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posted: 7/17/2011 3:00 AM

DREAM Act would give teens hope

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As a Palatine junior high math teacher, I fight the issues in my classroom daily that accompany poverty (52 percent of my school) and English-speaking status (46 percent Hispanic), such as students with low expectations of themselves. As an educator, I also know that attitudes about career and life choices begin to be formed not in high school but in junior high.

Consequently, my mission, besides a math education, is to ensure that my students have the skills and the confidence to see themselves achieving beyond high school. The DREAM Act (Senate Bill 952 and House Resolution 1842) will help students see that high school graduation is not the end of the road in their education. It offers a path to citizenship for children brought here without proper immigration standing through no fault of their own. While it is not a full solution to our immigration issues, it is a bold and positive step forward.

The DREAM Act offers the dream, quite frankly, for students to resolve their immigration status. Those eligible will have to pass background checks, be of good moral character and go on to complete additional requirements related to attending college or completing military service.

Leading businesses such as Microsoft have endorsed the DREAM Act because they recognize that our broken immigration system is draining our economy of talent and resources needed for success in the global economy. The DREAM Act is a great return on money we have already invested here in Districts 15 and 211. It will make a difference in the lives of our students as well as thousands across the U.S.

Ralph Banasiak