On March 26, 2006, I posted about the Supreme Court's 1982 decision in Plyler v. Doe that requires school districts to provide free access to education regardless of a student's immigration status. Tom Shuford, writing for EducationNews.org yesterday, has posted an extensive analysis of Plyler v. Doe that contains some important facts on the costs of education of illegal immigrants in Texas. Examples:
Studies put Texas' cost of educating undocumented students as high as $1.65 billion a year, an expense that easily outpaces other costs associated with illegal immigration, such as medical and criminal justice services. The cost of illegal immigration to Texas' public schools jumps to about $4 billion a year, according to one study, when the immigrants' children - some of whom were born in the United States and are, therefore, citizens - are counted. In return, their families contribute nearly $1 billion to the state sales and property tax coffers, according to a study by Jack Martin, special projects director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group that supports tighter restrictions on immigration.
The impact on the Houston Independent School District? In addition to requiring extra books, teachers and classroom space, HISD had to ramp up bilingual instruction, increase social services and develop programs to help countless immigrants catch up academically. The number of Hispanic students in HISD has more than doubled since the 1982 ruling. The district now spends $158 million a year on bilingual and English as a Second Language programs and hires 2,391 teachers - about 20 percent of the teaching staff - for those classes, according to state records. ("1982 Ruling a Catalyst in Immigration Debate, " Houston Chronicle , May 21, 2006).