In 1983 the U.S. Department of Education published a report entitled A Nation at Risk, detailing what it described as an epidemic of mediocre performance by American public schools. The report stated, “If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”
The authors of A Nation at Risk could not have known it but the combined effect of Supreme Court’s decision in Plyler v. Doe and the 1986 amnesty would result in a large influx of foreign students in America’s public schools. Plyler v. Doe held that illegal alien children have a constitutional right to a free public education. The amnesty, and the lax enforcement accompanying it, attracted millions of illegal aliens to the United States. And those aliens promptly asserted that right, placing their children into public schools.
While the ongoing crisis in American public education can’t be blamed entirely on illegal alien children they are a significant exacerbating factor. In a 2012 Salon article, Michael Lind of the New America think tank noted that American schools are overwhelmed by a “disproportionately unskilled and illiterate foreign-born population.” FAIR estimates that it currently costs public schools $59.8 billion to educate this burgeoning demographic.
Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Jersey is suing five public school systems because they require parents enrolling their children to present a picture ID. New Jersey does not issue state ID cards or drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens. The ACLU considers this a discriminatory barrier to registering illegal alien children for school. And it may very well win those law suits, based on Plyler v. Doe.
Meanwhile, U.S. employers insist that they need to recruit foreign science, technology, engineering and math professionals because U.S. schools aren’t turning out suitable candidates. The business community clamors on behalf of foreign workers. The ACLU champions illegal alien school children. But who is defending the rights of American kids? In this situation, it seems like the real victims of discrimination are native-born American school children.