An Interview with Frank Victoria: The Issues Surrounding Illegal Immigration

Sep 24, 2012 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1)        First of all, what brought about “The Founders’ Plot “? When did you start writing it and why?

I started writing it about five years ago, just after I retired from the Chicago Public Schools. I wrote it for two reasons:  First, I’ve wanted to write a novel for many years, actually since I was a kid. I started two, but didn’t finish them.

Secondly, I’m a solid conservative and believe in a strict interpretation of the Constitution. I don’t see it as a “living, breathing” document.  What kicked my book off was a Supreme Court decision – I don’t recall what it was – that got me angry. I completely disagreed with it. And the idea struck me – what if someone just refused to abide by a Court decision. Having taught history, I knew this had happened. In 1832, President Andrew Jackson refused to enforce a Court order not to move Indian tribes from the east to reservations in the west. That’s what got me going.

2)     Now, tell us about your years of teaching American government and history.

Actually, I taught more than American history and government when I taught fifth and sixth grades. But most of my teaching career was seventh and eighth grade history and civics. I enjoyed it very much and it caused me to read more about this country’s history.

3)     How much experience have you had with children whose parents were in the country illegally? Was it ever brought up? Discussed ?

I’m almost certain that many of my students’ parents were here illegally. It wasn’t discussed much. The teachers knew it and the students knew it, but we didn’t give it much thought or conversation. They were kids and we were there to teach them. That’s the long and short of it.

4)     What are the main challenges that teachers face when they have a child whose first language is not English?

Most of the students I had were at least somewhat fluent in English. The others were normally taught by Spanish language teachers or ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers.

5)     What are the challenges of their learning the vocabulary and terminology in the U.S.?

If you get them at a young age – kindergarten, first or second grade – it’s not a big thing. At that age, their language acquisition skills allow them to quickly become multiple language kids. It’s really amazing. Even students in special education could speak English and Spanish.

6)     What have you noticed about their language development?

I can only reiterate what I said in the previous answer. If you get them early enough, it’s really not much of a problem.

7)     Let’s talk values- how motivated have you found these students to be?

It’s pretty much the same as with any group of kids. Some are motivated and want to learn and others couldn’t care less. But you’ve got to try to teach them all. That can be quite frustrating, but that’s your job and you’ve got to do it. A great deal depends on the parents. If they’re doing their job, the kids will do well. I dislike saying that because too many teachers use it as an excuse, but there is no denying that without parental support, most kids will dally away their time and will not do well academically.

8)     Now, let me be blunt- vocabularly is specifically tied to intelligence. How does their vocabulary- expressive and or receptive impact school learning?

Yes, you clearly do need command of language to think. However, I’m not sure vocabulary reveals I.Q. Nonetheless, it would obviously impact the ability to learn. Again, it depends on the child.

9)     Are there many behavior problems or discipline issues from students who are in the U.S. and enrolled in the public schools?

Most students are fairly well behaved.  But you’ll always a small percentage of them who are disciple problems. It comes with the territory and you just have to deal with it. Once more, a whole lot depends on the parents.

10)  Where can interested readers get a copy of your book?

It’s available online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Atlas Books. It can also be purchased at bookstores nationally. It they don’t have it in stock, they’ll order it.

11)  What have I neglected to ask?

I think you covered all the bases.

About Frank M. Victoria

Frank Victoria, author of The Founders’ Plot, was born and raised in Chicago, and now lives with his wife in Oak Lawn, a suburb of that city. He served in the Marine Corps and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northern Illinois University. He spent more than 20 years as a professional writer and editor, most recently serving as editorial director for three magazines that cover the oil marketing industry. Victoria has won seven local and national awards for his writing and magazine design. In 1990, he transitioned to his career in education. Victoria is now working on a non-fiction book about education, another novel and two screenplays.

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