Faulty Logic About Immigrant Teachers

A recent Washington Post op-ed by Jessica Vaughan, of the anti-immigration Center for Immigration Studies, implies that nefarious forces of trade agreements and penny-pinching school districts are working to lower teacher certification requirements and fill teaching slots with cheaper immigrant teachers. Leaving aside the controversial issue of whether immigration visas belong in trade agreements, Vaughan’s arguments about teachers don’t pass the smell test. For starters, evidence suggests school district HR offices aren’t nearly this strategic. Vaughan also glosses over the complex array of reasons why districts might want to hire teachers from abroad, or why reducing certification barriers for potential teachers makes sense. Besides, the largest immigrant teacher programs exist to recruit teachers in areas where there is a shortage — in part because high certification barriers deter many otherwise qualified Americans from pursuing these teaching positions.

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