It cost taxpayers an estimated $43.9 billion to educate illegal alien students in the 2015-2016 school year, and $59.2 billion for programs to educate students lacking proficient English skills, according to a Wednesday report from the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
FAIR estimated that it cost an average of $12,128 per illegal immigrant student in the last school year and there were an estimated 3.618 million illegal immigrant students nationwide. In addition, it takes at least $1.7 billion to educate 119,000 unaccompanied alien minors. “From January 2014 to June 2016, the federal government placed 118,929 UAMs with sponsors in the United States, typically a relative or acquaintance. This figure does not include UAMs who may have slipped past the Border Patrol,” the FAIR report stated.
Taxpayers across the country spent nearly $60 billion on non-English proficient students and the vast majority of this taxpayer cost was borne by state and local taxpayers. These students also were among the worst classroom performers.
“Educators measure four categories of achievement: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient and Advanced. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), administered by the U. S. Department of Education, indicates that only 7 percent of fourth grade LEP students performed at the Proficient level and just one percent demonstrated the ability to master Advanced work,” FAIR wrote in the report.
“That leaves 92 percent performing at Basic or Below Basic levels. In comparison, 40 percent of non-LEP fourth graders achieved the two highest levels, Proficient and Advanced, with one-third displaying Basic skills. The rest, 27 percent, scored Below Basic,” the report continued to say.
Students not proficient in English have dismal graduation rates. The report stated, “Only 39 percent of LEP pupils in New York, 24 percent in Nevada and 20 percent in Arizona graduate on time.” This means that taxpayers have to continue shelling out dollars for the poor English speakers. A majority of the non-English proficient speakers speak Spanish. However, there are a myriad languages teachers have to deal with.
The report highlighted a Nashville newspaper article which described that in one ESL class “35 students spoke 16 languages and displayed skills ranging from illiterate to high functioning.”