© 2024 Blaze Media LLC. All rights reserved.
How the border crisis threatens public education
cnythzl/Getty Images

How the border crisis threatens public education

We need true leadership that will put America, and its students, first.

One of the unintended consequences of the Biden administration's willful and malicious attack on our way of life often gets ignored: how the ongoing border crisis is undermining our nation’s education system.

Fortunately, our public education system just dodged a major bullet in the form of the Senate’s bipartisan “border security” bill. After all the noise and confrontation coming out of the upper house these past few weeks over the much-anticipated legislation, the measure failed when most Republicans in the chamber eventually realized that the embarrassment of a bill would have done nothing to secure the border. Rather, it would have codified the practice of catch-and-release.

So what does the border crisis have to do with education? Plenty.

Though it may not be a polite fact to mention any more, it remains a fact nonetheless that illegal immigration puts a huge strain on schools and puts American children at a disadvantage. That has been the case for several decades, and the impact of this man-made border crisis has only exacerbated the problem.

As I explained in my recent message to Oklahoma’s federal lawmakers, the crisis poses a direct and immediate threat to our schools.

A 2023 study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform concluded that educating illegal immigrants imposes a massive unfunded mandate on U.S. public schools.

“Currently, 5.1 million students — or more than 10 percent of all students in American public schools — are designated as LEP [limited English proficiency],” the report explains. “Despite this, only 370,000 of teachers hold the proper certifications to adequately educate them, according to the U.S. Department of Education.” Further, the study adds that some 100,000 instructors are trying to fill the gap by standing in as LEP teachers without certification.

And that’s just one example of the strain schools currently face. A Center for Immigration Studies report from June 2023 points out that most illegal immigrants settle in areas that are already high-poverty areas, straining the already-limited resources available to already-disadvantaged American students.

As long as we are supporting education with our tax dollars, illegal immigration is going to put an unjust and preventable strain on resources meant for the children of people who are here in the country legally.

Beyond the financial impact, the much more personal and important impact is the influx of fentanyl through the border that is poisoning teenage students. The median monthly overdose deaths among adolescents increased 109% from 2019 to 2021, and 84% of all fatal overdoses for adolescents ages 10 to 19 in 2021 involved fentanyl.

Overdose deaths topped 112,000 in a 12-month period for the first time ever in 2023. In my state alone, fentanyl deaths increased 12-fold from 2019 to 2022, according to the Oklahoma Department of Health.

All of this is a complete travesty of what American education is supposed to be. Unlike Joe Biden, whose handlers are actively engaged in a clear attempt to destroy our way of life, Donald Trump understands that America is supposed to work for Americans. It’s a simple concept but one that seems to be completely forgotten by our ruling class.

Public education is not just a simple public service. It serves a higher purpose: the preparation of young Americans for participation in our economy and in the public life of a representative republic. As James Madison put it, “A diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty.”

Put simply, just as we should not bankrupt ourselves with endless foreign intervention at the expense of our current and future taxpayers, we cannot allow our classrooms to be overwhelmed at the expense of current students and future citizens.

We need and deserve a secure border. We need and deserve a school system that serves Americans, their children, and our future interests. We don’t deserve to be lied to by career politicians offering us a mass migration bill in the name of border security. What we need instead is true leadership that will put America, and its students, first.

Want to leave a tip?

We answer to you. Help keep our content free of advertisers and big tech censorship by leaving a tip today.
Want to join the conversation?
Already a subscriber?
Ryan Walters

Ryan Walters

Ryan Walters is the Oklahoma state superintendent for public instruction.