During my 22 years as a teacher and administrator at San Luis Obispo High School, including nine as principal, the school’s demographics changed significantly, from 85 percent white to 71 percent.
While San Luis Obispo remains an anomaly in California in terms of racial and ethnic populations distribution, the increase in diversity at SLOHS made the school a far more dynamic, exciting and rewarding place to work, and far more comfortable for the minority students.
Having 1,500 to 1,600 students concentrated in one place each day made it easy to observe that shift. Yes, it required change, and change is challenging and sometimes threatening, but it is also an opportunity for growth. Our congressional leaders face a similar challenge and growth opportunity.
In The Tribune’s Sunday Commentary column, David Brooks writes, “In other words, immigration reform won’t transform America. It will just speed up the arrival of a New America that is already guaranteed."
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The Senate’s passage of an immigration reform bill is a good start. Let’s hope the House of Representatives sets aside party politics, acknowledges reality and gets on with the business of supporting the far more diverse, dynamic, exciting and rewarding place to live America has already become. The sooner the better.
In education we call that a “win-win” decision.