Both CNN and the Associated Press have reported this month that a school district superintendent in Del Rio, Texas, is cracking down on the enrollment of Mexican residents who cross the U.S.-Mexico border each day to attend school.
Legally, school districts are obliged to enroll children who reside in the United States, regardless of their immigration status. They aren’t required to take children who actually live in Mexico.
Interestingly, the superintendent is Kelt Cooper, the superintendent of the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated School District.
He’s the same man who was hired by Arizona Superintendent of Instruction Tom Horne to provide technical assistance and monitor programs for English-language learners in that state. He’s also the same educator who was superintendent of the Nogales Unified School District in Arizona, where a long-running court case regarding funding for ELL programs originated. Cooper was credited with improving programs for ELLs in that district and testified in federal court on the side of Arizona officials who felt such programs were adequately funded. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal courts needed to take another look at the case, Horne v. Flores, and consider “changed circumstances.”
Horne has also tried to crack down on schools that allegedly enroll Mexican residents. In May, he sent staff to videotape vans that he claimed were transporting students across the border to a charter school in Arizona.
Maybe Cooper was inspired by Horne to push this issue, once he left Arizona for Texas.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.