Letters to the Editor
November 27, 2014

To the Editor:
Regarding the recent Fillmore school board elections, which were thoroughly covered in these pages, it seems to me that none of the candidates proposed new methods of improving test scores and graduation rates. We're tired of hackneyed plans that include hiring “better” teachers and throwing more money at the schools. No one seems to be interested in confronting the “elephant in the room”: the fact that the students spend the vast majority of their lives outside of the classroom and that this is where they get the vast majority of their education.
Problem #1 A foreign language is predominantly spoken at many Fillmore homes. This means very few books, magazines or TV programming in our national language, let alone discussions that can expand vocabularies and introduce ideas that are pertinent to life in America. Sending a kid to kindergarten when he or she can’t speak English? Really?
Problem #2: Home cultures that foster a lack of assimilation into American society with its concept of upward mobility through education. The culture that's imported from most third-world countries doesn't emphasize class mobility, personal responsibility or pursuit of excellence. I’d like to know how many kids have parents that are doctors, engineers, accountants or other professionals. Any?
Problem #3: Parental role modeling that is linked to the foreign model of a huge subclass of virtual peasants being overseen by a powerful central government. The theme that parents are foreigners (in spirit, if not by citizenship) living in a foreign country instead of being fledgling Americans who are adopting the ways of their new country.
Problem #4: The creation of a Fillmore society in which an immigrant can live very comfortably without dealing with American ways. Ballots are written in foreign languages even though competence in spoken and written English is required for citizenship. It's been made very easy for families to live their lives without knowing a word of English and for all intents and purposes to live a Latin American lifestyle while enjoying the benefits of American wealth, culture, education and a welfare society.
Basically, we can't have a school district with foreign language-speaking, poorly educated families with little interest in assimilation into the American way of life and then expect to have their children excel academically and prosper economically. Given the environments most of these kids are coming from, how can we expect more than bottom test scores and few high school graduates? Happy talk from prospective politicians and school board members can’t change the realities of the students’ world outside of school. The solution is going to be hugely difficult, but failing to address the cause of the problem isn't a good way to get started with fixing it.
Tim Imhoff