A growing number of school districts are hiring teachers from foreign countries to fill shortages in math, science and special education. [Schools in need employ teachers from overseas, By Emily Bazar, October 22, 2008]Contrast that to this Associated Press story:
More than 400 of the lost jobs are expected to include teachers in the core subject areas of math, science, social studies and English. An additional 500 employees — such as teacher aides, hall monitors and clerks — will also lose their jobs.[150 Dallas school employees lose jobs, October 11, 2008 ]Hmmmmmmmmmm! So, what is going on here?
Salaries are definitely one reason school districts want to dump their experienced teachers. According to USA Today
Segun Eubanks, director of teacher quality at the National Education Association, the USA's largest teachers union, says many of those districts have trouble keeping teachers for reasons including low pay, disruptive students, and a lack of books and materials.There is another reason for the job losses that is far more insidious — BILINGUALISM!
Texas colleges and universities don't produce enough bilingual education teachers. So, to close that gap, DISD and many other urban school districts with a lot of Spanish-speaking students recruit teachers from countries such as Mexico. School districts are under pressure to comply with state law that requires bilingual education.[Many fear teachers from abroad will be favored as DISD cuts jobs, By Katherine Leal Unmuth, Dallas Morning News, October 16, 2008 ]So, what we have here is a bunch of school districts that are replacing their domestic teachers with cheap foreign labor that come to this country with H-1B and TN (Trade NAFTA) visas.
I have a couple of suggestions I would like to give to USA Today to deal their claimed shortages of teachers:
1) The teacher's union or an unbiased think-tank should do a comprehensive study to find out how many math, science, and special ed teachers are losing their jobs, and that should be compared to the numbers that USA Today and other media ilk claims we need. Press releases and TV coverage should be used to expose liars like USA Today.
2) All districts that are laying off teachers should be required to pay for them to go back college in order to get certificates that enable them to teach in science, math, or any other subject that is declared to have shortages of teachers. Once the teachers get the education or certifications they need the school district will guarantee that any new teachers hired are the retrained ones, and the school district must pay the teachers at their last pay scale. Following that regimen will put an end to the open ended promises made to desperate people that once they get certified to teach math or science it will be easy to find a job, and it will prevent school districts from mislabeling what they are doing as "layoffs" instead of what they really are doing — permanently replacing Americans with cheap foreign labor.
Seriously folks, just how much math does somebody have to learn to teach 5th graders how to do multiplication? Remember the newsletter I did about the scientist who did the research for a Nobel prize, but is now getting $10 an hour driving a van? Surely he could handle teaching biology to high schoolers or arithmetic to 5th graders, couldn't he?