Lance T. Izumi - Contributor
[Courtesty of Pacific Research
Izumi is Director of Education Studies for the Pacific
Research Institute and
Senior Fellow in California Studies. He is a leading expert in
education policy and the author of several major PRI studies.
[go to Izumi index]
Teachers Association Members Should Join Minutemen
The union could follow the money…
[Lance T. Izumi] 5/19/05
Teachers Association (CTA) is hammering the governor with the
that he’s partially responsible for a $9.8
billion “cut” to K-12 education over the last four
years – a claim debunked by the state’s Legislative
Analyst. If the CTA really wants to get this money back, however,
perhaps it should consider supporting the governor’s pointed
comments on illegal immigration.
In recent weeks the
governor has been outspoken on various aspects of the illegal
immigration issue. He has said that the federal
government is not doing its job in controlling the border. He
has backed the Minutemen Project, whose volunteers are patrolling
the border in Arizona and are having success in reducing the
number of illegal border crossings. He even criticized a Los
Angeles television station’s billboard that identifies
its market as “Los Angeles, Mexico.” The reaction
to the governor’s remarks has been predictable.
Democratic state controller
and potential gubernatorial candidate Steve Westly opined that
Governor Schwarzenegger was “condoning
vigilantism,” while the militant Nativo Lopez, head of
the Mexican American Political Association, called the governor’s
comments “nothing short of racism.” Various conservative
groups and commentators lined up in support of the governor’s
position. Yet, the CTA and other education establishment groups
have been noticeably silent, despite the huge cost that illegal
immigration is imposing on the state’s education system.
Studies going back
more than a decade have shown that it costs billions of dollars
to educate the children of illegal immigrants.
Eleven years ago, the U.S. Department of Justice released a study
conducted by the Urban Institute that, based on the size of California’s
illegal immigrant population in 1993, estimated that California’s
annual education costs increased by nearly $1.3 billion due to
illegal immigration. Of course, the illegal immigrant population
has increased markedly since 1993.
Whereas the Urban
Institute study estimated that 1.5 million illegal immigrants
lived in California in 1993, current estimates
of the illegal immigrant population in the state range from 2.4
to 3 million. It is estimated that there are presently approximately
one million illegal immigrant children or American-born children
of illegal immigrant parents in California’s public schools.
The 2004-05 spending
figure, which includes only state General Fund and local property
tax money, is $7,012 per pupil. That
means illegal immigration wields an impact of some $7 billion
on education costs in California. However, it should be noted
that total education spending for 2004-05, including all federal,
state and local education revenues, comes to $9,863 per pupil.
Using the latter figure, the impact of illegal immigration rises
to more than $9.8 billion. Although not comparable, this amount,
coincidentally, is the same as the “cut” in education
claimed by the CTA.
With the continued
surge of illegal immigrants into California, simply securing
and controlling the border would at least slow
the increase in education costs resulting from illegal immigration.
More dollars would then be available for the myriad of other
education needs. So will the CTA and the rest of the public education
establishment join the governor in his quest to control illegal
immigration? They should, but they won’t. This tells Californians
a lot about why it’s so hard to fix things in the state. CRO
2005 Pacific Research Institute