Educating Maryland Kids » Testimonials Wed, 07 Nov 2012 15:38:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 For young Md. immigrants, a path out of the shadows Mon, 10 Sep 2012 15:13:05 +0000 DREAMer An Editorial from September 7th’s Washington Post

By Wallace D. Loh,

They call themselves “shadows” — young Maryland residents brought to this country as children by their parents.

They worked hard. They excelled in our public schools. They want to go to college so they can be more productive members of our workforce. They do not ask for a free ride. Yet they remain shadows because their parents came without immigration papers. The Maryland Dream Act would bring these young people into daylight.

If upheld in a referendum by Maryland voters on Nov. 6, the Dream Act would allow these undocumented young people to pay in-state tuition rates at Maryland’s public universities — provided that they meet stringent requirements.

As an American citizen by choice, I will vote in favor of the Dream Act. It is fair, just and economically beneficial to our state.

I staked my claim on the American Dream five decades ago. A “Latasian” (Latino-Asian) — I grew up in Latin America speaking Spanish at school and Chinese at home — I came to the United States alone, as a teenager. I worked my way through college and became a lawyer, educator and university president.

At that time, exclusionary quotas limited the number of immigrants from certain countries. Congress later repealed these and widened the doors to citizenship. I remember well those uncertain times, so I empathize with today’s young shadows.

My journey — and those of countless other immigrants who came before and after me — would be remarkable in almost any country other than the United States. We are a nation of nations. Most Americans have a hyphenated identity. We owe a great deal of our national vitality and success to the enduring dreams and hard work of immigrants.

After a couple of generations here, Americans tend to forget how difficult it was for their ancestors to tame our rocky soil, cut rock from quarries or weave a new life from rags. Immigrants ate their share of dust. They added grit to the American character.

A Maryland commission’s report on the “Impact of Immigrants in Maryland” notes that 57 percent of our state’s workforce expansion from 2000 to 2010 came from immigrants. Our economy could not have grown without them. The economic contributions of immigrants far outweigh the costs borne by local and state government. The state would be “foolhardy” to shortchange the education of immigrant children who will be part of Maryland’s next generation workforce, this commission said.

We know that education is the great equalizer in our democracy. It is the passport to social and economic mobility. The U.S. Supreme Court advanced these values when it ruled that undocumented children are entitled to a public-school education.

It costs, on average, about $14,000 a year to educate each Maryland public school student. It is a waste of investment and talent to then slam the door on those with the ability and motivation — but limited money — to go to college. Emerging economic powers invest heavily in educating their workforce of tomorrow. Our country’s future depends on preparing every student to learn and work in a competitive, globalized economy.

The Dream Act sets a high bar. Its beneficiaries must have spent at least three years in a Maryland high school and earned a diploma or the equivalent. Their parents must have filed at least three years of income tax returns. They must earn 60 credits in community college or an associate degree. They must meet full academic requirements and get admitted to a University System of Maryland institution. Only then are they eligible to pay in-state tuition.

Moreover, these undocumented transfer students will count as non-residents, though they pay resident rates. They do not take the space of other qualified Maryland resident students.

President Obama’s recent order defers possible deportation for some “shadows” brought here before age 16. This two-year oasis will give them a chance to complete their education under the Maryland Dream Act.

Whatever the failings of our nation’s immigration system, these young people were brought here and grew up here. They are now trapped in a dilemma they did not create. They have been educated and encouraged by their public-school teachers. They have dared to dream of productive lives. In these circumstances, I believe compassion must temper stern justice.

I support the Maryland Dream Act because I remember my immigrant days. I also support it because I have learned what it means to be an American. When we close the doors of opportunity to specific groups, we betray our core national belief that everyone deserves a chance to rise on his or her merits.

The American Dream belongs to all of us or none of us.

The writer is president of the University of Maryland.

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Back to School Tue, 28 Aug 2012 21:07:43 +0000 DREAMer This is an exciting week for many Maryland students. Some kids are entering kindergarten; some are starting their freshman year of high school; and others are entering their first year of college.

As a high school teacher, I’ve seen many of my students graduate and realize their dreams of going to a Maryland college or university. Unfortunately, I’ve also seen students’ dreams crushed after being denied in-state tuition despite graduating from a Maryland high school and being accepted to a Maryland college or university.

A year from now, many of today’s high school seniors will be starting their first semester at a Maryland public college. However, unless we defend the Maryland DREAM Act, some students who graduate from Maryland high schools and receive acceptance letters to Maryland colleges will be denied in-state tuition.

Don’t let another year go by where Maryland students who graduate from Maryland high schools are not allowed to pay in-state tuition.

Make a small contribution today so that no Maryland student’s dreams are crushed next year. 

Kathleen Callaghan
English Teacher
Digital Harbor High School

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Why voters should support the Md. Dream Act in November Tue, 07 Aug 2012 19:05:40 +0000 DREAMer Brad Botwin’s recent letter to the editor in the Baltimore Sun urges voters to overturn the Maryland Dream Act in November, but he misinforms readers to make his case (“Dream Act a poor investment for Md.,” July 31). A diverse coalition of leaders and organizations are working to defend this common-sense legislation because it reflects the value we place on education.

Mr. Botwin claims that tuition costs will go up for all students if the Dream Act is sustained by voters. But the University System of Maryland has supported this legislation from the beginning, and no college president has indicated the law will require a tuition increase.

Mr. Botwin also suggests that undocumented students will displace out-of-state students at Maryland colleges and universities. This idea is based on his speculation that the immigrant student population will “explode.” But the claim is not supported by the facts from the 11 other states that have passed similar legislation.

In none of those states has the proportion of Dream-eligible students equaled more than 1 percent of the student population, even in states like Texas and California, which have had Dream Acts for a decade. Moreover, Maryland is the only state to have a taxpaying requirement, making it even tougher to qualify.

The law is also very clear in specifying that Dream students who apply will only be competing against out-of-state students in the admissions process. They will not take slots that otherwise would go to native-born Maryland residents.

And while Mr. Botwin is correct that the bill requires applicants to “file” tax returns rather than “pay” taxes, the distinction ensures that no one is excluded by qualifying for the low-income tax credit in the current federal and state tax codes. Dream Act students must meet the same tax-paying requirements as other Maryland residents.

Because of President Barack Obama’s recent directive, Dream students will be eligible for work permits. This will enable talented young people to pursue a higher education that allows them to become assets to the state’s economy when they enter the workforce.

The Maryland Dream Act aims to help kids who have lived in Maryland for most of their lives and who want the opportunity to contribute to the only place they know as home. It’s a wise investment for the state and it’s also the right thing to do.

Jody Olsen, Baltimore
Visiting professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work

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Olympic-size dreams Tue, 31 Jul 2012 15:11:02 +0000 DREAMer 17-year-old Missy Franklin achieved her dream of becoming an Olympic gold medalist yesterday. Missy is an inspiration to many 17-year-olds like me who want to pursue our dreams. Unfortunately, many of us may never realize our dreams without the Maryland DREAM Act.

I’m a 17-year-old student at Glen Burnie High School and I dream of becoming a medical researcher. I’ve worked hard to obtain a strong academic and extracurricular record that includes a 4.2 GPA, fostering rescue dogs, and volunteering as a member of the National Honor Society.

However, without the Maryland DREAM Act I may not be able to take the next step in pursuit of my dreams. Will you help me defend the Maryland DREAM Act by making a $10 donation today?

I’m just one of many Maryland 17-year-old Maryland students who have dreams of pursuing higher education, but some of us may never get the chance without the Maryland DREAM Act.

Make a donation today to help defend the Maryland DREAM Act this November.

Nathaly Uribe
Glen Burnie High School
Class of 2013

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Maryland High School Democrats support the Maryland DREAM ACT Wed, 18 Jul 2012 13:40:32 +0000 DREAMer One of the most important issues of today championed by Democrats is Youth Rights. Youth Rights is not simply ensuring that young people are able to register to vote, youth rights issues can range from education to civil rights. Some times, the two overlap.

Currently, there is a group of students whose families file taxes in the state of Maryland, graduate from Maryland High Schools, live in the state of Maryland, but are charged outof-state rather than in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities. These students who are unable to pay in-state tuition are undocumented students – minors who were brought into the country by their parents – at no fault of their own – for the purpose of a brighter future, sometimes referred to as the “American Dream”. There is legislation in the state of Maryland that directly addresses this issue. This November, a referendum known as the DREAM Act would, if passed, would allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at Maryland colleges and universities (provided their families file taxes and they graduate from high school and they are accepted to college) There are many complicated aspects of this issue, but it comes down to this: If your family lives and files taxes in the state of Maryland, and you graduated from a Maryland High School, then you should be entitled to in-state tuition prices for postsecondary education. According to Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, this bill is “in support of long-standing American education policy and beliefs as it would fulfill the dreams of all young students who have attended Maryland K-12 schools, who have done their homework and excelled academically, who are eager and willing to work to obtain a university degree, and who want to be better prepared and able to contribute to our community in the future”.

This bill is not “rewarding” undocumented students, it would be providing them the same American Dream that everyone else has – if you work hard, you should have a fair shot at being a successful, contributing member of society. The Maryland DREAM Act is taking this one step closer to reality.

Cody Dorsey
Maryland High School Democrats

Ben Feshbach
Vice Chair
Maryland High School Democrats

Download the original letter

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Freshman Year Thu, 28 Jun 2012 21:23:55 +0000 DREAMer When I was a freshman in high school I remember coming home with my first midterm report: all A’s except 2 B’s.

For my mother, who was then a college professor working on her PhD, those grades were not good enough.

When she saw them, she said, “Why are you failing, did you join a gang or something?” My mother really emphasized the importance of education.

What are your memories from freshman year of high school? Like this post and share your memories with us on Facebook.

- Yves
Yves Gomes
Paint Branch High School
Class of 2010


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Bittersweet Graduation Mon, 11 Jun 2012 22:21:44 +0000 DREAMer Last week, I crossed the stage and received my diploma from Patterson High School in Baltimore, along with hundreds of other seniors. For many of my classmates, this was just the first step in pursuing higher education.

Unfortunately, for many students like myself, college will be out of reach. Through no fault of our own, we’ll be required to pay out-of-state tuition even though we’ve lived in this state for most of our lives. As a result, many kids like me who were accepted into a Maryland public college or university will not be able to enroll this fall.

The Maryland DREAM Act makes sure the rules are the same for everyone. The law says that if you are an established Maryland resident; you graduate from a Maryland high school; and your family pays Maryland taxes, then you get to pay Maryland in-state tuition when you attend a Maryland public college.

It’s that simple.

Will you donate $5 to make sure that all Maryland high school graduates can continue their Maryland education?

Jesus P.

Patterson High School
Class of 2012

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