http://inthesetimes.com/working/entr...d_labor_sourceBetween 2007 and 2009, 350 Filipino teachers arrived in Louisiana, excited for the opportunity to teach math and science in public schools throughout the state. They’d been recruited through a company called Universal Placement International Inc., which professes on its website to “successfully place teachers in different schools thru out [sic] the United States.”
According to court documents, Lourdes Navarro, chief recruiter and head of Universal Placement, made applicants pay a whopping $12,550 in interview and “processing fees” before they’d even left the Philippines. But the exploitation didn’t stop there. After the teachers landed in LAX, they were required to sign contracts paying back 10 percent of their first and second years’’ salaries; those who refused were threatened with instant deportation.
Eventually, a Los Angeles jury awarded the teachers $4.5 million.
Similar horror stories have abounded across the country for years. Starting in 2001, the private contractor Omni Consortium promised 273 Filipino teachers jobs within the Houston, Texas school district—in reality, there were only 100 spots open. Once they arrived, the teachers were crammed into groups of 10 to 15 in unfinished housing properties. Omni Consortium kept all their documents, did not allow them their own transportation, and threatened them with deportation if they complained about their unemployment status or looked for another job.
According to an American Federation Teachers report, in 2009, Florida Atlantic University imported 16 Indian math and science teachers for the St. Lucie County School District. Labeling the immigrant teachers as “interns,” the district only spent $18,000 for each of their yearly salaries—well below a regular teacher’s rate. But because the district paid the wages to Florida Atlantic University, rather than the teachers themselves, the university pocketed most of the money, giving the teachers a mere $5,000 each.
Researchers estimate that anywhere from 14,000 to 20,000 teachers, imported on temporary guest worker visas, teach in American public schools nationwide.
“When 10 percent of a school district’s teachers are foreign migrants, that isn’t cultural exchange. It’s sweatshop labor—and a depressing indicator of how low a priority public education has become.”