Christy Shaw's picture

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  by  Christy Shaw

Many schools across America are bursting at the seams. Children, in some places for most of their elementary and secondary educational years, have been packed into overcrowded classrooms that threaten their ability to learn and succeed in safe and supportive environments.

Frustrated parents and residents often place blame on local school districts and city planners. This is understandable, and such frustrations are partially justified because local leadership continually returns to the same old sandbox of so-called "smart or equitable solutions'' such as rezoning & ever more construction of additional schools and housing that only pacifies developers and further accommodates, but does not curb, the rapid growth that strains public schools across the country.

But the bulk of blame must be placed on Congress and its failure for decades to reduce immigration. Ultimately, immigration that is driving nearly 90% of U.S. population growth, puts downward pressure on local communities to accommodate enrollment numbers in school buildings already at or over capacity. This in turn puts pressure on city planners to build more schools where the amount of available land for new construction is disappearing. There is a blindness to this scramble to accommodate immigration-driven population growth --that somehow "smart" planning at the local level will make up for national immigration policies that ensure any solution to school overcrowding will be temporary at best.

"Increasing class size and overcrowded schools are the greatest impact of poorly managed growth. If school expansion and construction of new schools does not keep pace with increasing student enrollment then student performance may decline along with the quality of the school experience for students, their families and teachers."
---Community & Environmental Defense Services

"Keeping pace with increasing enrollment." Think on that for a moment. It is a clever way to concede that the goal really isn't to solve the problem of overcrowding. The goal is to instead accommodate more population growth that will only lead to MORE overcrowding. And how many local officials will call on the federal government to relieve strains on public education, whose funding and maintenance falls mainly on state and local governments?

Congress, President Biden, and the countless pro-immigration expansionists among the media, journalists and corporate elite, seem perfectly willing to continue sacrificing our children's futures. They are feigning a contrived panic over 2020 Census data about declining birth rates to justify a false narrative in favor of increasing immigration numbers.

Gary Wockner, an “environmental whistleblower” and former math teacher, gives these pundits an "F" in statistics for such shoddy reporting, and I couldn't agree more.

Lowering immigration will, in part, play a very important role in combatting school overcrowding, literally providing our children room to move and learn. There is, and has been for some time, proof aplenty that smaller class sizes, i.e., smaller student-to-school and student-to-teacher populations, is a major positive factor in ensuring higher student achievement, as well as healthier social and psychological development. Unsurprisingly, many states and cities grappling with overcrowded schools are also experiencing the highest population growth. Utah is ranked #1 on a top ten list of states with the most crowded schools and the highest annual population growth now at 18.4%. In just one year, from 2019-2020, Utah saw a 22% increase in population growth from California alone. It is pretty easy to connect the dots from high immigration for years to California to the rapid population growth in Utah.

The 2020 Census & NumbersUSA’s Sprawl Studies illustrate how population growth leads to sprawl and increased demand for services, including education, that is eroding quality of life. Part of that erosion involves the detrimental effects on our children's educational opportunities when there are too many children in need of the space and resources necessary to succeed. It is time to stop pretending we can have unlimited immigration and the population growth it brings, to prioritize only growth in GDP without consideration for the adverse consequences to the quality of life in our local communities. It is long past time to do right by our children, both citizens and immigrants already here. If Congress really cares about our children's future, it will abandon its immigration expansion agenda.

CHRISTY SHAW is the Member Services Manager for NumbersUSA

Updated: Fri, Jun 4th 2021 @ 8:29am EDT

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