Published on November 30th, 2007

By Randy Alcorn 

Ours is the Information Age in which great nations remain great by having technological superiority. In this age there is a premium on knowledge creatively applied and on critical thinking that delivers ingenuity. Brute military strength and an abundance of natural resources can no longer guarantee national vigor. If they did the Soviet Union might still be around.

In the Information Age, education is essential to maintain the nation’s technological superiority and economic strength. The nation’s children are its most critical resource—to be developed, or to be squandered. Alarmingly, the effectiveness of public education in America has been in steady decline in recent decades. This decline is one of the symptoms of the insidious decay that can eventually destroy a great nation. While the alarming decline in the performance of America’s K-12 students has resulted in various knee-jerk legislation intended to force a renaissance in public education, one of the chief causes of the decline, massive foreign immigration, has been foolishly unacknowledged and negligently unaddressed.

California is generally considered to be America’s leading edge of cultural change and a predictor of national trends and conditions. If this is so, California is a disturbing example of what may happen to the entire nation if population levels continue to grow unabated. California’s population has doubled over the past three decades, virtually entirely from foreign immigration. The weight of this unnatural growth has put severe stress on infrastructure and on public services, especially public education.

Applying the usually reliable notion that what gets measured gets done, legislatures at both the national and state levels have imposed standardized testing regimens on public schools. These measures, however, have done little to improve real learning, while they have transmogrified our public schools into testing centers where young minds are hosed down with specific content that they are expected to sponge up and then wring out on the next standardized test. While a sufficient passing percentage on these tests will ensure that the keepers of the public treasurey will bless a school with continued funding, it has done little to teach children how to think critically, creatively, or cogently—the very mental skills the nation needs to thrive in the Information Age.

California’s educational system is perhaps the most affected by the phenomenon of deteriorating education, and, not coincidentally, it is also the state most impacted by massive foreign immigration. At its current rate of population growth, California would need to build one new elementary school every day of the year to keep up with the explosive growth in student population. Complicating matters is that at least a quarter of the student population does not speak English or has severely limited language ability in English. This situation, not surprisingly, has contributed greatly to the decline in the effectiveness of public education, which has prompted the imposition of rigid testing standards that, ironically, have further hampered effective education.

The overall performance of California’s K-12 students is diluted by the dismal performance of the large number of immigrant children who are deficient in English and whose culture and migratory circumstances diminish the importance of education. In a frantic effort to improve the performance of these immigrant students, disproportionate emphasis and resources are placed on improving their English skills and on preparing them to pass the next standardized test. This misconstruction of emphasis and diversion of resources reduces the quality of education for the other students, thus accelerating the overall spiral into mediocrity.

Now every student must be trained to pass the state’s qualifying tests rather than taught broad subject matter and coached to develop cognitive skills in how to use information logically and creatively. Education is no longer about learning, it is about passing specific, content tests, and in California these tests are typically multiple choice—what some call multiple guess. Critical thinking and communication skills are not typically emphasized with multiple-choice tests. Can students drilled to be multiple-choice-test-takers provide the mental talent pool upon which a strong democracy and resilient economy thrives?

The deteriorating condition of California’s public education is in no small part the regrettable result of uncontrolled foreign immigration. Perennial tidal waves of new immigrants flood California’s public schools and dilute the quality of education by overtaxing and diverting limited resources.

For whatever it believes it is gaining by importing cheap foreign labor this nation is jeopardizing its future. The population of America is increasing at a Third World pace solely because of foreign immigration. This exorbitant increase in population will demolish America’s culture, degrade its environment, and drain its economic resources. The decline in public education is just one of many indicators that this destructive process is occurring now.

America’s public education system cannot perform its primary responsibility of educating American children if it is continuously being overwhelmed by children of foreign immigrants. Foreign immigration must be controlled and drastically reduced now. The political posturing, ideological inanity, and selfish special interest interference that is currently transpiring in Congress over immigration is threatening the future of this nation.

Randy Alcorn is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), www.capsweb.org, and can be reached at mailto:[email protected] or [email protected].

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