By Heber Taylor
The Daily News
Published October 11, 2011
The Daily News recently published a story with several pages of graphics about the changing demographics of Galveston County, particularly as they affect schools.
If you missed it, the most intriguing idea was that the school-age population is different from the older population in one respect — it’s much more Hispanic.
Many people reacted angrily to the story. At least one threatened to cancel the paper. Some complained that school districts should take a harder line against paying for students who are here, as immigrants, illegally. Others said school districts should not spend money on bilingual education, but should teach English only.
Most of the anger was about change. The statistics clearly indicate the future of Galveston County increasingly will be in the hands of people who do not look exactly like the people who are in charge today.
But there is a larger picture.
First, this demographic trend is not something that’s theoretical. It’s not something that can be changed by anger. It’s just a fact.
In 10 to 20 years, when these children are grown, they will be the leaders of our communities.
The question is not whether those of us who are older like that picture. The question is whether that picture of Galveston County looks better if all those children are educated well, if they are able to compete in a global economy and if they are in a position to bring resources back to this place we call home.
Does investing in their education result in a better picture for Galveston County — or worse?
Second, the question about learning one language, rather than another, is for dinosaurs. Already, people who are limited to one language find themselves at a competitive disadvantage in a global economy.
Europeans, who frequently learn three or four languages in school, do so for a reason: They find that they need those skills to compete in a world in which business routinely crosses national boundaries.
The changes in our schools reflect changes in our communities. The question is whether we’ll see opportunities in those changes or whether we’ll just be angry.
Read the story that sparked debate:
Let us know what you think. Please click comment below.