Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Dumbing Down America

As lousy as George Bush's foreign policy has been for American interests abroad, his domestic policies are even worse. Especially bad is his deliberate policy of transforming the demography of the U.S. through massive migration of Hispanics via Mexico. Not only has the Bush administration refused to staunch the flow of Hispanics (and others) crossing the border in defiance of American law and sovereignty, the administration has done everything it could to make clear to potential illegal immigrants that they are welcome here and will probably be legalized at some point. The long term impact of tens of millions of new Hispanic residents spells eventual disaster for the U.S.

Aside from the cultural and racial conflict it is already spawning, the importing of so many low and unskilled persons will ultimately undermine the U.S. economy and sink American competitiveness in the long run.

US workers may be significantly less literate in 2030 than they are today.

The reason: Most baby boomers will be retiring and a large wave of less-educated immigrants will be moving into the workforce. This downward shift in reading and math skills suggests a huge challenge for educators and policymakers in the future, according to a new report from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

If they can't reverse the trend, then it could spell trouble for a large swath of the labor force, widen an already large skill gap, and shrink the middle class.

"There is no time that I can tell you in the last hundred years" where literacy and numeracy have declined, says Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston and one of the report's authors. "But if you don't change outcomes for a wide variety of groups, this is the future we face."

The decline in literacy is one of the more startling projections in a report that examines what it calls a "perfect storm" of converging factors and how those trends are likely to play out if left unchecked.

The three factors identified are: a shifting labor market increasingly rewarding education and skills, a changing demographic that include a rapid-growing Hispanic population, and a yawning achievement gap, particularly along racial and socioeconomic lines, when it comes to reading and math.

The individual trends have been identified before, but this study makes an effort to examine their combined effects, and to project a disturbing future, including a sharply declining middle class in addition to the lost ground in literacy.

"We have the possibility of transforming the American dream into the American tragedy," says Irwin Kirsch, a senior research director at ETS and the lead author of the study.

At the very moment that international economic competition is becoming almost entirely reliant on a nation's intellectual capital - the brainpower of its people - the U.S. has become the dumping ground for Latin America's poorest peoples, none of whom exhibit significant potential for educational advancement, or come from cultures where creativity or intellectual prowess are historically prized.

Defenders of open borders immigration policies point to the contributions of Irish, Italian, German and Jewish immigrants and argue that Hispanics will make contributions in due time. These advocates root their assumptions firmly in the belief that all ethnic groups possess equal innate characteristics and are thus interchangeable. But they are not. Vast differences in intellectual capability and behavior exist between ethnic groups - differences that are not attributable to environment or culture. Differences that persist no matter where those groups happen to live. Studies of immigrants to the U.S. show greatly varying outcomes for different ethnic groups.

While the vast majority of young adult children of immigrants experience upward economic and social mobility, a new study finds that a significant minority are suffering from lower levels of education, lower incomes, higher birth rates and higher levels of incarceration. Furthermore, it is the U.S.-born children of Mexican, Haitian and West Indian immigrants who experience these problems in the largest proportions.


“The greatest educational disadvantage is found among children of Mexican immigrants and Laotian and Cambodian refugees in our sample – close to 40 percent of whom did not go beyond a high school diploma,” said Rumbaut. “Education is the key to successful upward mobility among children of immigrants, so the discrepancies that emerge in educational achievement among immigrant groups tend to persist in trends for income, employment and incarceration.”

The researchers also point to the influence of human capital (the skills and education of immigrant parents) as well as family structure, racial prejudice and government policies toward certain immigrant groups – particularly the undocumented – that influence this “downward assimilation” process.

The researchers found that children of Laotian and Cambodian Americans as well as Haitian Americans had the lowest median annual household income at just over $25,000. They were followed closely by Mexican American families, which had a median annual household income of about $30,000. On the other end of the spectrum, children of upper-middle-class Cuban exiles in Southern Florida reported a household income of more than $70,000, and Filipino Americans in Southern California had more than $64,000, followed by Chinese immigrants.

Differing intellectual abilities and behavioral traits manifest themselves in more ways than differences in household income.

Furthermore, the study found that the most educationally and economically disadvantaged children of immigrants were most likely to have children of their own at a young age, compounding their difficulties at pursuing higher education. When surveyed at the average age of 24, none of the Chinese Americans had children, while in contrast 25 percent of Haitians, West Indians, Laotians and Cambodians did, as did 41 percent of Mexican American young adults.

Differences in arrest and incarceration rates are also noteworthy, particularly among second-generation, U.S.-born, males. While only 10 percent of second-generation immigrant males in the survey had been incarcerated, that figure jumped to 20 percent among West Indian and Mexican American youths.

While Asian economies are accelerating, becoming not only more efficient and industrialized, but more creative and innovative, owing to the increased freedoms granted to their native populations, the U.S. is diluting its intellectual base and tolerating an invasion by millions of low-skilled people from countries never known to produce technological brilliance or economic success. Worse, because of their higher rates of reproduction, the children and grandchildren of these immigrants will become increasingly dominant in the U.S. The future of a country can be seen in its classrooms. If you want a vision of what is to come, visit any urban public school. It's not pretty, but unless Americans regain control of their government and their borders, and institute policies meant to benefit the U.S. and not Mexico, it is the future our children will have to endure.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home