Massachusetts has a rather odd dichotomy when it comes to illegal aliens and education. They give free schooling to children up through high school, and admit them to colleges without restraint. They also offer college scholarships to students who score the best on the MCAS test, the state-wide assessment exams all students have to take.
That policy — a truly laudable one — ran into a problem recently, when Lt. Governor Kerry Murphy Healey attended a high school ceremony and personally handed out certificates to 148 seniors recognizing their achievements and offering them the scholarships. The complication was that four of those students are illegal aliens — and federal law forbids granting any financial aid to illegal aliens.
The students are a bit miffed. To them, the government is giving with one hand and taking with another. (This is nothing new to those of us who pay taxes.) They want their scholarships, and their argument seems to boil down to they earned it, they were given it, they want to keep it.
What caused this little embarassment is simple. Massachusetts schools are forbidden from inquiring about students’ immigration status (the polite way of saying “are you here legally or illegally?”), and the officials who process the scholarships simply couldn’t ask — they just picked the top scorers and passed them along.
I have a simple solution. All they have to do is get the students or their parents involved at some step in the process. Just a simple form that says “do you wish to be considered for this?” and an explanation of how illegal aliens don’t qualify, along with other considerations.
Of course, the simplest solution is to simply deport them as discovered, but this is Massachusetts. Simple, common-sense solutions are apparently a violation of the commonwealth’s Constitution or something.