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Reality Check: Unaccompanied Minors Have Not 'Swamped' Texas Schools

 
Reality Check: Unaccompanied Minors Have Not 'Swamped' Texas Schools
Posted Wednesday, August 27th 2014 @ 1pm  by Jim Forsyth, photo courtesy of Getty Images

When unaccompanied minors from Central America began flooding into Texas in late May and early June, there were predictions that they children would 'swamp' south Texas school districts, overwhelming English as a Second Language programs, pushing elementary schools over their student limits, and leaving local taxpayers holding the bag.

  Now the school year has arrived and none of that has happened.

  Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Stephanie Narvaez reports that despite all the gloom and doom scenarios, even the McAllen ISD, which was where most of the children entered the U.S, has seen no increase in Central American students enrolling in class.

  "We did not anticipate a problem and we have not seen a problem," Norma Zamora-Guerra with the McAllen ISD, told Newsradio 1200 WOAI.  "We have not seen an increase at all."

  Pascual Gonzalez with the San Antonio Northside ISD, the largest school district in south Texas, was even more blunt.

  "More hype than reality," Gonzalez said.

 This was despite the fact that 2,000 unaccompanied minor children lived at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio for several months during the height of the immigration crisis, and an estimated 65,000 entered Texas.  Another 32,000 children entered the U.S. accompanied by a parent or some other guardian.

  "Our teachers are bilingually certified," Zamora-Guerra said.  "It is the nature of the population that we serve," she said.  "So we did not expect any problems and we have not experienced any problems."

  Experts say most of the children were either placed with relatives already in the United States, and about a third of them, according to Department of Homeland Security figures, have been returned to their homes in Central America.  The rest are being educated at the large holding centers, like the one that opened in July near Karnes City.  It has contracted with a San Antonio charter school operator to open classrooms in the center.

  Zamora-Guerra says if a trickle did stay in the Valley, the nature of that region's school district served to spread them out over dozens of ISD's.

  "There are sixty to eighty school districts in our region," she said.  "There was never going to be a major influx into one school system."

 

 

 

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