year-round; by 2006, all of the highrnschools are slated to be year-round.rnTo say that Los Angeles schools are inrna crisis is to understate the case. Morernthan 50 percent of the students are doingrnfailing work at their grade level. Unbeknownstrnto the general public until recently,rnthe school district has been followingrna practice of “social promotion”rnfor more than 20 ears. Students can failrntheir course work in any grade and movernon to the next grade. Few are held back,rnhi 1999, the school district admitted thatrnthe practice of social promotion was thernrule rather than the exception.rn1 here has been some public demandrnfor reform. As a result, the school districtrncame up with a plan. Children in gradesrntwo and eight wordd have to perform atrngrade level or they would not be prtimoted.rnThe other grades would be phased inrnover a four-year period. A great hue andrncr’ went up from parents of children inrngrades hvo and eight, who claimed thatrntheir children were being discriminatedrnagainst. The parents were right. Thernschool district realized it could not endrnsocial promotion for all grades at thernsame time — that would mean holdingrnback more than half of the students in therndistrict, some 360,000. The logisHcs andrnexpense of such a move are prohibitive,rnrhe school district scrapped the plan almostrnas soon as it was announced.rnThe school district moved on to planrntwo. Students had to pass English, onlyrnEnglish, to be promoted from grade torngrade. I’hey could fail all of their otherrnsubjects, but they had to get at least a D inrnEnglish. Again, a hue and cry was raised.rnTwo-thirds of the Hispanic students arernnot fluent in English. Thus far, the polic)rnhas not been implemented.rnThe Stanford 9 test scores reveal arnhuge disparity between Elispanic andrnwhite students, hi 1999, white studentsrnaveraged in the 60th percentile in readingrnand the 65th percentile in math.rnHispanic students averaged in the 2()tlirnpercentile in reading and the 25th percentilernin math. Asian students scored arnfew points below whites in reading andrneight or nine points above them in math.rnBlacks scored slighflv above Hispanics inrnreading and slightlv below them in math.rnI graduated from a Los Angeles publicrnhigh school before the 1965 immigrahonrnact and forced busing. We, too, took arnstandardized test to assess the performancernof individual students and thernschool as a whole. I remember spendingrnpart of each da’ for a week in 1962 takingrnthe Iowa Test. Our principal later proudlyrnannounced that our school scored inrnthe 99th percenhle. Most Los Angelesrnpublic high schools today score belowrnthe 30th percenhle. Several are in thernsingle digits. If a school scores above thern50th percentile, it is cause for districtwiderncelebration.rnIn the early 1960’s, my high school wasrnvirtually all white. We did not thinkrnmuch of it because our neighborhoodrnwas virtually all white. Schools simply reflectedrnthe demographics of the neighborhood,rnand whites tended to live inrnwhite neighborhoods; Hispanics, in Hispanicrnneighborhoods; blacks, in blackrnneighborhoods; and Asians, in Asianrnneighborhoods. There were even tworndistinetlv Jewish high schools and severalrnhigh schools that had an Okie-Arkie-Texanrnflavor, where most of the studentsrnwere the children of Dust Bowl migrants.rnLeft to their own devices, people tend tornsegregate themselves. Los Angeles was arnclear example.rnAt least half or more — the exact numberrnis unknown because the school districtrnis unconcerned with legal status —ofrnthe Hispanics in the Los Angeles publicrnschools today are illegal aliens or the childrenrnof illegal immigrants. This amountsrnto at least 250,000 students. The averagernexpenditure per student in the state ofrnCalifornia is about $6,000 per year. InrnLos Angeles, the cost is $10,500 per student,rnthanks in part to the large numberrnof students who are taught in Spanish.rnThe Los Angeles Unified School Districtrnis spending more than two billion dollarsrna year on these children. What do wernhave to show for this? A school systemrnwhere 5 5 percent of the students are doingrnfiiiling work at their grade level.rnMeanwhile, the mayor of Los Angeles,rnRichard Riordan, inanely chants thernmantra, “Diversity is our strength.” If onlyrnGeorge Orwell were alive to hear that.rnThe school problem is only going tornget worse. More than 100,000 childrenrnare born to illegal immigrants each yearrnin California, and most of those illegalrnimmigrants are Mexicans. As with publicrneducation, the births arc at taxpayers’rnexpense. Various studies estimate that atrnleast 60 percent of all births at countyrnhospitals arc to illegal immigrants. InrnLos Angeles County alone, this costsrnnearly $200 million per year. As soon asrnthe child is born, he is an American citizen,rnmaking the family eligible for Aid tornFamilies with Dependent Children. Irndon’t know how nianv hundreds of millionsrnof dollars this costs the Americanrntaxpayer, but I am certain that even Sen.rnEverett Dirksen would have considered itrnreal money.rnThe state of California recenfly sweetenedrnthe birthing package. The Mexicanrnlobby thought that pregnant illegal aliensrnshould have free medical care. Dutifully,rnstate Assemblyman Cilbert Cedano introducedrna bill providing for free prenatalrncare. Against some opposition, the billrnmade its way through both houses andrnwas signed by Goernor Gray Davis. Illegalrnaliens now get free prenatal care to gornalong with free births.rnIllegal immigrants also use the eniergencvrnroom for basic medical care. Notrntoo long ago, I had a personal experiencernwith the routine. My daughter had splitrnher eyebrow open in an accident, and myrnwife and I rushed her to our local hospital.rnAlthough our community is notrnmore than eight percent Hispanic, arnthird or more in the emergency roomrnwere clearly recent arrivals from south ofrnthe border. They were mestizo or Indianrnin appearance and speaking only Spanish.rnWhile my wife held an ice pack onrnniv daughter’s eyebrow, I filled out arn.stack of insurance forms for the hospitalrnand watched illegal alien after illegalrnalien go ahead of us. Moreover, most ofrnthem seemed to be there for problemsrnthat were not of an emergency nature.rnControlling my temper, I asked one ofrnthe nurses what was going on. Shernlooked at me sviiipathetically, nodded inrnthe direction of the illegals and, with arnhint of disgust in her voice, said, “If theyrndon’t pay, the county and the state coverrnom expenses. If you don’t pay, we’rernstuck with it.” Illegal alien to the front ofrnthe line; American citizen to the rear.rnThe cost of medical care for illegal immigrantsrnexceeds one billion dollars arnyear in California. Their education costsrnmore than three billion dollars. Taxesrnpaid by illegal aliens cover only a smallrnfraction of this. A 1992 studv bv Los AngelesrnCounty concluded that Americanrncitizens in the county pay $7,000 perrncapita each year in taxes; illegal immigrantsrnpay only $500. A National ResearchrnCouncil study in 1997 found thatrnMexican immigrants receive $3,400rnmore in benefits than they pay in taxes.rnOn the other hand, the shidy found thatrnimmigrants from Europe and Canadarnpay $ 126 more in taxes than they receivernin benefits. The study concluded thatrneach California household pays nearlvrn$ 1,200 more in ta.xes each year to supportrnOCTOBER 2000/35rnrnrn