Import Teachers Who Can’t Speak English—Alienate Reagan Democrats

Last week, the Washington Post ran an amusing story on a new public school teacher in suburban Maryland`s Prince George`s County who can`t speak English very well.

Sixth-grade teacher David Colon, who was recently recruited from Puerto Rico, admitted:

“`My mother, her English: excellent. My father, excellent,` Colon said. `Pero me, eh, regular.`

“A friend helped him translate this point: `I try to tell the kids that my English is limited, so I hope you don’t judge me. In this class, we don’t judge each other—we help each other.’`”

[With Hispanic students on the rise, Hispanic teachers in short supply, by Robert Samuels, November 15, 2011]

It`s important to note that Señor Colon`s struggles with English aren`t a mistake—they`re a triumph of government policy.

Why hire teachers who are bad role models for speaking English? According to the Washington Post’s Samuels:

“This month, the left-leaning Center for American Progress reported that almost every state—including Maryland and Virginia—has a large need for more minority teachers.

According to this report, 41 percent of public school students are non-white, but only 17 percent of public school teachers are.

Samuels continues:

“Beltsville Academy was so desperate for a Hispanic teacher that it hired one who is still learning English.”

And higher-ups aren`t apologetic. Samuels reports:

“`If we hear of a Hispanic teacher who is qualified, we are going to go after them,` said Robert Gaskin, [Email him] the county’s recruiting director.’Everyone is.` Gaskin said Colon’s assets as an educator outweigh the challenges of his limited English.” [Links added by VDARE.com throughout].

Recruiting Hispanic teachers, even ones who can`t speak English very well, is expensive:

“Prince George’s, like many school systems, faces several challenges in finding Hispanic teachers in tight budget times. Many of its Hispanic residents are immigrants and lack college degrees. County recruiters have tried several strategies: word of mouth, e-mail blasts, going to Puerto Rico, recruiting from colleges with many Hispanic students and offering to cover job prospects’ relocation costs to sweeten the deal.”

Why go to all this trouble? WaPo’s Samuels asserts:

“The surge in Hispanic students across the nation is forcing schools to reckon with a deep shortage of teachers who share their cultural heritage.

“More than 21 percent of schoolchildren are Hispanic, experts report, compared with 7 percent of teachers. No other racial or ethnic minority group has such a wide disparity. In the struggle to close this gap, the stakes are high: Research suggests that a more diverse faculty might lead to better attendance, fewer suspensions and higher test scores.”

VDARE.com correction: In reality, research is supposed to suggest that diversity among teachers leads to higher test scores. But some 45 years of looking has not, in fact, brought much evidence for that Politically Correct idea.

James Coleman wanted to report it in his celebrated 1966 Coleman Report, which was funded by the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But his huge study came up with three unwanted findings:

  • First, what kids bring from home (e.g., their nature and nurture) largely drive test scores.
  • Second, teachers with good vocabularies and reading comprehension (i.e., higher IQs) have a mildly positive effect on their students.
  • Third, black teachers, especially black male teachers, tended to have a big enough shortfall cognitively that they were, on average, slightly detrimental to their students.

Coleman worried over this finding—and then left it out of the Coleman Report. He only confessed it years later, reflecting that he had betrayed his credentials as a scientist by censoring himself.

But in any case, some simple reality checks ought to have suggested themselves to Samuels (and his editors).  

For example New Mexico and California have relatively high percentages of Hispanic teachers—but low test scores.

Moreover, even in theory, the idea of scraping the bottom of the barrel harder for minority teachers ought to raise rational concerns about what that does to students.

Granted, Señor Colon doesn`t look too diverse. Like most of the beneficiaries of quota hiring of Hispanics, Colon is whiter than average, a point that reporter Samuels slips in deftly:

“Colon, 29, has small eyes, slick black hair, pale skin and animated hands.”

But how many Washington Post readers will get the joke?

An even funnier joke: Colon was hired because Prince George`s County, perhaps the wealthiest black-dominated county in the country, is filling up with Spanish-speaking students. So what was Colon brought from Puerto Rico to do?

Colon teaches Spanish-speaking students how to speak Spanish!

Talk about coals-to-Newcastle!

But what should a school filling up with children from Spanish-speaking homes do? Simple: it should shift resources from teaching Spanish (they can learn Spanish at home for free) to teaching English.

The unmentionable truth: Spanish instruction in public schools increasingly exists mostly to provide Latino students with an easy subject in which to garner high test scores.

A few years ago, a friend took his daughter on a college tour of UC Santa Barbara. The perky young Hispanic lady from the Admissions Office reassured the mostly Mexican students on the tour that they shouldn`t worry about their poor test scores: “I always got bad scores. But that`s because I`m a bad test taker. Yet, I got a perfect 800 on the Spanish SAT Subject test, so here I am!”

We`re always told that the youth of America must study Spanish because Latin America is such an economic powerhouse. But consider how few students are taught German today. Slightly more than one out of every thousand high school students takes the Advanced Placement test in German Language. In contrast, 25 times as many students take the AP Spanish Language test.

And Germany actually is an economic superpower—the Financial Fourth Reich, deciding the fate of the Euro.

So why has studying German in school practically died out, despite Germany`s pre-eminence in international business?

Because, as John Cleese (recently in trouble for noting that London is no longer an English city) might say: We won The War.

Because of the Anglo-American victories in the 20th Century`s wars, English is the dominant global language in the 21st Century. And it`s only becoming more dominant. We expect ambitious Germans to learn English as a second language. If you want to get ahead in this world, it pays to speak English.

So, if we don’t need German, why go to great expense to find Spanish teachers for Spanish speakers?

Another funny irony: the diversity dogma is so impenetrable that it drives hiring even in Prince George`s County—where half the teachers are black.

In general, African-Americans don`t like Spanish. They find being forced to study it is just a reminder of their demographic displacement as the biggest minority group. And blacks don`t like people speaking Spanish around them. It makes them uneasy, it makes them feel less street-smart. The strangers could be conspiring out loud in Spanish to jump them and they wouldn`t be able to tell.

Maybe this isn`t a realistic fear, but that`s how a lot of lower class blacks feel.

Blacks don`t really like any language other than English. But middle class African-Americans sometimes do find French attractive. French offers them the attractions of exoticism while still maintaining the imperative to keep it real, since French is intertwined with the history of jazz. That great art form originated in the French Quarter of New Orleans, and many black jazz musicians found appreciative audiences in Paris. Not surprisingly, blacks make up just 2% of all Spanish AP test takers and but 8% of all French AP test takers. Also, the number of black girls who score the maximum score of 5 on French is pretty decent. Overall, French is probably the best black AP subject. So the most likely way to get African-Americans interested in a foreign language would be to invest in French.

But even a black-run district can`t stand up to the tidal wave of policy-driven demographic replacement.

As I`ve been pointing out for years, immigration and affirmative action are, as Hugh Davis Graham said, on a collision course. When the Nixon Administration invented quotas in 1969, there were about seven white benefactors for every black beneficiary. But by extending quotas to immigrants in 1973, Nixon set a demographic time bomb ticking—the “racial ratio” is shrinking to the point of instability.

Still, Hispanics, or at least the Mexicans I`m most familiar with, remain more leery than blacks of using diversity and affirmative action to take the more upscale jobs that they would likely be lousy at. This has slowed the collision. But it hasn`t thrown it off course. 

As this Washington Post article illustrates, on the rare occasions when white people do pay attention to Hispanics, they tell them to follow the black path and grab for all the quotas they can get.

The logic of Diversity Think simply doesn`t allow for any realism.

You can`t say: “Well, if Hispanics tend to be bad students, as their test scores suggest, they might tend to be bad teachers, too, so let`s just hire the best teachers of any ethnicity to improve their scores.”

No, you are supposed to say: “Since Hispanics don`t like studying, we need more Hispanics teaching!”

That doesn`t make any sense—which is why it`s considered in poor taste to spell out the illogic.

The good news: white people don`t really care about Hispanics the way they care about blacks, so there isn`t quite as much pressure to follow this reasoning to its irrational end as there is with blacks.

But, still, you can`t publicly disagree with the logic. And so the system slowly grinds onward.

Finally, as I`ve also been pointing out for some time, while Republicans need to address the huge cost of civil servants, it doesn`t make much electoral sense for the GOP to merely wage war on this huge voting bloc without offering them anything in return. It would save the taxpayers’ money, and swing a few votes toward the right, if Republicans would publicly offer to protect cops, firemen, and teachers from the discrimination they now suffer just because they are white and English-speaking a.k.a. Americans—exactly what is going on in this Prince George’s county microcosm.

Being a wild-eyed extremist, my suggestion to GOP strategists is to offer this deal to civil servants:

“We`re going to take a sharp pencil to abuses like government workers piling up all their vacation days in their last year on the job so they can retire on lavish pensions. You won`t like that. But, in return, we`re going to keep you from being victimized by your bosses and politicians just because of your race or ethnicity. Because fair is fair.

In contrast, the deal offered by Establishment Republican voices to voters who are public school teachers (and only slightly less so to cops and firemen) is:

We hate you.

 Does the GOP/ GAP want Reagan Democrats i.e. the white working class—or not?

[Steve Sailer (email him) is movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.blogspot.com features his daily blog. His book, AMERICA’S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA’S "STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is available here.]