Louisiana Hiring Filipino Teachers, Firing Americans—Where Are The Teacher Unions When We Need Them?

“It should be recalled that nurse
migration to the

began as a small and seemingly innocuous trend in the
1950s. In 2002, one in three nurses hired in the

was foreign educated. Such trends in the health sector
may foretell what is to come in education without
thoughtful intervention.”

Importing Educators Causes and Consequences of
International Teacher Recruitment
p.5, American
Federation for Teachers, 2009 [pdf.]

Will the teaching profession be
debauched by H-1B
workers as the nursing profession has

The above statement by the AFT
might seem to suggest that the

notoriously powerful teacher unions
are aware of the
danger. Here`s another from the rival union, the
National Education Association, in its 2003 paper
, by Randy Barber (it`s vanished
from the NEA website, but it`s still available on the


"In at least one egregious situation, a “bodyshop”—the Teachers
Placement Group—that was both the sponsor and employer
of nonimmigrant teachers illegally withheld significant
amounts of teachers` pay, an action that led to large
Labor Department fines and back-pay awards."

But American teacher displacement
is happening anyway. And the teacher unions` response
has been distinctly suspicious.

For example: on October 1, the
national AFT and its state affiliate, the Louisiana
Federation of Teachers (LFT), filed complaints to the
Louisiana Workforce Commission and the Louisiana
Attorney General against the contract agency Universal
Placement International (UPI). The complaints allege
that UPI engaged in illegal practices in order to
defraud Filipino teachers who contracted to work for the
Recovery School District (RSD). (This was created by the
Louisiana Department of Education in 2003 to reform
"low performing" schools.)

But what the complaints fail to
mention is that the Recovery School District used those
Filipino teachers
to replace their senior American teaching staff—and the unions did
nothing to intervene

Universal Placement International
is a contract agency that specializes in importing guest
workers on H-1B visas from the Philippines to work as
K-12 teachers. Businesses of this kind are called

The president and owner of UPI is Lourdes
Navarro. She is a native of the

who immigrated to
. She is also a
convicted felon who has been charged with many other
serious crimes including fraud. This is what the
attorney general of California had to say about her in a
June 05, 2000 press release:

Attorney General Lockyer Announces Four Arrests, Two Convictions in
Crackdown on Medi-cal Fraud by Blood Laboratories

“In the earlier case, Shams and Navarro were convicted on felony counts
of Medi-Cal fraud, grand theft, money laundering, and
identity theft for using the names of legitimate
physicians without permission and filing thousands of
false claims with the state for medical tests never
performed. The Attorney General`s Bureau of Medi-Cal
Fraud and Elder Abuse seized approximately $1.1 million
in uncashed warrants, which were returned to the Medi-Cal

“Clinic owner Navarro was sentenced to five years in prison upon
entering her guilty plea and ordered to pay $200,000 in
restitution by the end of the year. Navarro also was
required to surrender her license as a clinical
laboratory scientist and prohibited from owning or
working in any health care business.
Superior Court Judge Robert
Gallivan suspended the prison sentence under a plea

“Navarro`s partner Shams remains in custody pending sentencing in
October after pleading guilty to charges of Medi-Cal
fraud. A third laboratory owner, Zubair Younis, 42, of
, is being sought on a felony

UPI is almost certainly a Minority
and Woman-Owned”
Business Enterprise (I say
"almost certainly"
because I haven`t been able to
confirm that UPI is registered in a state as such—and
that may be because it is being delisted). Affirmative
action rules give these companies a huge competitive
advantage when seeking government contracts. The
rationale is that minority owned companies add to the
“diversity” of the workforce—look at this picture to see the

face of diversity at UPI

Here`s a timeline of events in Louisiana:

  • 2003:


    Recovery School District (RSD)
    was created by
    the Louisiana Department of Education. The purpose
    was to reform
    "low performing"

  • August 29,

    Hurricane Katrina
    . The hurricane
    destroyed or severely damaged thousands of schools
    and universities in the Gulf coast states. Over
    250,000 students had no school to attend. Thousands
    of teachers were instantly jobless.

  • November 2005:

    Over 107
    schools were put into the RSD.

  • May 4, 2007:

    Louisiana Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek
    appointed Paul Vallas to be superintendent of the

  • Summer 2007:

    RSD superintendent Vallas says his operation is
    suffering a severe teacher shortage. (Note
    carefully: less than two years after Katrina
    displaced thousands of teachers.)

  • May 30, 2008:

    A memo sent out to board members about a junket to
    the Philippines

    to hire teachers.

  • June 20, 2008:

    School officials go on an all-expense paid junket to

  • July 15, 2008:

    Board members send around emails about the Filipino

  • August 5,
    Caddo Parish schools notified that
    Filipinos with advanced degrees are being

    hired for low-performing schools.
    implication: Filipino geniuses

    would replace the incompetent American teachers
    Low-performing schools would now become academic

  • September 6,
    The first Filipino teachers report to
    work. Not long after, a group of Filipino teachers
    set up a

    Pinoy Teachers blog
    that described many abuses
    they suffered at the hands of UPI. (“Pinoy”
    is Filipino slang for
    The blog features extensive links to the AFT).

  • Nov 11, 2008:

    38 teachers have arrived from the Philippines.
    School administrators claim the Filipinos are very
    good performers.

  • August
    3, 2009:
    Superintendent Vallas announces
    major teacher layoffs, just two years after he
    declared a desperate shortage of teachers.

  • August 17,
    : New school year starts. By now about
    200 teachers with H-1B visas are

    holding jobs.
    That`s very close to the number of
    Americans that were fired. The number becomes even
    closer because some of the laid-off teachers were
    rehired by other schools. But, sadly, most of those
    teachers couldn`t find jobs in

    schools and had to leave the state.

  • September 30,
    A year after the first Filipino H-1B
    was hired, the union announces complaints concerning
    UPI. But not about the fact that Americans were
    displaced by Filipinos, but that the Filipinos were
    being mistreated.

  • October 1,
    AFT and LFT file complaints against

  • October 4,
    By this time 27,000 teachers in California had been pink slipped.
    Apparently, it never occurred to

    school districts to offer them jobs, or to go to
    junkets in Los Angeles or
    San Francisco

This is my summary of what
happened: School officials took an all-expenses- paid
junket to
. They must have had a
wonderful time because they decided to hire young female
Filipino teachers. So they announced there was a
shortage of teachers. But in fact they already had more
teachers than they needed because so many were jobless
due to layoffs and the Katrina disaster. That problem
was solved by initiating a large layoff of their
American teachers after they hired the Filipinos.

There is nothing unusual about the
strategy used by the school district. In my
study of the
ongoing H-1B racket
, I`ve seen it many times.

The script goes like this: First
employers decide to replace their American workers with
H-1Bs. So they announce there`s a shortage. Then,
shortly after the first wave of H-1Bs report to work,
they start firing Americans.

You would think that, nearly 20
years after the start of the H-1B program, newspapers and
unions would figure the script out. But they never do.
They are usually dumbfounded when somebody like myself
tries to explain it to them. If any of you find a
newspaper article that actually explains that American
teachers were replaced by H-1Bs in Louisiana please notify me. It would be the
first I have ever seen.

Sometimes you can detect it by
reading between the lines:

"Recovery District Superintendent Paul Vallas called any implication
that the district favored hiring new, young teachers
false, and said hiring authority lies with principals."
School District to lay off dozens of teachers today
by Sarah Carr, New Orleans Times-Picayune, August
3, 2009)

When politicians say something
ain`t so, then the first thing you know is that it is
so! Of course
the district favored hiring young teachers—that`s why
they fired their older Americans and hired young females
from the Philippines.

As I have

many times, H-1B doesn`t cause age
discrimination—but it makes it a lot easier for
employers to practice it. H-1B is an age discrimination
enabler because the program provides a huge pool of
fresh, inexpensive and indentured young blood to
exploit. From an employer`s point of view the rest of
the world has an infinite labor pool that can be used to
churn older, more experienced employees out, and younger
ones in.

To understand how churning works in
Louisiana schools, examine this

RSD Rookie table:


Recovery School District to lay off dozens of teachers
, by Sara Carr, New Orleans Times-Picayune,
August 3, 2009).

This table shows that almost all of
the teachers in the Recovery School District have less
that 5 years teaching experience. Comparing the Rookie
Chart with the data from the recovery school district

salary chart
reveals some interesting


School District

Yearly Salary Chart

















RSD teacher

slowly with years of experience. For example, an entry
level teacher with a Bachelor`s degree earns $43,294 per
year and goes up about $500 a year. 
Thus it costs the school district $11,400 less to
employ a new teacher instead of a 30 year veteran. But,
by an amazing coincidence, the majority of RSD teachers
are young and therefore tend to earn the lower
entry-level salaries.

The situation can be far worse than
the RSD salary table suggests. The 2003 NEA report did a
good job explaining what would actually happen at the
RSD years later:

“There is at least anecdotal evidence that, absent a collective
bargaining agreement or law or policy, some school
districts pay their nonimmigrant employees as new
teachers, regardless of their experience and

H-1Bs are regularly paid less than
entry level salaries—no matter what college degree they
hold! Thus, in the Recovery School District,
H-1Bs often don`t receive a
“new teacher”
salary as defined by the wage tables. The DOL public
disclosure website for

Labor Condition Applications
shows that most of
these Filipino teachers get a salary of about $36,900.
That meets the minimum federal
“prevailing salary” requirement, but it`s not the same as a fair
salary—according to the RSD`s own wage chart, the lowest
wage teacher with a Bachelor`s degree should receive is

That $6,394 differential in pay
makes it very difficult for Americans to compete for
these jobs. Americans will be required to earn the
salary from the RSD table, and the difference in
starting salary will increase if they have an advanced
degree. The H-1B must accept
“prevailing salary”, which in this case is less than what a
comparable American can be paid. H-1B visa holders and
Americans are beholden to two different rule books.

In simple terms, first year
teachers get first year salaries and benefits. So every
time the school hires a fresh wave of Filipinos or new
college graduates, they can fire older employees and
save lots of cash. A policy of churning employees is
made immensely easier and more profitable when
immigration programs such as H-1B provide an essentially
unlimited pool of young foreign workers.

University of California at Davis`
Professor Norman Matloff explained in detail in his

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform
savings that employers such as the RSD can realize by
hiring H-1B teachers. He defines two different kinds of
savings that are applicable – Type 1 when an H-1B is
paid a lower salary because the
rule allows it, and Type 2 savings which are
attributed more to age discrimination. Both types of
savings were enjoyed by the RSD. [On
The Need For Reform Of The H-1B Non-Immigrant Work Visa
InComputer-Related Occupations, Fall 2003,

Politicians and the media never
seem to tire of the romantic notion that

unemployed engineers


go back to school
to get math and science

teaching certificates,
so that they can fill slots
that are supposedly in short supply. It`s a trap even
many unemployed techies fall into—because they don`t
understand that the age factor will severely harm their
odds of finding a teaching job. Schools will usually
choose a young college graduate with no experience
versus an older professional with a new teaching
certificate. And they will choose an H-1B over an
American college graduate. The dynamics of age
discrimination and H-1B are lost on almost every labor
expert and economist in the U.S.


isn`t the only state that`s doing this. UPI posted news
videos about their Filipino teachers that have been
placed in many areas of the nation. Go

to watch.


for example. It

UPI as a registered supplier for foreign

The NEA report shows how widespread
the H-1B teacher phenomenon is:

There were about
15,000 K-12 teachers working under nonimmigrant visas in
the US during the
2002-2003 school year, 10,000 under the H-1B visa and
5,000 on the J-1 visa.

Since the NEA report, there have
been many stories from schools all across the U.S. that
use H-1B teachers.  Many
of them, including

this incredible story from New York
have already


Needless to say, the teacher unions
should be commended for filing these complaints.
Unscrupulous employers shouldn`t be allowed to get away
with the kind of exploitation and abuse that UPI is
alleged to have perpetrated on their Filipino workforce.
But the union complaints don`t go far enough. American
teachers who lost their jobs to the Filipinos are still
without redress.

Arguably, enforcing regulations
will help to insure equity in the labor force, and
reduce the incentive for employers to favor exploitable
foreign workers. But, as explained earlier though, even
if the rules are followed, American teachers will still
be at a competitive disadvantage. Enforcing regulations
will not save significant numbers of American jobs.

During the 20 or so years of the H-1B program,
teachers` unions have failed to file complaints or
lawsuits on behalf of American teachers who have been
displaced by foreign labor. In contrast, there have been
many investigations on behalf of foreign guest workers that were initiated by various government agencies,
and as a result of lawsuits. It appears that the
priority of the teacher`s unions is to make sure
foreigners don`t get ripped off by their employers even
while Americans are getting ripped off of their jobs.

The trend is getting worse. Be sure to read

New Report Shows Schools Increasingly Hiring Foreign
Teachers Over Americans
[FAIR Legislative
Update September 21, 2009]

Why are the unions so eager to help
foreign workers who are imported to work in the U.S.,
while at the same time they are so averse to stopping
the displacement of American teachers?

My opinion—speaking as one who has
been repeatedly rebuffed when seeking to explore the
issue with union officials—is that this is one of those
cases where the teacher unions
their own perceived interests first

Union officials don`t want to
challenge the liberal consensus that immigration is a
Good Thing. As long as the imported teachers join the
union, they are willing to sacrifice their American

Rob Sanchez (
him) is a Senior Writing Fellow for

Californians for Population

and author of the "Job
Destruction Newsletter"
(sign up
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Rob Sanchez, click