New Bedford's Mayor Jon Mitchell repeated an important fact on the Barry Richard Show on WBSM. He said roughly 30 percent of his school kids need to learn English.

Successful societies have a common language and a common culture. The United States of America is a melting pot, but the result of the melting pot is a common culture and language. We enthusiastically celebrate the unique cultures that have come to America to prosper, but we do it as Americans in America.

Without a common language, we are destined to become a fractured country. People who can't communicate with each other don't associate with each other.

The city of New Bedford can't be expected to shoulder the financial burden of teaching the English language to 30 percent of the students. That educational undertaking is enormously expensive and outside of the reach of the city taxpayers.

The federal government's policy on immigration is the reason for 30 percent of the kids in the New Bedford public schools not knowing English. Don't blame the children or their parents; they come from countries that don't speak English. The federal government, and to some degree the state of Massachusetts, has to come to the table with the dollars required to educate these children.

These children are going to be Americans if they aren't already, and it is incumbent on those of us who care about the future of our country to ensure they are educated in our language and our shared heritage. But you can't learn about the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution if you don't know how to read, write, and understand the language of America.

Mayor Jon Mitchell is sounding an important alarm, and the country should pay attention to what he is telling us.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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