Are San Diego teachers right to teach migrant kids in-person?


Fact Box

  • According to US Customs and Border Protection, the number of migrant apprehensions have been increasing for the last 10 years, and reached a high of 96,974 in February 2021
  • On Wednesday, March 24, there were over 11,000 unaccompanied migrant children in the custody of the US Department of Health and Human Services. The majority were teens, but hundreds were children under 12-years-old.
  • As migrant numbers increase, San Diego teachers have been volunteering to teach hundreds of children at San Diego Convention Center.
  • SDUSD students will start hybrid learning April 12, but during the spring break holiday, migrant children are being taught in-person by volunteer teachers. The controversy lies in the act being a “constitutional right” versus unfair to San Diego-native students waiting for instruction.

Andrew (Yes)

The issue of helping migrant children with in-person instruction really comes down to one key factor: access. Many migrant children simply do not have access to high-speed internet, multiple up-to-date and modern devices on which they can complete their assignments, and, most crucial, parents to help keep them on track. By helping them with in-person instruction, San Diego's teachers are ensuring equal educational access for all children.

Many opposing more liberal immigration policies suggest that immigrants will be a drain on society, requiring more taxpayer resources. By educating these students, including the extra in-person help given by some teachers in San Diego, society helps ensure these young people will have options and the ability to support themselves and their families. Many of these young people may need extra help with English. Lack of education is a major predictor of poverty, and these teachers are right to help their students. 

A recent Fox News headline illustrates exactly how out of touch those who oppose the valiant efforts of these San Diego teachers are, reading, 'Teachers from San Diego Unified School District are teaching migrant children in person before their own students.' The particular phrase 'before their own students' shows the xenophobic thinking behind opposition to giving these children the help they may need. Why are these migrant children not included in 'their own students?' Perhaps because they are immigrants? Because they speak Spanish? The fact of the matter is that migrant students attend these schools and therefore receive help from teachers. To go above and beyond the call of duty like this should be commended, not ridiculed with hidden xenophobic agendas.

Elizabeth (No)

In-person teaching of migrant children being housed at the San Diego Convention Center should put to rest any ongoing questions about whether teachers' unions are abusing their power. Few would argue these students don't need care and support. However, given that the San Diego Teachers' Union has kept over 130,000 residential students under effective Covid 'house arrest' for the past year by allowing only online instruction, this turn of events is outrageous. 

The district stated instruction would take place 'during spring break,' but according to some, the timeframe runs through July, despite US immigration policy limiting detention to 72 hours. So, regardless of whether teachers won't be receiving additional compensation, they WILL be paid for teaching children in the country illegally; all the while, tax-paying residents of San Diego County still hope and wait to begin a hybrid schedule starting mid-April. It's plausible the teachers who have volunteered have opposed the ongoing union shut-down for their regular students, and they shouldn't themselves be blamed. But teachers' unions across the country have continuously put forth ridiculous, ever-shifting demands, and this turn of events underlines that fact, especially given the recent Covid outbreak among detainees. 

Despite claiming 'essential' status, teachers' unions have (unlike ACTUAL essential workers) refused to go to their workplace over the past year, resigning American students to increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicide, and abuse. They have continuously moved the goalposts for what constitutes a 'safe' environment for teachers/students to return to classrooms. The situation in San Diego makes a mockery of county residents who not only pay teachers' salaries but have been forced to abide by every whim the unions put forth.

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