Don't Blame Illegals for Students' Illiteracy

The letter ``Californians Bear the Brunt of Illegal Aliens,'' Nov. 9, takes issue with an opinion-page article that portrays illegal immigrants from Mexico as courageous and thrifty. The writer states ``if the national conscience believes that `illegals' are entitled to all benefits of citizens merely by being here, the nation, not just the state, should fund these costs.'' This point is well taken, but is mistaken in attributing the problem of functional illiteracy among students to the ``demands of a massive illegal ... population.''

The problem of ``de-facto illiteracy'' is not to be laid at the doorstep of illegal immigrants. The so-called drain on the system by non-English-speaking illegals is negligible compared with the institutionalized neglect of the ability of our children to cope with problems of increasing complexity.

The lack of parental involvement, the low rate of pay to teachers, and the lack of commitment in our state and national legislatures to fund high-quality education contribute far more to the problem of de-facto illiteracy. James A. Canter, Santa Rosa, Calif.

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