January 26, 2009
Peter Brimelow writes: Frank Borzellieri, who describes himself as an "outspoken, libertarian, conservative, Eurocentrist", enjoyed three tumultuous terms on New York City's District 24 School Board, from 1993-2004. He has now published a memoir Lynched: A Conservative's Life on a New York City School Board, with an introduction by Dr. Herb London, every immigration patriot's favorite neoconservative. We excerpt it below.
Borzellieri writes tellingly:
"District 24 meetings, while technically 'public' meetings, were in reality attended solely by employees of the system, liberal education insiders and radical liberal parents whose interests were pushing a leftist agenda and securing employment for themselves."
Probably no-one who has not studied the education lunatic asylum can appreciate the craziness and coercion that Borzellieri had to withstand. Essentially, the inmates have seized power and instituted Soviet America. One minor example amid so many: the board voted to exclude from school libraries books including Longfellow's Paul Revere's Ride on the grounds that they represented "repudiation of other cultures". In effect, as Borzellieri says here, "Aliens have completely taken over".
New York school boards were abolished, part of the endless convulsions of the city's government school complex, in 2004. Borzellieri now teaches at St. John's University in New York. Depressingly, he tells me that while he was always re-elected overwhelmingly and would like to run for higher office, it's just too expensive.
In New York City, the bilingual follies know no bounds. In recent decades, public school children have been taught in over 80 different languages! Some of the more well-known tongues include Kpelle, Nyanja, Twi, Gurma, Cham, Ga, Khowan, Bemba, Ibo, Oriya, and Ewe. No kidding.
At school board meetings, I could cite facts on the failure of bilingualism 'til kingdom come, while culturally alien America-hating radicals could spout their venomous diatribes, and still the school board would always approve millions of dollars of tax money for this abomination.
Because District 24 was so well-known as the immigrant capital of the New York City school system, it was no wonder that bilingual education infested virtually every school in the district. Only the school board could have stopped it. But as usual, I was almost always all alone. In my entire eleven years on the board, not once was funding for bilingual education ever voted down.
It had been routine for the board to approve millions of dollars over the years without objections until I came along. Regarding one of the first resolutions to come before the board soon after my election, the Queens Times Newsweekly reported, "Frank Borzellieri continued his one-man crusade against the City Board of Education's bilingual education curriculum by voting against a grant… [he] has been very vocal in his opposition."
But a big explosion occurred months later when the Board of Ed itself released a report critical of its own bilingual programs, pointing to poor results for students who had been in them. [Education Progress of Students in Bilingual and ESL Programs: A Longitudinal Study, 1990-1994(PDF)]The report's release, which was front page news in the New York Times, caused a stir from radical alien groups.
Naturally, I was waving the New York Times article around from the stage at the next board meeting. The Times reported:
"In a first step toward re-examining bilingual education in New York City, the Board of Education released a study yesterday concluding that the current efforts to educate tens of thousands of students in their native languages are flawed.
"The study found that students—even recent immigrants—who take most of their classes in English generally fare better academically than students in bilingual programs, where little English is spoken." [Report Faults Bilingual Education in New York, By Sam Dillon, October 20, 1994]
Chancellor Ramon Cortines said, "This report appears to show that our students in bilingual programs are not showing rapid enough progress in English language proficiency."
The Times article went on to examine the report in detail, but the main thrust was that the exhaustive research and quantifiable student scores revealed what bilingualism's detractors had been saying for years—that not only does bilingual education not succeed in the very objective that justifies its existence (teaching foreign-born students English proficiency), but that it actually has the exact opposite effect (prevents children from learning English.)
Now you would think that school board members would regard a report issued, not by some national conservative think tank, but by the New York City Board of Education itself, as political cover for finally casting a responsible vote against squandering millions on a failed program.
A Daily News article, which appeared a day after the Times piece, focused on the radical anti-American reaction to the report. The News article began:
"A Board of Education report that criticizes bi-lingual programs could accelerate anti-immigration fervor and cut back resources to foreign children, opponents charge.
The News continued, "Hispanic groups slammed the report for failing to consider socio-economic factors…"
I was quoted in the article, too:
"However, one school board member said the study reinforces his belief that bi-lingual programs should be dropped. 'It's a disaster and a waste of taxpayers' dollars,' said Frank Borzellieri of School District 24. 'The way kids learn English is through immersion, the way my parents did in kindergarten. You throw them into a [regular] class.'"
At the next meeting, as I read aloud extensively from the Times article, I said, "Will this board continue to squander dollars of taxpayers in the face of overwhelming evidence?"
Board member Louisa M. Chan, however, continued to maintain that the program was not a failure and spouted the tired cliché that "It [bilingual ed] should be a bridge not a crutch."
Board member Elizabeth Gambino, in a rambling incoherent diatribe, said something about growing up with Austrians, Italians and Germans "without a teacher understanding their wants or needs." I've yet to meet any of those European-descended people she was talking about.
The resolution passed, with mine being the only voice of dissent.
On another occasion, the board was being asked to authorize $1,200 for the district's bilingual ed supervisor, Carlos Ledee, to attend a conference, the 24th annual of the National Association for Bilingual Education in Phoenix, Arizona. During the discussion phase, I wanted an explanation for this expenditure, so I questioned Ledee directly.
BORZELLIERI: "Is this a Marx Brothers reunion? It says this is the 24th annual. I guess that means there were 23 others. What do you do, I mean, what exactly is accomplished at these things?"
LEDEE: "I am proud to represent District 24 in our conferences because District 24 represents the third largest bilingual population in New York City… When I go to a national conference, I go as a representative of the largest, most wonderful, bilingual populations. We network and share, we learn from each other."
BORZELLIERI: "Well, it says you'll learn 'strategies and techniques.' What can you possibly learn that you don't already know?"
LEDEE: "It works both ways. We don't just take, we also give. When we sit with others in those parts of the country that are a little bit further behind in their developmental program, when we sit together, we share our experiences, we share our insights, so it's not just a matter of take, it's a matter of give."
BORZELLIERI: "Yeah, I know. It's taking money from the taxpayers and giving to bureaucrats for weekend trips."
LEDEE: "I understand you just mentioned taxpayer dollars. My budget is 18 million dollars. I'm asking for $1,200 to attend this conference."
BORZELLIERI: "What difference does that make?"
LEDEE: "$1,200 from federal funds, which is .00001 percent of my credit. That's a small investment for what we get from it."
BORZELLIERI: "What do we get from it? Students who can't speak English and who are kept in the program for six years?"
The resolution passed with me opposed.
The issue of bilingualism invariably would encompass larger social issues, such as English as the official language, the effects of immigration on the culture and the education system, and whether illegal immigrants should benefit from tax dollars.
As someone who had now gained a national reputation as a proponent of English as the official language of the United States, I was featured on ABC's "20/20" on a segment on official English.
Leading up to the broadcast, the local press ran stories on the fact that I would be on the show. Of course, I had already taped the show, so I knew what would be on it. Reporter Lynn Sherr and I took a stroll through Corona, a Queens neighborhood and part of District 24. No one spoke any English at all in the stores we entered randomly in the main shopping area. I joked on the show that my car had better not break down in this neighborhood. All of the magazines and store signs were also exclusively in Spanish.
In a different part of the show, I was in my apartment flashing official notices from the Board of Education in seven different languages, decrying this colossal waste of money.
Both the Queens Tribune and Queens Ledger ran stories on my upcoming appearance. As timing would have it, the newspaper articles would hit the stands on Thursday, the school board meeting would be that same night, and "20/20" would air the following night.
The Queens Tribune's headline read: "School Board Member on 20/20: 'Aliens Have Taken Over.'"
The article began:
"Controversial District 24 School Board member Frank Borzellieri stood alone in last year's vote to ban what he called 'anti-American' reading material from school libraries… Despite the overwhelming opposition of his own board, Borzellieri is undaunted in his quest to salvage the nation from what he perceives as the potential 'cultural ruin' posed by such literature and by the Board of Education's failure to extol America's cultural superiority in the elementary school curriculum.
"With those irons still in the fire, Borzellieri will be appearing on ABC's 20/20 this Friday… to discuss his stance on establishing English as the official language of the United States."
The article then quoted me at length: "Unless English is made the official language and unless multiculturalism in all its evil forms is eliminated, we will continue down the road to cultural ruin."
"[He was]," the Tribune said, "… equating the ethnic makeup and condition of Corona with the occupation of a conquering nation."
I was quoted:
"On Roosevelt Avenue I see flags of every Latin American country, blank expressions on the faces of store clerks when I ask for something in English, and even magazines like Reader's Digest totally written in Spanish… This incredible situation would have been no different if the United States had lost a war and been conquered by Mexico. Aliens have completely taken over."
On my fellow board members, I was quoted:
"They're hypocrites because they claim to love multiculturalism. Except when it comes to their neighborhoods. They choose to live in lily-white areas. I don't see any of these white liberals living in the areas they claim to love… They're not representative of the community. I'm the top vote-getter on the board."
The article concluded:
"With the unshakable belief he is pursuing the true wishes of his constituents, Borzellieri expressed confidence that his cause is correct, saying, 'In their hearts, people know I'm right.'"
The Queens Ledger quoted me speaking in a similar vein:
"Absolutely no one speaks English here [Corona], not even the clerks in the stores. We may as well be in Latin America. We are witnessing the cultural ruin of America by a group of aliens who have no desire to assimilate into American society and no desire to learn the English language."
Naturally, I was welcomed that night at the board meeting with somewhat less than open arms. A letter had been received by the board office just before the meeting by someone named Enrique Lugo on the letterhead of something called "Instituto Nacional de Proteccion al Menor," although under his signature it said, "La comunidad de Corona Queens unida, la comunidad Latina unida."[VDARE.com note: "Instituto Nacional de Proteccion al Menor" means National Institute For The Protection Of Minors, an organization that was founded both in the Dominican Republic and in New York City by Mr Lugo. The "National" of the Institute's name appears to refer to the Dominican Republic, not America]
At the meeting, Lugo showed up and read his letter aloud before the public and the board. I print it below in its entirety, word for word, leaving in all the grammatical mistakes and misplaced punctuation exactly as they were printed.
"Dear Mr Borzellieri :
"The fact that you sit today on the school Board of District 24 is a disgrace to this community, one of the most diverse and hard working community in Queens County whose achievements for a better quality of life for our neighborhoods, should set an example for others to follow.
"For you to come today as you have done in the past, using our children as pawns for your personal agenda is the last straw for your down fall. The fact that you refer to the Hispanic community as the cultural ruin of America by a group of aliens who have no desire to assimilate in to America's society an no desire to learn the English language, is proof enough that you are mentally retarded, a racist and an idiot whose knowledge of the American history is very limited. A country built on hard working immigrants from all nations, including Latinos from the true America's.
"Mr. Borzellieri you have no business in this community specially with our children whom you continue to insult and disgrace with your racial remarks. Take your person and your business elsewhere.
"We demand your immediate resignation, if not we guarantee that you will not be able to conduct any business in District 24.
"Get out ! or we will get you out!!!"
When Lugo finished, I took my microphone and said,
"First of all, Mr. Lugo, I'm going to do you a big favor. I am inclined to take this letter to the police because there appears to be a veiled threat of violence and intimidation here. But I won't. I'm just going to throw it out.
"Secondly, I want to thank you for proving my point for me about alien cultures, right in front of the public and the press like this. Let me explain something to you about this little tradition we have in Western Civilization and American culture called the democratic process. You see, we have these things called elections, which legitimize my presence on this board because I am duly elected to this position by the voting public of District 24. I know this concept is foreign to you and you may be more familiar with military coups and other undemocratic ways of removing people from elected positions.
"It is not our cultural tradition to remove people from duly elected office by threats and intimidation. If that is the prevalent position in your community, then it does indeed contribute to the cultural ruin of American society by your mere presence here. The way we handle things when we don't like someone in office is we appeal to the voters, and at the time of the next election you galvanize like-minded people to vote me out, get yourself a crayon and circulate petitions, and attempt to have me defeated on election day."
Lugo was nodding his head arrogantly and defiantly. "Don't worry, I will," he replied.
I countered: "Well, I swear to you and to the public that I'll win. So we'll see what happens."
Once again, it goes without saying that no one on the board said a peep about Lugo's thuggish language.
After that meeting, I neither saw, nor heard from, nor heard anything about Enrique Lugo again.
I did not, after careful consideration, throw his letter out. With the elections only a few months away, I photocopied his letter and sent it out as part of an election fundraising appeal. I also sent the exact same appeal to Lugo, so that he would know I was using his letter to my advantage.
I knew the letter would be extremely effective in raising money when people saw the kind of threats I had to put up with. When I was re-elected by a landslide, I sent out a form letter of thanks to friends and supporters, including press clippings of my big win.
Again, I sent this to Lugo also.
I never heard anything from him.