Joseph Gale 4th grade classes each have 35 kids with barely room to turn around in the classroom.
The level of noise in the classroom is distracting to say the least. In my daughter's class the students have a huge range of (dis)ability with some who can barely read and one reading at 12th grade level. Some who can barely add, some doing long division. (This besides the mainstreamed "special needs" kid who is learning to button his shirt.) I don't know how the teachers cope, but I know it can't be easy.
Some parents are preparing to riot, through all the proper channels of course.
Fueled by a 10 percent jump in Latino students, Oregon public school enrollment grew by nearly 7,000 students this school year, the largest growth in a nearly a decade.
State enrollment rose to 559,228 students in fall 2005 from the previous fall, including 84,246 Latino students.
"The surprising increase in the number of public school students this year will continue to put pressure on Oregon schools and districts," said Susan Castillo, state school superintendent. She said increased enrollment means bigger classes, which makes it more difficult for teachers to reach every child who needs extra help.
Oregon school districts conduct a student count every October, but it has taken this long for all of them to report this years' results to the Oregon Department of Education. The enrollment figures show:
Latino enrollment grew by nearly 7,500 students, with the biggest numbers in primary grades.
As a teacher, I sat dumbfounded last May 16, 2005, when the Rocky Mountain News inked a story, "What Happened?" to a stunned Denver, Colorado audience. In a five year study starting in 1999 in Denver Public Schools, 5,663 students started the eighth grade. Five years later, only 1,884 graduated from high school. That's a 65 percent drop out/flunk out rate! That's pathetic, if not frightening.
What was the cause? First of all, 30,000 illegal aliens, speaking 40 different languages, attended Denver schools. Our classrooms suffered thousands of kids functionally illiterate in English with parents functionally illiterate in English and Spanish. The classrooms featured so much incompatible diversity that it created horrific tension, stabbings and death. Thus, American kids suffered a profoundly dumbed-down educational process. One in five teachers quit or transferred out of those Denver classrooms every nine month cycle during those five years.
Last week, the Denver Post announced that 30 percent of teachers in Denver schools were not coming back next year. This is a nationwide travesty. Why? As a teacher, I taught in the inner city in the 1970s. It's exasperating beyond understanding to walk into a classroom where children suffer learning disabilities, broken homes, teen pregnancies at 14, 15, 16, multiple languages and violent confrontations with other ethnic groups. It's impossible to teach. I left my idealism in the ghetto and escaped to a suburban school. But, today, teachers can't escape because over 1.5 million illegal alien students with more than 100 languages attend our kids' schools nationwide. We witness a national breakdown in education. Last week, Superintendent Roy Romer of Los Angeles public schools resigned in frustration and defeat. California schools match the violence of a war zone.
Can you imagine such a failure rate across the country? Can you imagine the consequences of an illiterate generation leading this Republic into the 21st century? Folks, this country won't make it. Where is the outrage?
The second campaign we are doing is opposing HR 4437 - an extreme anti-immigration bill passed by the US House and being introduced to the Senate. This bill makes being an 'undocumented immigrant' an Aggravated Felony. It makes helping any undocumented person a felony - 'transporting aliens' - something that will be used against unions that organize immigrant workers. It will set up a nation-wide computerized employment registry - you will need to prove you are a US citizen to get a job, and the Federal Government will keep track of all employment. THIS IS BEING PUSHED AS AN 'ANTI-TERROR AND BORDER ENFORCEMENT' BILL. We are asking people to write to Senators Smith and Wyden to stop this legislation.
It was suggested that a list of web sites be published, where people can connect to new ideas promoting peace, war-tax resistance, and social justice. What fllows [sic] is a short list of sites and organizations. The following groups have a personal relationship with West County Council for Human Dignity, and the Rural Organizing Project. We have worked together for a long time and support each other's struggles. There are many other great sites and organizations out there. Please feel free to post them for our benefit.
www.rop.org Web site of the Rural Organizing Project - Promoting democracy in rural Oregon. Linking 60 local grassroots groups together across 30 counties of Oregon, to work for peace, social justice, equality. Come to the People's Convention and annual ROP Caucus, May 6-7, in Woodburn @ PCUN Union Hall. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.peaceworks.org voice of Oregon's peace movement, especially outside the Portland area. Links to many other peace groups such as the war tax resisters.
www.theportlandalliance.org newspaper voice of the Portland left.
www.afsc.org American Friends Service Committee - Quaker based social justice and peace group, long time activist organization. Currently taking a lead to fight the anti-immigrant backlash.
www.kboo.org Our favorite radio station
www.pcun.org Voice of Oregon's farmworker 's union - Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste. Fighting for farm workers' rights, the rights of immigrants - saying 'No human being is illegal' MARCH FOR IMMIGRANT RIGHTS - SAT. MARCH4, 12 NOON, PIONEER COURTHOUSE SQUARE, PORTLAND.
www.mfso.org Military Families Speak Out - the voice of families with loved ones in the military. The most remarkable development in the peace movement is the anti-war military families' movement. Cindy Sheehan's group, as well as our local friends, Michelle DeFord, Eric Blikenstaff, and many others.
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