800 hundred Americans applied for a janitorial job in a school."

Exactly. Who really benefits from illegal workers? You guessed it; corporations. Give the undocumented citizenship which means they get minimum wage etc. Then they don't depress wages. Follow the money. Not everyone is hurting. The rich have gotten richer; the poor have gotten poorer.

All of your rhetoric about what should be done about education in America is meaningless if you overlook the immigration issue and continue to lie (by omission) to undocumented students. The message is just do well in school. Education pays, etc. The fact is that is not true for the undocumented.

Posted by: stevendphoto | August 14, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

"Each year across the nation, 50,000 to 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school after having spent at least five years in this country. Because California is home to an estimated 40% of the nation's undocumented students, that means 20,000 or so are in this state" (LA Times).

If we're not going to make it easy for these students to both go to college and more importantly get citizenship then we might as well increase the estimates for prison construction and guard jobs.

Posted by: stevendphoto | August 14, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Bsallamack,

"Illegal aliens only depress the wages for Americans and in many cases shut out Americans that are willing to do menial labor. During this period of massive unemployment there was an article where over 800 hundred Americans applied for a janitorial job in a school."

Exactly. Who really benefits from illegal workers? You guessed it; corporations. Give the undocumented citizenship which means they get minimum wage etc. Then they don't depress wages. Follow the money. Not everyone is hurting. The rich have gotten richer; the poor have gotten poorer.
Posted by: stevendphoto
..................................
Amnesty was done before and did not work.

It only created a problem of more illegal aliens in this country.

Make them legal and wages for menial work in this country will still be depressed and more illegal aliens will simply come the United States.

Would teachers be cheering for a flood of cheap illegal teachers that have held down the wages of legal teachers for ten years, and now when legalized will also hold down the wages of legal teachers for a number of years?

How much are you willing to pay in taxes for the government services of 12 million illegal aliens that are now legal?

How much are you willing to deny your family to subsidize 12 million illegal aliens now made legal?

These are not war refugees that need sanctuary but those who entered this country illegally to work with no consideration of the low wages paid to Americans because they were a supply of cheap labor.

My comments in regard to education are that all Americans no matter how poor should have decent standards in public schools as Americans. I am not black but black Americans and their children should be given decent standards in public schools simply because they are Americans.

My ideas are not from compassion. All Americans should have the same rights. Legal immigrants that become citizens should also be given the same rights. This does not mean that those who enter the country illegally should have the same rights as Americans.

I am not overly concerned whether black Americans do well in public schools or not. My only concern is that as Americans they have the rights of Americans to decent public schools. Of course it would be better if they can obtain the benefits of education but I am not a teachers. My only concern is that as Americans they have an equal opportunity with decent public schools.

It would be wonderful if all children could have the benefit of education but the United States should not be concerned with this while American children are going to inferior public schools in this nation.

As charity Americans can do as they like but I am firmly opposed to those Americans who want to be generous while other Americans have to pay the price of this generosity.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 15, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

"Each year across the nation, 50,000 to 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school after having spent at least five years in this country. Because California is home to an estimated 40% of the nation's undocumented students, that means 20,000 or so are in this state" (LA Times).

If we're not going to make it easy for these students to both go to college and more importantly get citizenship then we might as well increase the estimates for prison construction and guard jobs.

Posted by: stevendphoto
.................................
No. Impose heavy criminal penalties and civil penalties on employers and the illegal aliens will recross the border to Mexico. When a restaurant owner knows that he will lose most of his wealth and spend six months in prison, he will not hire illegal aliens.

Our only obligations are to those born in this country.

I notice that you make no mentions of the billions that have been spent in public schools for illegal aliens. Americans are daily paying the real costs of the cheap labor of employers. Time to stop this madness instead of rewarding the employers who have gained from cheap labor at the expense of Americans.

Six months in jail and government confiscation of the property of employers hiring illegal aliens and this problem will be resolved. It is not even necessary to send illegal aliens back to their own country. They will leave of their own accord when there is no work.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 15, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

"It would be wonderful if all children could have the benefit of education but the United States should not be concerned with this while American children are going to inferior public schools in this nation."

Undocumented children are American children. They live here. They're not going back. They speak English. They consume American popular culture. The only thing that makes them "other" is a piece of paper. Pay for them now or pay more for them later. Our choice. You don't have to be compassionate only logical. Even from a selfish perspective it makes more sense to educate these students and give them citizenship. How hard would you work in school if you knew that it was all pretty much for naught? Also, most undocumented immigrants enter the country legally on visas and overstay their visits as opposed to entering the country illegally.

Posted by: stevendphoto | August 15, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

"I notice that you make no mentions of the billions that have been spent in public schools for illegal aliens."

I take it you would rather have hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth out on the streets daily committing crimes. Money well spent I say.

Posted by: stevendphoto | August 15, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

"I notice that you make no mentions of the billions that have been spent in public schools for illegal aliens."

I take it you would rather have hundreds of thousands of undocumented youth out on the streets daily committing crimes. Money well spent I say.

Posted by: stevendphoto
...................................
No, I would rather have the employers jailed who created the problems.

When the first amnesty was given years ago, criminal and financial penalties for employers should have been legislated to prevent the billions that should not have been spent and paid for by taxpayers.

I see very little concern at the large numbers of prisons built for Americans that have to compete for low wages because of cheap illegal aliens. But of course to you these are simply the criminal Americans, even though you claim that prisons would have had to be built for the criminal illegal aliens if they had not been allowed to go to public schools.

I also never see concern for the costs. At 1000 dollars for each 12 million illegal aliens that is a cost of 12 billion. In tens years the costs will easily be over 1 trillion. The costs are not only for the 12 million but also for the millions of Americans that will not have jobs because of a large supply of cheap legal labor suddenly dumped into a nation without jobs.

Perhaps all those who want amnesty should solve the problem and provide a list of all the Americans that want amnesty that are willing to pay the full costs for the next 20 years. The government would yearly keep track and send the bill to these Americans. I am sure that you would be agreeable to paying amounts of a million dollars or more a year for your generosity.

I sometimes do not know who is worse. Is it the employers who want to destroy this nation with profits from using cheap labor, or is it those like you who want to destroy the nation with no concern with dumping a large legal supply of cheap labor in a nation without jobs and with wages that have been depressed for over ten years?

Posted by: bsallamack | August 15, 2010 2:52 AM | Report abuse

Also, most undocumented immigrants enter the country legally on visas and overstay their visits as opposed to entering the country illegally.

Posted by: stevendphoto
.........................
Stop with the falsehoods. They are in the country illegally and they are illegal aliens.

"You don't have to be compassionate only logical. Even from a selfish perspective it makes more sense to educate these students and give them citizenship."

It does not make sense to me when there already is a large supply of legal labor in this country that is unemployed. Why dump more labor into a market with an over supply of labor?

Every dollar spent by the government on an illegal alien could have been spent on an American.

When Americans are fully employed and have enough in salaries for their basic needs and the needs of their families that will be the time for large numbers of legal immigrants.

The large number of illegal aliens now in this country are simply the result of the previous amnesty. We do not need to make the same mistake twice.

Posted by: bsallamack | August 15, 2010 3:18 AM | Report abuse

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