Nothing shocks us anymore, especially when it comes to illegal immigration.
We've already seen the government on our southern border distribute millions of comic-book style guides to its citizens, informing them how to come to and survive in America illegally. (Read "Mexican Government's Official Guide to Illegal Immigration") Indeed, the "Guide for the Mexican Migrant" doesn't even pretend that it's intended to help legitimate legal immigrants.
The very first sentence of the Guide's introduction explains that readers will learn the answers to "some basic questions about the legal consequences of your stay in the United States of America without appropriate immigration documents, as well as the rights you have in that country once you are there, independently of your immigration status." But we digress, since that surprise came to light nearly three years ago.
The latest outrage is much closer to home. In fact, it's at home — in our nation's heartland to be specific — in a high school classroom in Ohio.
We couldn't believe it when we saw the story in Saturday's edition of the Columbus Dispatch. But there it was in black-and-white under the headline "Students struggle as immigrants do." Public school students were assigned the role-play project of immigrating to and then living and working in the United States ... illegally.
That's right, according to the newspaper, a Spanish teacher at Olentangy Liberty High School told her students to "assume a Latino identity, build an imaginary life in your home country and develop a workable plan to immigrate to the United States." At first, the students were urged to "[t]ry it legally," so they "[f]illed out the correct documents" and "[f]ollow[ed] the proper steps," even spending "days completing the actual paperwork from the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services." But that was not the lesson that the students were supposed to learn, so the teacher "took out her red ink pad and stamped a big, fat DENIED across every [legal documented] request." Then, she told the students to come to America illegally.
The story went on to explain that the students were assigned to "forge [their] documents" and to "find a way across the border." The students also had to "research real [classified] ads and find a place to live in Columbus," not to mention "how to get food" and "how to survive." As a result, according to the newspaper, "the students had to go to real businesses and ask for Spanish-language job applications," as well as "visit a bank and ask for new-account documents written in Spanish."
And to teach what lesson? Well, the story reports that the teacher "caution[ed] that the point isn't to sway the students, only to teach them a little empathy." But while that's a nice sentiment, it's more than a little bit disingenuous since the same news story explains that, from the outset, the teacher promised her students "that the process — even in make-believe — would frustrate them."
Indeed, the feature article says that the teacher "hoped" her students would gain "an understanding of what is one of the most important political and humanitarian issues facing the U.S, government today." We could agree with that, except for the slanted view these students learned through this teacher's lesson — not to mention an illegal one.
Ironically, in justifying her lesson, the teacher explained: "These kids will become our leaders, maybe even the people who make the laws. At the very least, they'll certainly be the people who vote on them. Shouldn't they learn something about it all now?"
Maybe so, but it would be better that they learn a legal lesson — rather than an illegal one — in our public schools.December 21, 2007
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