Does the Dream Act matter? If it does, then there is a dire need for us, teachers of English to speakers of other languages, to become very active members in your state education association. We have the responsibility to make sure that our students are getting their well-deserved education and that they can be citizens if they choose.
I want to talk about Ferguson, Mo., and the aftermath of the tragic shooting that occurred there. African American males are in a very precarious position in America. In Portland, Maine, the high school achievement of black males is at 2 percent. In Ferguson, as well as in different cities and towns in the U.S., black males are being targeted.
I believe wholeheartedly that there is a certain group of people who still have strong racist feelings. That is why NNETESOL needs to address culture, tradition, and human rights. Academics is great, but specific basic needs require our attention, or teaching will not mean anything.
Our students are human beings and have human rights, but their parents are not familiar with their own rights, so we must become their advocates. In Maine, our governor has decided not to give refugees and immigrants who are undocumented their benefits. However, the Portland and Lewiston mayors have been strongly opposed and have funded the program locally. Aside from this benefits cut, the governor has also cut school funding and have allocated more money to have more charter schools in Maine.
I am deeply concerned with our gubernatorial election as November is right around the corner. We have a three-way run. Portland has only funded 43% of its mandated 55%, and the shortfall has even made it worse for districts to have sufficient funding. Our ELL students come to the U.S. to be able to live and be educated but somehow, they are victimized once again.
As educators, we are compensated, but I feel and observe that these students are not being served well. Until their basic needs are met, they will not be able to power the filter, which allows effective learning to happen.
Thank you. I welcome any suggestions or discussion.