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Immigrant Students

July 21, 1996

* Perhaps Ron Prince ("The Attempt to Bar the Schoolhouse Door--Principle or Politics?" Commentary, July 10) should go back to elementary school to relearn math before he continues citing dubious statistics to justify barring children from California's public schools. He states that a child enrolling in kindergarten today will cost California "more than $100,000 by the time he graduates." Yet, California spends only about $4,400 per student per year. Let's see, 4,400 times 13 years of school equals about $57,000.

Prince also claims there are "roughly half a million school-age illegals," and yet, how could he know? Schools do not ask parents if their children are here illegally. I am a kindergarten teacher in a Latino immigrant neighborhood in Los Angeles; each year about 21 of my 23 students are born in the U.S. They speak Spanish, as do their parents, but they are U.S. citizens. The same small percentage of possibly "illegal" students applies schoolwide. Hardly enough to make half a million in the state.

Prince gets a D in math and an A in demagoguery.

CLIFFORD OLIN

Alhambra

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