Importing Teachers While Americans Are Laid Off

http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2010-04-16-filipino16_ST_N.htm

I haven’t posted much on immigration in a while, but this article touched a nerve.  The above-linked article tells the story of hundreds of Filipino teachers imported by the state of Louisiana through an unscrupulous “placement firm” in a scheme that barely rises above human trafficking. 

What gets me is that this has taken place over the last three years – a period during which the country has barely avoided another Great Depression, while unemployment has soared over 10% and while thousands of fine teachers have been laid off all over the country.  And the federal government is complicit, allowing its H-1B visa program, supposedly designed to import skills not available in the U.S., to be exploited by corporate scam artists. 

I’m sure that Louisiana would complain that they can’t get teachers to relocate from places like Detroit.  So then how does one explain that teachers are willing to relocate from halfway around the world?  And would anyone dare to suggest that the Philippines turns out better-qualified teachers than the U.S.?  That doesn’t wash with the fact that the best-qualified students from foreign countries come to the U.S. for their education. 

This is all about school systems being too cheap to pay teachers wages attractive enough to motivate them to relocate, taxpayers being unwilling to support their school systems (because of steady downward pressure on wages and benefits) and apathetic politicians growing fat on corporate largesse. 

If I were president, I’d bring the whole H-1B visa program to a screeching halt with an executive order on day one.

13 Responses to Importing Teachers While Americans Are Laid Off

  1. Randy says:

    Yeah, and all those teachers you want to save are driving Toyota’s, shopping at Walmart, and have their pension tied to Wall Street.

    They’ve avoided the real world all their lives. They just never thought the efficiency ethos would ever be applied to themselves.

    • Pete Murphy says:

      All of them are driving Toyotas, Randy?

      What is “the efficiency ethos” and how does it apply to teachers?

      Everyone’s pension is tied to Wall Street. And there’s nothing wrong with that. I certainly hope that the people who manage my own pension fund are investing the funds somewhere (which means Wall Street). No pension fund would last long if it’s held in cash.

  2. mtnmike says:

    Pete,
    You stated that “No pension fund would last long if it’s held in cash.”

    And therein lies the problem. Our pension funds have to grow to pace our inflationary monetary system. They also have to grow to pay out the billions upon billions that Wall Street usurps. They also have to grow to enrich all of the passive stock holders in the invested companies.

    Are you suggesting that such monetary growth is both desirable and sustainable?

    • Pete Murphy says:

      No, but as long as I live in an economy in which those are the rules, I don’t want to be the road kill left behind. And even in a steady state economy we will have corporations owned by the public in the form of shares of stock, and some companies will be winners and some losers. I hope that my pension fund is managed by someone picking winners.

  3. Randy says:

    mtnmike, its much more insidious than simply fractional reserve banking requiring a debt imperative which requires a growth imperative.

    The alphabet soup of financial instruments, entities, and vehicles that have been created within this framework allows entire sovereign nations to be gamed by external agents.

    The obvious FACT that public want cannot be turned into public policy because the political process has been deliberately disabled doesn’t seem to bother Pete at all. Wall Street is like the tooth fairy, just wait for the retirement goody to be placed under your pillow.

    How can one have more disdain for an education system where the participants are completely unaware of their impending chattel slave status?

  4. mtnmike says:

    Pete,

    Do you see the Wall Street of today existing in perpetuity? Steady State is not about flush corporations and well paid stock holders which produce a state of mandatory growth rather than a steady state.

    I personally don’t see the possibility of a steady state unless one considers the steady downhill trip of Middle America as qualifying for such honors.

    • Pete Murphy says:

      There has to be the possibility of a steady state. I don’t think it’s possible to have a system that has rise and fall as the only two possible outcomes. At the inflection points, there exists a set of conditions that, however briefly if unmanaged, stabilizes the system before changing directions. If properly managed, those parameters would lead to a steady state condition. The trick is to arrive at an optimal state.

      Of course, there’s never really a “steady” state since there will still be a business cycle. Also, let’s not forget that there is such a thing as true economic growth, separate from population growth. If there wasn’t, then we’d be a nation of 308 million people living out short lives in meager conditions like our pioneer forefathers. There will always be the process of “creative destruction,” substituting new, more efficient products with greater utility than the previous generations of products. New companies involved in the process will flourish and older ones will die. So, in a sense I suppose, a steady state would never exist, nor would it necessarily be desirable. Maybe what I’m getting at here is “sustainability,” but not the kind of sustainable “growth” envisioned by economists, where through recycling and substitution the macro economy can continue to grow in some kind of sustainable way. That’s not possible. The only way to achieve true sustainability, where resource depletion isn’t a potential outcome and where full employment can be maintained, is by stabilizing our population at an appropriate level.

      Difficult to envision, but not impossible if everyone started working toward that ideal.

      It’s obvious to me (though to few economists, apparently) that the first condition that has to be met is a steady population.

  5. mtnmike says:

    Pete,

    Thanks for the reply. I apologize that worded my former post poorly. I can absolutely conceive of a steady state, after all we achieved just that in 1964. I just don’t think it’s possible in American politics. The President would have to step forward and say, “Hey, we puttin’ you folks on for 60 years and now we’re comin’ clean; exponential growth in a finite world really is impossible.” I’m not holding my breath.

    I agree, population control is central to any steady state model. M. King Hubbert stated, “There can be no possible solutions to the world’s problems that do not involve stabilization of the world’s population.”

  6. Charlotte says:

    Your comment touched a nerve too, I am a teacher in Louisiana and I know some of the Filipino teachers. Apparently you have no clue about what is going on
    in the public school system in Louisiana and have no immigrants in your relations.
    The entire h1b program is a necessity because USA has not enough skilled workers in certain fields, because our public schools are failing to prepare them.
    Do you know what is going on in our middle and high schools ?
    Do you know how many of our children finishing high school (if they finish high school) are going to college ?
    Do you know how long it takes to get a h1b visa ?
    Do you know how painful it is to wait for it ?
    Do you know how difficult it is to be an immigrant ?
    Do you know why Filipino teachers are willing to immigrate ?
    Do you travel ?

    Do your home work before giving an opinion about something you do not know.

    • Pete Murphy says:

      Charlotte, do you know the harm being done to our economy by rampant population growth, which adds enough people every year to fill a new city the size of Chicago? Do you know that about half of that growth is due to immigration? Do you understand the relationship between per capita consumption and population density, and its role in driving unemployment and poverty? Do you know that our unemployment rate (U6) is over 20%, including many highly qualified teachers?

      I know very well the difficulties faced by immigrants. Since I travel to New Orleans frequently, I also know the situation there in Louisiana. So spare us the sob story about immigrants. It seems that you are the one who needs to do some homework, Charlotte. You might begin by reading my book in order to develop an understanding for what overpopulation is doing to our country and our planet.

  7. The Truth behind the Lawsuit says:

    August 2011. International teachers from the Philippines imported while Americans are laid off. These H1B Filipino teachers sued their employer (East Baton Rouge Parish) which is also the petitioner for a 5 Million dollar class action lawsuit. It’s fueled by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), LFT, and SPLC. Why, because of vested interested against the our government school district insurance carriers.

    During a deposition last July 2011, all plaintiffs admitted that the school district, recruiter, and other key defendants did not commit any human trafficking, extortion, racketeering, etc. The court deposition can be requested at the California Courts in Los Angeles. that’s all…

    • Pete Murphy says:

      Jave, I never claimed that the importation of these teachers wasn’t legal. The point is that American teachers are unemployed while Filipino teachers are imported to keep wages down.

      Why couldn’t these Filipino teachers find work at good wages in the Philippines? Because the Philippines is one of the most densely populated nations on earth, with labor capacity that far outstrips its ability to put them to work. With the importation of these teachers, the U.S. has taken one tiny step closer to the same situation.

      Our immigration laws are in desperate need of overhaul to reduce immigration to the point where it isn’t a factor in U.S. population growth.

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