Extreme levels of immigrations are no longer limited to border regions. Oshkosh, Wisconsin, is learning that celebrating dissimilarity in schools is expensive and complex. The price tag is mounting up as more non-English-speaking kids appear, but teachers remain major Kool-Aid drinkers of the Diversity Is Our Strength poison.
Among the cheerleaders for multiculturalism is the Diversity Council which has a list of refugee myths. Their job is to make Oshkosh residents forget the history described in â€?The Ordeal of Immigration in Wausauâ€?, the ground-breaking 1994 Atlantic article by Roy Beck. The nearby city welcomed a few refugees, which quickly grew into thousands, with ensuing gangs, crime, worsened schools, increased taxes and general strife.
Todayâ€™s item includes a few interesting facts among the diversity propaganda.
New enrollment data shows growing diversity in Oshkosh schools, Oshkosh Northwestern October 21, 2010
Jennifer Cookâ€™s kindergarten classroom changed in two years from a space predominantly filled with white American children to one that includes students who speak Hmong, Kurdish and Urdu.
A profile of the Oshkosh student body reveals a culturally diverse population, and the mix of ethnicities is spreading.
Asians, Hispanics, African Americans and Native Americans now make up 15 percent of students in the Oshkosh public school district, according to official enrollment counts collected Sept. 17. Thatâ€™s about 1,500 students altogether, compared to 1,400 last school year.
District records also show 446 students do not speak English as their native language. The majority of those students speak Hmong or Spanish, but 22 other languages ranging from French to Punjabi (spoken in Pakistan and India) are also represented.
â€?I think itâ€™s one of the beautiful things about our schools. We have children who know more languages than English, and that only makes our schools stronger. Thatâ€™s life. The United States of America is a diverse country, and the children in our local schools are growing up with that diversity in our classrooms,â€? said Washington Elementary School principal Erin Kohl, who also coordinates services for English language learners in the district.
Oshkoshâ€™s history of accommodating its growing diversity has ebbed and flowed in recent years.
The district until two years ago only provided English language learning services only at specific sites. Recognizing a growing need, the district expanded services into every school beginning in the 2008-09 calendar year.
Those services were cut back the next year, saving about $63,000 by replacing several language interpreters with teachers who would focus on language learning strategies rather than translating.
Now, the 2010-11 budget would put $300,000 towards hiring more staff to work with non-English speaking students.
Interestingly, no taxpayers were interviewed to discern their opinion about the dollar cost of celebrating diversity.