There are currently several states debating whether or not they should raise the age that children must attend school if they have not already graduated. These states allow children as young as 16 to make a very adult decision to drop out of school. (20 other states and the District of Columbia do not allow this).
President Obama acknowledges that laws regarding compulsory education are decisions for states and local school districts, but he has wisely used his bully pulpit to encourage them to raise the age requiring kids to go to school. I’m a teacher and a mother, and I want to echo what the President says. Raising the compulsory age for being in school is good for kids. But it’s also good for us. All of us. Whether or not you have kids in school, kids being in school is necessary for this country to succeed.
I was lucky that I went to college in 1976. I was working as a secretary but I wanted so much to be a teacher. My husband and I were living paycheck to paycheck and could meet our bills just fine, but we had no extra money to send me to college. My parents were doing just fine, but they were still raising my little brothers and sisters, and they had no extra money to send me to college.
I am a teacher today because the government of the United States of America invested in me. My country gave me money to go to college.
I do not understand deliberate cruelty. I understand it exists. I understand that those who practice it can often justify it as excusable and even noble. But I do not understand it.
But cruelty to a child? This is beyond all understanding. It is cruel to deliberately frighten children. In Alabama they have passed an anti-immigrant law infinitely worsethan the shameful one passed in Arizona that got so much attention.
One thing that makes Alabama’s HB 56 worse is the provision designed to frighten school children and confuse families.
Immigrant families, which are overwhelming Latino families, are bound to be confused about what their rights are, and their rights are precious few, but clear.
One legal right was settled by the Supreme Court over 30 years ago.
All children, immigrant or not, with or without documentation, all the public’s children have the right to a public education. Children will not be punished with illiteracy for the acts of their parents. That’s the law. (more…)