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Entered By: Mark
Entry Date: 2015-10-19 15:45:54
Subject: Immigration

Over the weekend we had the privilege of chatting with a local public school director, Alfonso. Alfonso told us no small amount of what ails education in Honduras. He has been teaching all his life. He is 50 years old and has seen plenty.

Among many of the problems discussed, there are simply too many children to teach for the amount of funding given. Teachers are overwhelmed with a 50 to 1 student teacher ratio, often with more than one grade level in the same class. Teachers have not been given a raise since 2009, and the retirement age was recently raised from age 50 to age 65. That might seem normal by our standards, but it extends the effective mandatory service from 30 years of teaching to 45 years. For retirement, teachers receive 90% of their average last three years salary, which equates to roughly $400/month.

What does $400/month buy you in Honduras? Less than you would think. In general, cars are 30% more expensive here than in the USA. Electrical rates are about 150% higher here, and gas is roughly $1.30 gallon higher per gallon. Food grains are about the same here as in the USA, but produce is cheaper. Imported foods are more expensive. One room apartments can cost $100/month outside the city, or a multiple thereof in the city. Bear in mind that nobody gets potable water without investing $9-$20K for a well that will require $200/month in electricity to pump the water.

Finally we come to the subject of the post, immigration. The director said that the biggest behavior problem they have in school, are the students whose parents have left to find work in the USA. The parents leave the children in the care of extended family, but often try to compensate for their absences by sending their children every material item they can afford.

The children stay up at night viewing whatever the Internet and cable television have to offer, unsupervised. He said that the children often stay up past 11 PM. Then the children must show up by 7 AM for school. He said that they cannot stay awake in cass, but often use their mp3 players to listen to music in an attempt to do so.

Obviously there is a severe shortage of employment opportunity here. I am not here to cast stones. There's not an easy solution. Unfortunately the same relief that comes from finding work abroad and sending money back also helps to perpetuate the cycle of poverty. The children left behind of immigrants to America are often just as unprepared to better their lives here as their parents were.

Replies to this message
re: Immigration  by mike rockert on Tuesday October 20, 2015
re: Immigration  by Mike Jones on Tuesday October 20, 2015

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