The Migrant Surge Is Coming To The Classroom

The Migrant Surge Is Coming To The Classroom

By Betsy McCaughey |

Democratic politicians and the liberal media made the first day of school all about welcoming migrant children. That’s sheer propaganda. Parents deserve the truth. The migrant surge is a disaster for their kids.

The surge will worsen our education system’s twin failures: plunging math and reading scores, and the failure to ensure newly arriving kids learn English so they can succeed, too.

Kimberly Carchipulla, who came from Ecuador and has been living at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan with her son, brought him to school on Thursday and said through a translator, “What I want for him is a future.”

That’s what all parents want. But when migrant children are added to the class, the rest of the kids get less of their teacher’s attention. A teacher will have to focus on the needy newcomers who speak no English and may not have been to school before. For the rest, it could be a year of lost opportunities.

Public school students’ reading and math scores have been falling for decades, hitting a new low this year, according to National Assessment of Educational Progress tests. One reason is the soaring number of non-English-speaking students, up from only 9% of public school students in 1980 to nearly 25% now.

Until the 1960s, children arriving in this country were put in public school without interpreters and bilingual teachers. Children were taught in one language — English. No confusion. The current approach is a disaster for migrants and for the rest of the kids in class with them. The data don’t lie.

Now typically, a bilingual teacher and teaching assistants try to teach — math, science, art, any subject — in two or more languages, speaking English at times but also answering questions in Spanish and other languages. It’s chaos. Everyone learns less.

Jean Skorapa, superintendent for a rural school district in Maine, says the 67 migrant children enrolling in her district “are a tremendous, tremendous benefit”: “They make our community diverse and more well-rounded.” All true. But that’s happy talk.

What about the impact on learning? Geralde Gabeau, executive director of the Immigrant Family Services Institute in Massachusetts, explains that migrant children will be placed “in a first grade class with other students who already know their ABCs, who already know how to read, so those children are going to suffer.”

New York City has disastrously low reading scores. The influx of non-English-speaking students makes the challenge greater.

European countries are also grappling with waves of migrants. IZA, a European think tank, reports that “a high share of immigrant children in schools leads to lower test scores of native children.” Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development researchers report similar findings.

It’s not about race or ethnicity. It’s about too many languages spoken in the classroom.

Politicians would rather pander than address it. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont says, “From the bottom of my heart, I want to make sure this is the most welcoming state in the country.” Yet state education statistics show that the more “high-needs” kids in the class, including non-English-speaking students, the lower the reading and math scores for the others.

The current system is lose-lose, hurting migrant kids as well. They’re given too many opportunities not to learn English. Lamont, for example, is expanding translation services for parents and interpreters for students. That’s misguided. Families need to be prodded to learn English, not linger in a language ghetto.

Some school districts in New York state are experimenting with temporarily schooling newcomers separately, offering them months of intensive language preparation to succeed as English-speaking students. Good idea.

But the United Nations insists children have a “right” to be educated in their native language. Nonsense. It dooms them to low-paying jobs.

The vast majority of non-English-speaking students — 97% according to one report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform — lack English proficiency when they graduate from U.S. high schools. That’s the definition of failure.

Last week, mothers gathered outside Park Avenue elementary school in Port Chester, New York, to pick up their kids. Few spoke English. Some mothers had attended the same school decades earlier. Yet they can’t speak English. Tragic.

Tell the pols to stop romanticizing this lose-lose disaster and start fixing it.

This is America.

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Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Betsy McCaughey is a contributor to The Daily Caller News Foundation and a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Arizona Standardized Testing Reveals Students Failing In English, Math

Arizona Standardized Testing Reveals Students Failing In English, Math

By Corinne Murdock |

The latest Arizona Department of Education (ADE) statewide assessment results revealed that Arizona students are failing in English and math. ADE published the results Friday, culled from the 2020-2021 versions of AzM2 and MSAA – the two versions of standardized testing administered to grades 3-8 and 10. The average passing rates differed depending on whether a student was from a district public school or charter school; charter schools had resoundingly better outcomes in statewide assessments, with an average of 10 percent more charter students passing the ELA and math sections compared to their district peers.

In district public schools, only 38 percent of students on average passed the English-Language Arts (ELA) section, while even less passed the math section – 31 percent. Approximately 84 percent of students took the ELA section, while 86 percent took the math section. Federal law requires at least 95 percent participation, but that requirement and others were made optional due to the pandemic.

When broken down by race, American Indian/Alaskan Native students had the lowest average passing scores in public schools, even below students who were classified as in the foster care system or homeless: 15 percent for ELA, and 11 percent for math. However, they ranked slightly above migrant students, 13 percent of whom passed the ELA section, and 11 percent passed the migrant section.

The highest passage rates by race came from Asian students: 69 percent for ELA and 68 percent for math. The highest passage rates of any non-racial classification came from military children: 53 percent for ELA, 44 percent for math.

All of the average passing rates in public schools under various classifications remained relatively consistent when broken down by grade level.

As for charter schools, the average percentage of students who passed the ELA and math sections increased by around 10 points or more. This was true for all types of students classified by ADE – students had higher passing rates at charter schools than the district public schools regardless of race, sex, or circumstance.

AZ Free News inquired with ADE what their plans are to address these falling test scores and the overall proficiency of Arizona’s students. They didn’t respond by press time.

In their press release, ADE called the test results “just one part of a student’s academic record.” The department announced that they had already “proactively” begun addressing the results through funding, programs, and initiatives, such as $9.6 million for online math education assistance from Arizona State University (ASU) and $6.5 million for extracurriculars from Discovery Education.

It appears that metrics of student success, like test scores, aren’t as much of a focus for ADE leadership. ADE Superintendent Kathy Hoffman has focused especially on COVID-19 mitigation in K-12 schools, calling for universal masking and criticizing Governor Doug Ducey for his opposition to such measures. It is unclear if Hoffman believes the same should be true for adults such as herself. As AZ Free News reported, the superintendent was caught maskless at a party last weekend. Hoffman still hasn’t addressed this incident.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to