N.M. Schools Welcome Students Living in Mexico

Many school districts along the U.S.-Mexico border put forth great efforts to ensure that students live within their boundaries–on the American side of the border.

While it’s common for Mexican-American children living in Mexico to attend U.S. schools in border districts across California and Texas, they usually try to keep it a secret so they are not kicked out of school.

However, Public Radio International recently reported  on a town where that’s not the case. School officials in Deming, New Mexico, welcome with open arms U.S.-born who are living across the border in Palomas, Mexico. The district even sends school buses to the border to pick them up. About 400 children from Mexico attend Deming schools.

It appears that some educators believe the American-born children will one day choose to live in the United States, where they will contribute to the economy. But for the time being, many of their parents are not paying the taxes that support the public schools.

“If they are educated, they have the opportunity to give back to society, they can become hardworking taxpayers, they will be creating the jobs of the future,” Deming Superintendent Harvielee Moore told PRI.

School districts don’t ask students’ immigration status and undocumented immigrant children are granted the right to a free public education in the U.S., due to the 1982 Plyler v. Doe Supreme Court decision. In this case, however, the children are U.S. citizens but not residing in the country.

There are drawbacks to allowing the students in. One Tea Party activist pointed out that many of the marijuana seizures along the border are cases where children are used as mules to smuggle drugs in the U.S.

Related Links:

– “The Drug War and Cross-Border Education in New Mexico. PRI’s The World. 

– “Students Living in Mexico Cross Border to Attend U.S. Schools.” Latino Ed Beat.

– “Young U.S. Citizens in Mexico Up Early to Learn in the U.S.” The New York Times.

– “Tyler case opened schools to illegal immigrants.” The Dallas Morning News.

MALDEF Investigates Latino Achievement Gap in New Mexico

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund  is investigating the lagging academic performance of Latino students in New Mexico. The Albuquerque Journal reports that the civil rights group is probing the substantial achievement gap between Hispanic and white students and how it relates to state funding. Given the announcement, some are wondering whether MALDEF plans to sue the state.

About 48 percent of  Latino third-graders in New Mexico are proficient in reading, compared with 69 percent of white students, the newspaper reported. Latino students make up about 70 percent of the state’s public school students.

News 4/KOB in New Mexico reported that Gov. Susana Martinez agreed that closing the achievement gap for Hispanics is a top priority, but that students of all backgrounds in the state need help. The state’s public education secretary, Hannah Skandera, told the station that efforts are underway to address the problem. “We require every school across the state to demonstrate and provide evidence of a plan of closing the achievement gap,” Skandera said. “We have not done these things before in our state. It really is a resounding commitment. I applaud MALDEF for taking their position on this.”

The recent annual “Kids Count” report on child well-being by the Annie E. Casey Foundation recently found that New Mexico ranks 49th in the nation in education.

Related Links:

– “Group investigates ‘achievement gap.'” Albuquerque Journal. 

– “National civil rights group claims Hispanic students deserve better in schools.” KOB.

– “Education report gives state nods, knocks.” Santa Fe New Mexican.

– KIDS COUNT profile for New Mexico.