Friday, February 17, 2017

America and the power of immigrants--you were welcomed: welcome forward!

I teach literacy to Americans and immigrants and refugees alike.

We have 60 million people in the United States who don't have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Nobody in government or in any other organization truly addresses the gravity of this problem.

[And no, there were never any Chinese or Mexican companies stealing anyone's job. Those jobs got shipped to Japan first and then to Vietnam and China by American companies trying to save a buck on not paying US workers the true value of their work.]

In Omaha, where I live, there are 36,500 people without a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Only about 2,500 of those go to school somewhere to get that GED high school credential. Without one you can't really have any job of any kind these days.

Today [February 16, 2017] is "a day without immigrants." I am an immigrant. My daughter is an immigrant. My dear bride is an immigrant. Steve Jobs's father was an immigrant from Syria. I type this on a MacBook. Sergey Brin is an immigrant. I just googled his name;) If I don't go to teach my students will miss a lesson and they'll be even further away from learning and knowing basic math that they need to work, live, pay taxes, and raise their children. If I do what I feel I have to do I may hurt even more those who need help the most.

Yet, how do I show those who may not understand how much America always depended on immigrants, without hurting those who shouldn't be hurting at all in the first place?

I went and I taught and I raised the issue in critical thinking class fashion. Everyone understood. Everyone contributed. I almost cried speaking. I hope it didn't show. Then I came home for lunch. There was circus on TV. The government still doesn't acknowledge the existence of the 60 million American people who need help with basic literacy skills--to get a high school diploma equivalent.

I'll go back to school to teach now.

I hope that some day the dream of an educated nation, one that Benjamin Franklin had, and he created universities and public libraries towards that goal, will be fulfilled. One (adult) learner at a time. If that is what it takes.

[Ah, wait, Mr. President. You benefit from something that Benjamin Franklin did. He was American. You were immigrant. Give back! Learn who America is and what it needs. And work on those...]

Adrian S. Petrescu, Ph.D., J.D.

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy" (Sir Ernest Benn)

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