Over 50 Years Ago, The U.S. Tried To Replace Farm Workers With High Schoolers. Here's What Happened:
The San Joaquin Valley’s farm workers are some of the hardest working people in the world. They toil for long hours in the fields to pick the food that feeds the world. While we all eat their produce, for many Americans farm workers don’t inspire admiration, but instead resentment and hostility. Anti-immigrant sentiment often revolves around the notion that undocumented workers are taking jobs that legal residents would otherwise be happy to do.
Well, over 50 years ago, a largely forgotten government program put that idea to the test – by asking high school students to work in the fields. Journalist and author Gustavo Arellano recently wrote about the experiment for NPR.org. He joined us on Valley Edition to talk about what happened to the "A-Team," why the program was so quickly forgotten, and what it can tell us about today's issues.