Toward the middle of every week, I check the News-Sentinel blog to see how readers have responded to my column from the preceding Saturday.
I'm always curious to measure how effectively I've made my argument. And I look for valuable feedback from readers who may point out an angle that I might have overlooked.
Three weeks ago, commenting on two stories by News-Sentinel reporter Jennifer Bonnett about the Lodi Unified School District's English as a second language classes, I wrote that after more than twenty years of teaching adult ESL, I had serious doubts about its effectiveness.
In my summary, I made two central points.
First if the district, and in fact, the America, wants to reduce the huge numbers of non-English speakers that drain increasingly scarce financial and teacher resources, the Mexican government will have to fulfill its obligation as a sovereign nation-state to provide for its citizens. Instead, Mexico actively pushes them toward California where they bring their school age children. Once here, more children are born.
Second, unless the decades-old trend of unchecked illegal immigration reverses itself, America as we know it will cease to exist.
Some News-Sentinel readers objected.
Some feel that a multicultural, multilingual California would be a richer, more rewarding place to live.
Others say that California once belonged to Mexico and it is only just that, through immigration, the state will gradually revert to its original status.
Still another group concluded that I am too harsh on the young second language learners. One invited me to go to Stanford University where her former ESL student is pursuing an advanced degree.
All those views are well and good. And many Californians hold them.
But here's the key thing. Every single one of them is an opinion and arguable.
Maybe bilingual signage and pressing 1 for English doesn't bother you. But it does me.
Mexico, in fact, did once own the California territory. But Mexico lost a war with the U.S., willingly signed a treaty, accepted payment in exchange for its land and thus allowed the U.S. to acquire California legitimately.
And sure, we can find ESL successes at Stanford and maybe even Harvard too. But with the California Hispanic high school dropout rate at about 25 percent, it's obvious that there are more failures than successes.
We can argue and argue and argue.
But there's no disputing my two conclusions. Like it or not, they're fact-based and 100 percent accurate.
To repeat, the students overwhelming our schools are either illegally in the US or the illegal aliens' children. If the U.S. enforced immigration law, they would still be in their native countries.
And if the border remains wide open, then the America that many Lodians and I grew up in is finished.
Should anyone care to challenge either of those two points, please feel free to contact me.
I'll make one final but important point that readers also overlooked.
Although some charged me of "hate," I'll simply say in my defense that I didn't pull the statistics out of the air. Don't kill the messenger.
Bonnett's original story and the column I followed up with cited the Pew Hispanic Center and the U.S. Census Bureau as calculating that by 2050 Hispanic K-12 student enrollment would increase by 116 percent nationwide and that two thirds of all San Joaquin Valley children are Hispanic.
The reality is that to deal effectively with the increasingly high rates of non-English speakers in California's public education system, we have to address what I refer to as politically incorrect "hate facts"— that is, facts that no one refutes but everyone ignores because of their connotation.
As long as no one—except maybe me—dares to talk about them, then you can expect more of the same, at least until 2050.
For now, that's as long as the Census Bureau looks ahead.
Joe Guzzardi [email him] is a California native who recently fled the state because of over-immigration, over-population and a rapidly deteriorating quality of life. He has moved to Pittsburgh, PA where the air is clean and the growth rate stable. A long-time instructor in English at the Lodi Adult School, Guzzardi has been writing a weekly column since 1988. It currently appears in the Lodi News-Sentinel.