RESOURCES IN THE FIELD OF IMMIGRANT EDUCATION
(PreK - 12)
Arranged in order of publication date with the
most recent on top. Scroll down for all entries. Selection does not necessarily imply endorsement of findings or research
methodology by Diversity Dynamics and its partner organizations.We regret that we may not be able to repair broken links promptly.
success is important for the children of immigrants, whether born in this country or overseas. Immigrant children now constute
23% of all children under the age of 18 in the United States, and 32% in New Jersey (Urban Institute, 2011) Many do
not speak English well, have low-educated parents, and live in impoverished circumstances. Navigating the old world and the
new, immigrant children present a unique set of challenges and strengths to educators, who have developed special knowledge,
skills, and techniques to address their needs. Clearly, the schools are an important setting in the work of immigrant integration.
Here are some studies shedding important light on this issue.|
Minnesota’s Superdiverse and Growing Dual Language Learner Child Population,
Migration Policy Institute, November 2018, 42 pp.
Authors: Caitlin Katsiaficas & Maki Park
Minnesota is experiencing a “diversification of diversity” due to its growing immigrant and refugee populations.
About 21 percent of children ages zero to eight have parents who speak a language other than English, and there are hundreds
of languages spoken across the state. From 2011 to 2015, there were 136,000 of these Dual Language Learners (DLLs) from diverse
backgrounds, including many children from refugee backgrounds. Of these DLLs, 32 percent spoke Spanish, 10 percent spoke Hmong,
and nine percent spoke Cushitic languages such as Somali and Oromo. Other widely-spoken languages included: Chinese, Vietnamese,
and Arabic. This diversity has important implications for early childhood education and care (ECEC) policies and programs.
In the research for this report, the Migration Policy Institute interviewed state ECEC policymakers and local service providers
and analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data to determine demographic, linguistic and economic characteristics of these children and
their families. The report also focuses on two understudied and diverse subgroups: Asian American and Pacific Islander (39,000)
and Black (30,000) DLLs. The report finds that Minnesota has tried to improve access to ECEC including expanding its Voluntary
Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) and School Readiness Plus programs. However, it concludes that challenges remain in ensuring that the
ECEC workforce is prepared for the children it serves, that the needs of these children are properly identified and assessed,
and that families are fully engaged with the educational process. It suggests that the state’s policymakers and administrators
“improve system-wide capacities to provide equitable and effective services to children” of all backgrounds.
The Resilience of Students with an Immigrant Background: Factors that Shape Well-being,
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), 2018, 293 pp.
are profoundly changing the composition of classrooms. Results from the OECD Program for International Student Assessment
(PISA) reveal that in 2015, almost one in four 15-year-old students in OECD countries reported that they were either foreign-born
or had at least one foreign-born parent. Between 2003 and 2015, the share of students who had either migrated or who had a
parent who had migrated across international borders grew by six percentage points, on average across OECD countries. This
report reveals some of the difficulties students with an immigrant background encounter and where they receive the support
they need. The authors provide an in-depth analysis of the risk and protective factors that can undermine or promote the resilience
of immigrant students. It explores the role that education systems, schools and teachers can play in helping these students
integrate into their communities, overcome adversity, and build their academic, social, emotional and motivational resilience.
Responding to the ECEC Needs of Children of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Europe and North
Migration Policy Institute, April 2018, 65 pp.
Authors: Maki Park et al
In 2016, an unprecedented
65.6 million people were displaced worldwide; 22.5 million of them were refugees fleeing their home countries, and of that
number, half were children. Responding to the ECEC Needs of Children of Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Europe and North America
reviews the results of a seven-country study of early childhood education and care (ECEC) policies and practices established
to support refugee and asylum-seeking children in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Turkey
and the United States. The report utilizes data from governmental and non-governmental sources, as well as findings from academic
studies, to highlight the challenges facing these children, identify approaches to improve their academic performance, and
provide readers with a set of actionable policy recommendations. While ECEC programs create an important basis for academic
success and social integration, there is a widespread lack of national ECEC policies for refugee children. Moreover, training
and resources for trauma-informed care “are almost universally lacking.” For instance, reception centers typically
do not offer any activities for children age six and under. However, there are several programs that have developed effective
strategies for working with these children. Mixed classrooms, coordinated efforts by interagency and community partners, and
Germany’s whole-of-government approach to immigrant integration illustrate promising strategies that benefit children,
families and societies as a whole. Given that the movement of displaced people does not appear to be abating, the authors
suggest that policymakers take into account the significant role of ECEC programs in promoting newcomer integration and social
cohesion. (Jasmina Popaja for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
A Matter of Design: English Learner Program Models in K-12 Education,
Migration Policy Institute, Issue Brief, June 2018, 19 pp.
Author: Julie Sugarman
There are approximately five million students in United States’
schools who are classified as English Learners (ELs). They speak a wide variety of languages and are educated in different
ways depending on the school they attend. In this Migration Policy Institute (MPI) brief, “A Matter of Design: English
Learner Program Models in K-12 Education,” author Julie Sugarman outlines the most common K-12 educational models used
to improve English proficiency and help ELs perform well academically: dual language, bilingual/transitional bilingual,
and English only. The report also includes a guide to help administrators and teachers choose the model best suited
to local circumstance. Dual language programs seek to build biliteracy in both the students’ home languages and in English
with at least 50 percent of instruction taught in the home language. Bilingual/Transitional Bilingual models also utilize
EL students’ home languages in the classroom but focus on building English proficiency and literacy. English-only programs
focus on building literacy in English without the use of students’ home languages in instruction. According to the report,
schools may choose different approaches to educating ELs based on factors like students’ needs, teacher availability,
state policies, and/or educational research. Complicating matters further is the trend toward enlisting well trained, subject
matter teachers as key participants in EL learning programs. Current research is inconclusive about which models benefit students
best, so it is crucial to consider factors that can shape program effectiveness and outcomes. Given that the critical analysis
of these models can be extensive, MPI recommends starting with the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights Castaneda
standard, which requires instructional approaches be based on sound theory and demonstrated effectiveness, and be implemented
with sufficient resources. (Deb D'Anastasio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)
The Changing Family Structure of American Children with Unauthorized Parents,
IZA Institute of Labor Economics, November 2017, 46 pp.
Authors: Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes &
During the period from 2009 to 2013 alone, the U.S. carried out 1.8 million deportations,
most of them involving fathers and heads of households. This paper examines the impact of these deportations on U.S.-born
children, specifically the likelihood that they are now living in single-parent households or with friends or other family
members. The authors cite literature showing that the absence of a parent increases school drop-out rates, raises teen pregnancy
rates, and limits future earnings. Thus, they write, "gaining a better understanding of the impacts of intensified immigration
enforcement on the families in which they grow up is well warranted." The researchers use a control group of foreign-born
families with similar demographic characteristics but without the burden of undocumented status. They find "that a one
standard deviation in the enforcement index (equal to the average level of immigration enforcement for the period under consideration)
raises the children's propensity to reside without their parents in a household headed by naturalized relatives or friends
by 18.8 percent." The same set of circumstances increases the likelihood of living with their remaining undocumented
parent (most often mothers) with absentee spouses by 20 percent. These findings, according to the authors, are important
to consider as the nation responds to the intensified immigration enforcement under the Trump administration.
Supporting Dual Language Learner Success in Superdiverse PreK-3 Classrooms: The Sobrato Early
Academic Language Model,
Migration Policy Institute, March 2018, 30 pp.
Anya Hurwitz & Laurie
While the characteristics of monolingual, bilingual, or dual language classrooms for young children are
widely understood and well covered in the educational literature, there appears to be an information void regarding the "superdiverse"
classroom, defined by this study as one "with at least five language groups represented, and without a critical mass
of any one language group in a classroom that would make dual-language/bilingual instruction feasible." Too often in
these settings, the importance of primary language skills to English language development is overlooked or discounted. As
a result, children who are English language learners often fall behind their English native peers. To overcome this neglect,
the Sobrato Early Academic Language (SEAL) model, originally designed for PreK-3 classrooms in Spanish-speaking Hispanic communities,
is being piloted in more than 100 schools across 20 districts in California. The SEAL model is not a curriculum or a program,
but rather a model of comprehensive teacher development and school change resting on four pillars: the development of academic
language, the creation of language-rich and affirming environments, alignment of preschool and K-3 systems, and strong partnerships
between families and schools. The study reports positive results, at least through the medium of teacher surveys, and
suggests that the "superdiverse" classroom should be considered "a specific type of setting with specific practice
and policy implications."
Language of the Classroom: Dual Language Learners in Head Start, Public
Pre-K, and Private Preschool Programs,
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), March 2018, 31 pp.
Megina Baker & Mariela Páez
report is one in a series of three reports produced by MPI examining the implications of "superdiverse" communities
for early childhood education and care programs and systems. As of 2013, more than one in three children in the U.S. spoke
a language other than English at home. Increasing levels of linguistic and cultural diversity among students in early childhood
education and care (ECEC) require educators, even if they are not fluent in the home languages of their students, to know
when and how to use home languages to facilitate English acquisition and promote appreciation of diversity. This report
identifies best practices for promoting the learning and development of Dual Language Learner (DLL) students in linguistically
diverse ECEC programs. The authors studied public, private and Head Start preschool programs in Boston, MA, where nearly half
of four-year-olds were DLL children in 2014. Through interviews, surveys, focus groups with school personnel and parents and
classroom observation, the authors found that teachers incorporated home languages into instruction in a variety of ways,
including inviting family members into the classroom to read stories in home language, greeting routines in multiple languages,
allowing other children to share their home language expertise, and using other staff members with bilingual expertise. The
authors recommend training and professional development opportunities for educators to utilize home languages in creative
ways in ECEC settings, and developing national and state policies that explicitly support this educational approach. (Sam
Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)
Growing Superdiversity among Young U.S. Dual Language Learners and Its Implications,
Migration Policy Institute, February 2018, 47 pp.
Authors: Maki Park et al
The United States is quickly
becoming a more diverse nation, thanks in part to the increasing number of children born with at least one parent who speaks
a language other than English. This report finds that these children, often referred to as Dual Language Learners (or DLLs),
now account for almost one-third of all children in the United States between the ages of 0 and 8. Using data from the U.S.
Census Bureau’s 2011-15 American Community Survey and the 2000 census, the authors find that the number of DLL children
rose dramatically between 2000 and 2015. Additionally, the make-up of DLL children and their families is changing, with a
wider variety of ethnic and racial identities, countries of origin, and languages spoken than in the past– a situation
the authors refer to as “superdiversity.” The study also analyzes the great variations in DLLs backgrounds at
the state and local levels. For example, 78 percent of DLLs in Texas speak Spanish as opposed to only 16 percent in Vermont.
Because of the growing number of cultural and linguistic backgrounds in the DLL population, the authors outline some of the
challenges that early childhood education and care facilities and K-12 schools face. The study also calls
for further research into effective pedagogical approaches, as well as strategies to increase family engagement in the educational
D’Anastasio for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute).
Rethinking English Learner Data: Illinois' Plans Under the Every Student Succeeds Act,
New America, January, 2018, 16 pp.
Author: Janie Tankard Carnock
This report provides
an analysis of Illinois' innovative approach to producing and analyzing data on English language learners (ELLs). The federal
Office of Education approved Illinois' plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), including its approach to managing
data, in August of 2017. Unlike other states, which combine current and former ELLs into one group, Illinois will keep the
two groups separate and distinct and collect data on "former ELs" through grade 12. By way of contrast, other states
with large ELL populations, such as California, New York, and Texas, amalgamate the two populations, taking advantage of ESSA
regulations, which allow former ELLs to be combined with current ELLs for a period of four years after exit from the program.
This approach can "mask" the performance of current ELLs, while failure to track former ELLs beyond four years can
hide student academic achievement in later years. The report goes on to commend Illinois state officials for recognizing
that a "one-size-fits-all" approach has serious limitations. Although the state has adopted a rigorous, 5-year time
frame for ELLs to achieve English language proficiency, Illinois plans to use a "growth to proficiency" model that
uses a series of interim annual targets for each student to achieve based on initial entry level performance data. The
report concludes with some recommendations as to how data about ELL academic attainment can be reported and visualized, so
as to provide both summative and granular data.
New Opportunities? ESSA and Its Implications for Dual Language Learners and
ECEC Workforce Development,
Migration Policy Institute, December, 2017, 16 pp.
Authors: Delia Pompa, Maki Park, & Michael Fix
The passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, the successor legislation to the No Child Left
Behind Act of 2001, provides new opportunities to integrate early childhood education and care (ECEC) with K-12 education.
This has special importance for dual language learners who now represent 32 percent of all children under the age of 5.
This report details all of the mechanisms available under the Act to strengthen ECEC for immigrant children. One of
the most important tasks is to promote the professional development of immigrants and refugees in the ECEC field, who now
constitute about 20 percent of total employment in the field, but who are largely employed in low-wage jobs in home or family
care. The authors believe that “new and unprecedented levels of diversity among the U.S. young child population call
for an ECEC workforce that is responsive to a wider range of linguistic, cultural, and educational needs.” The report
makes five recommendations to achieve this goal, including integrated skill training and English as a Second Language education
for ECEC workers. A program currently in place at Miami Dade College provides a model for such an approach.
Beyond Teaching English: Supporting High School Completion by Immigrant and Refugee Students,
Migration Policy Institute, November, 2017, 36 pp.
Author: Julie Sugarman
This report examines the ways in which selected school districts across the United States are providing services
for immigrant and refugee students who are high school aged, particularly those entering school with limited formal education
in their country of origin. Based on research and feedback from schools participating in the Learning Network for
Newcomer Youth Success, the author focuses on a few key points. First, in order to address the variety of issues
immigrant youth may bring with them (e.g., trauma, feelings of cultural dislocation, etc.) schools should provide wrap-around
services that include mental health counseling and explicit support for adjusting to new academic and social expectations. In
several locations, this type of work is being done in collaboration with local community-based organizations. Second,
schools need to develop flexible and responsive educational structures that meet the needs of diverse students. In
some places, this includes programs specifically designed for students starting school over the age of 16. The
report highlights multiple models that are shaped by local demographics, geography and the amount of resources school districts
possess. Third, the author suggests that since many older students end up in the adult basic education system,
high schools need to have a good sense of the larger ecosystem of educational options. Finally, the author stresses
that districts need to monitor their success in working with immigrant and refugee students and modify their programs accordingly. She
suggests that in some locations decision-making is driven by a desire to conform to ideological agendas rather than by data
and rigorous analysis (Erik Jacobson, Montclair State University).
When More Means Less: Mapping the Gaps between Expert and Public Understandings of Dual
FrameWorks Institute, 2017, 45 pp.
Authors: Marissa Fond et al
FrameWorks Institute is a nonprofit think tank that advances the nonprofit sector's communication capacity by framing the
public discourse about social problems. In an effort to develop "powerful strategies to change how people think about
and understand language development," a group of three foundations (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Heising-Simons
Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation) commissioned the FrameWorks Institute to identify the key concepts to be communicated
to the public, the nature of the resistance to those concepts, and strategies for overcoming that resistance. Through one-on-one
interviews with experts in the field, the researchers identified the "big ideas" that need to be communicated to
the general public, including the benefits of learning more than one language in early childhood, the facility with which
children can learn two languages without suffering any kind of cognitive overload, and how school systems can effectively
support dual language learners. These concepts often run up against deeply embedded cultural assumptions that challenge their
validity. One such assumption is the "zero-sum game cultural model," which posits that a person's brain is like
a container that has a limited amount of room for knowledge or skills. Any gain in second language fluency is thought
to come at the expense of English fluency. This cultural model is often extended to the nation as a whole, rendering
bilingualism suspect because it endangers the primacy of English as the nation's quasi-official language. Two other powerful
cultural assumptions are that the family bears primary responsibility for the development of home language, not the school,
and that second language ability is a nice "extra," but not something that should be a central feature of the school
curriculum. The report concludes with a list of six "key reframing tasks," including making it clear that
the benefits of bilingualism accrue to society as a whole, not just to bilingual individuals.
Child Care Choices of Low-Income, Immigrant Families with Young Children: Findings from the
National Survey of Early Care and Education,
Urban Institute, November 2017,
Author: Heather Sandstrom & Julia Gelatt
of early childhood care and education has been the topic of numerous studies, but what factors drive immigrant caregivers'
use of these services? In this report, the authors use National Survey of Early Care and Education data to explore child-care
decisions of immigrant and U.S.-born families. Noting that the most salient differences are not always between immigrant and
non-immigrant parents, the authors emphasize the distinction between children of recent immigrants with low English proficiency
(LEP) and children of U.S. born and English proficient immigrants. Low-income immigrant parents most commonly use center-based
care; however, low-income, LEP immigrant parents are less likely than U.S.-born and English-proficient immigrant parents to
access child services and early education outside the home. This low-enrollment occurs despite the fact that LEP immigrant
caregivers and U.S.-born and English-proficient caregivers have similar work patterns, seem to have the same expectations
regarding child-care facilities, and LEP immigrant caregivers have a slightly higher perception of center-based care.
The authors postulate that LEP parents may be less likely to consider center-based care because of limited availability of
nearby centers, and/or centers with staff members who speak their language. Child-care decisions of immigrants who arrived
before age 13 look most similar to child-care decisions of U.S.-born families, which suggests acculturation and integration.
The authors recommend that further research focus on recent immigrants and LEP parents' low use of center-based care. (Sam
Jones for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)
Diversifying the Classroom: Examining the Teacher Pipeline,
Urban Institute, October 5, 2017, 8 pp.
Author: Constance A. Lindsay et
A look into any urban school classroom reveals how diverse student populations have become. The same, however,
cannot be said for the teaching staff. Diversifying the Classroom: Examining the Teacher Pipeline seeks to understand the
reasons for America's predominantly white workforce in education. Research shows that students of color perform better with
a teacher of the same race or ethnicity; therefore, a diverse teacher workforce is crucial for improving student performance
outcomes. Utilizing data from the American Community Survey and Center for Economic and Policy Research, the authors emphasize
the diversity gap between teachers and their students. In 2015, while almost half of the students in the United States were
not white, less than a quarter of teachers were people of color. The authors argue this lack of teacher diversity is the result
of the lack of diverse college graduates. In 2015, only 21 percent of Black adults and 16 percent of Hispanic adults had a
Bachelor's degree compared with 40 percent of White adults, and 65 percent of Asian adults. Traditionally, alternative pathways
for obtaining teaching credentials were utilized by people of color to enter the teaching profession, but without a college
degree, these pathways are not available. Therefore, a crucial step toward a more diverse teaching force is getting
people of color through college. Because teaching job markets, demographics and credentialing requirements are locally determined,
the authors suggest that policy change to achieve greater teacher diversity must be tailored to local conditions. (Sakura
Tomizawa for The Immigrant Learning Center's Public Education Institute)
Dual Language Learners: A National Demographic and Policy Profile,
Migration Policy Institute, October, 2017, 11 pp.
Authors: Maki Park et al
Defined as children ages 8 and under with at least one parent who speaks a language other than English at home, dual
language learners (DLLs) now make up nearly one-third of all young children in the United States. This report provides a demographic
overview of the DLL population and identifies policies and practices that have proven effective in educating these children.
The authors point out the vulnerabilities of these children, e.g. the greater percentage of DLLs living in low-income families
(58 percent compared to 43 percent of non-DLLs), lower enrollment of DLLs in pre-K programs (42 percent compared to 48 percent
of non-DLLs), and substantially lower scores on standardized 4th grade reading and math assessments. Among the
system-level policies that have shown promise in addressing these problems are: bilingual education; the use of Quality Rating
and Improvement Systems to evaluate effectiveness in dealing with diversity; and the use of Kindergarten Entry or Readiness
Assessments to measure cognitive development, not just English fluency. The authors also recommend the creative use of Child
Care and Development Fund resources; the use of federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting funds to serve
young DLLs and their families; and the tracking of DLL enrollment in Pre-K and Early Learning enrollment. "As the DLL
population grows, early childhood policies that recognize and address DLLs' learning strengths and needs are crucial to ensuring
that all young children are able to build a strong foundation for future success."
Facts about English Learners and the NCLB/ESSA Transition in Select States,
Migration Policy Institute, March 2017.
Authors: Julie Sugarman & Kevin Lee
Using U.S. Census Bureau and state administrative data, MPI has produced a set of state fact sheets looking at the
demographics of the native-born and immigrant student populations in the U.S., including number of English Learners (ELs),
their home languages, distribution by urban area, and educational outcomes as measured by standardized tests. There are 13
states covered in the fact sheets, including the 10 states with the largest EL enrollments. The Fact Sheets also provide a
brief overview of the accountability mechanisms used by each state to assess EL student outcomes. The Fact Sheets, along
with a website on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), enacted by Congress in December, 1915, are designed to help community
organizations policymakers and others understand the new ESL policies incorporated into ESSA.
The Learner's Own Language
Explorations in English Language and Linguistics, 3:1 (2015), 7 pp.
Author: Philip Kerr
The learner's own language (often referred to as "L1") has been neglected as a resource in the learning
of English, and in some contexts, has been banned altogether. The author of this paper finds scant support in the research
literature for the exclusion of L1 in the classroom. He finds the four main arguments for the exclusion of L1, e.g. discouraging
learners to think in English, to be flawed. Rather than debating whether use of L1 is a "good thing" or a "bad
thing," it would be better to discuss "how" and "how often" L1 should be used. In this regard, he
offers some practical suggestions for how teachers have effectively used L1 in helping students learn English.
Funding an Equitable Education for English Learners in the United States,
Migration Policy Institute, August, 2016, 50 pp.
Author: Julie Sugarman
English learners make up nearly 10 percent of the U.S. student population. Schools must
spend more money to educate these students, and there is targeted funding from the federal, state, and local governments for
programs to educate English learners. This paper explains the funding streams available to provide specialized educational
services to these students. There are many variables that influence the amount of funding schools receive for teaching English
learners-disparities in the wealth of school districts, methodologies in determining costs, political considerations based
on available funding rather than on producing the best outcomes, the type of program used to teach English learners, the concentration
of English learners in particular schools, the assignment of more experienced teachers within school districts, the characteristics
of individual English learners (prior schooling, level of prior English proficiency, etc.), and many others. The author makes
a set of recommendations to make the level of funding more appropriate to meet the needs of English learners. Her suggestions
include: expanding research on the cost of educating English learners and the variables affecting those costs; additional
research on the cost of educating English learners in schools where there is a low number of such students; additional research
on effective monitoring and evaluation practices; more data collection at the state level; better training of all stakeholders
involved in funding decisions at the local level; changes to funding formulas so that subpopulations of English learners are
weighted differently based on need; reconsideration of arbitrary caps on the length of time schools may keep English learners
in special programs; set aside funding for emergencies-such as an unexpected influx of English learners who may enter the
school system after budget allocations for a particular year have been set. (Maurice Belanger, Maurice Belanger Associates)
Dual Language Learners in Head Start: The Promises and Pitfalls of New Reforms,
Migration Policy Institute, September 8, 2016, 8 pp.
Author: Keith McNamara
This article discusses the importance of Head Start in meeting the needs of immigrant children, particularly those
who are dual language learners (DLLs). Originally launched as part of President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, the program
has served more than 33 million children to date. Of the nearly one million children enrolled in Head Start in 2015, about
one-third (320,000) speak a language other than English at home. According to the author, more than 86 percent of the 1,700
public, private, and nonprofit agencies providing Head Start services are grappling with the challenge of serving immigrant
children. The author discusses the implication of recent policy changes designed to improve the quality of early childhood
and Head Start programs. Although new regulations recognize bilingualism as a strength, require culturally and linguistically
adapted screening and assessment tools, and urge programs to engage with families and communities, they fall short in defaulting
to state and local Quality Rating and Improvement Systems, which by and large, fail to take into consideration the unique
needs of DLLs. The author also notes the "dearth of research on DLL-specific best practices," including, for example,
effective techniques for managing multilingual classrooms. "As DLLs are the fastest growing segment in preK programs,
commensurate attention to their unique needs is imperative if educational services are to serve all children equitably."
Young Children of Refugees in the United States: Integration Successes and Challenges,
Migration Policy Institute, March, 2016, 40 pp.
Authors: Kate Hopper, Jie Zing, Randy Capps,
& Michael Fix
The authors of this study conclude that the 941,000 children ages 10
and younger with refugee parents living in the U.S. during the 2009-2013 period "fare better than children of other immigrants
on almost all indicators" and also compare favorably with children with U.S. born parents on several indicators. The
report begins by reviewing the U.S. refugee resettlement process and describing the socioeconomic and educational characteristics
of arriving refugees, including English proficiency levels and exposure to refugee camps prior to resettlement. The authors
then examine the risk and protective factors for refugee children. One major risk factor is the potentially harmful effects
of linguistically isolated households, i.e. where no household member age 14 and older speaks English. Thirty-one (31) percent
of refugee children live in such households, with substantial variations by nationality, e.g. 81 percent for Burmese and 45
percent for Iraqis. A key protective factor, according to the report, is the greater likelihood that refugee children will
live in two-parent families (81 percent), compared to 62 percent of children of U.S. born parents. The authors then analyze
a number of key variables, such as family poverty level; use of public benefits, such as the food stamp program, cash assistance,
and SSI; health insurance coverage; and housing conditions. The authors speculate that one reason why refugee children "are,
in the main, integrating successfully and achieving self-sufficiency" is refugee eligibility for resettlement services,
which help to ease the adjustment to life in America. Funded by the Foundation for Child Development, this report was prepared
for a research symposium on young children in refugee families held on February 25, 2015.
Providing a Head Start: Improving Access to Early Childhood Education for Refugees,
Migration Policy Institute, March, 2016
Authors: Lyn Morland, Nicole
Ives, Clea McNeely, and Chenoa Allen
Access to quality early childhood education and
care (ECEC) provides substantial short- and long-term benefits to refugee children, but children of refugees are less likely
than children of U.S.-born parents to participate in ECEC programs. In searching for a solution to this problem , the authors
of this study collected enrollment data and conducted interviews and focus groups from two sites where refugee resettlement
and Head Start programs agreed to collaborate: Syracuse in Onondaga County, NY, and Phoenix in Maricopa County, AZ.
Enrollment of refugee children in Head Start programs increased faster in the two sites than the national rate of enrollment
or the rate of refugee settlement in both counties, especially in Onondaga County where enrollment increased 500 percent despite
declining refugee arrivals. Factors that facilitated the collaborative process included partners committing to shared goals,
sharing resources and contact information and firmly understanding both refugee families' needs and the needs of Head Start
teachers and staff. The report suggests that the collaborative approaches used by the Head Start program and resettlement
agencies in the studied sites can inform initiatives at the federal, state and local levels to improve ECEC access for refugee
and other immigrant populations. The report concludes with specific recommendations to promote such collaboration. (Sophia
Mitrokostas for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Fulfilling the Promise of Preschool in Silicon Valley: Examining Participation
Patterns and Barriers to Access among Low-Income Children and Low-Income Children of Immigrants,
Urban Institute, January, 2016, 13 pp.
Authors: Gina Adams et al
Valley, California, fewer low-income children are enrolled in preschool than higher-income children. Among 3-year olds, for
example, 26 percent of low-income children are enrolled, compared to 52 percent of higher-income children in this age cohort.
As nearly three-quarters of low-income children have an immigrant parent, and three out of five have parents with limited
English proficiency, the problem of low enrollment in Silicon Valley has important immigrant dimensions. This report
synthesizes two studies by The Urban Institute on the barriers to preschool participation among low-income and immigrant children
in Silicon Valley. The first study uses American Community Survey data to reveal preschool enrollment patterns and the socio-economic
characteristics of low-income immigrant families. The second study reviews existing research and uses interviews with experts
to explore the hurdles to preschool participation faced by these families and to offer solutions. It finds that low-income
children face learning challenges such as poverty, social isolation and insufficient home resources, and low-income children
from immigrant families face additional challenges such as distrust of government institutions and cultural and linguistic
barriers. To overcome these barriers, the authors recommend broadening preschool access for low-income immigrant children
by expanding low-cost or free preschool services, improving outreach through multilingual information workshops for parents,
tailoring enrollment requirements to linguistic needs, and enhancing the training of educators to reflect the diversity of
immigrant families. (Sophia Mitrokostas for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Transatlantic Symposium Report: Improving Instruction for Immigrant and Refugee Students in
Migration Policy Institute, November, 2015, 9 pp.
Authors: Margie McHugh & Julie Sugarman
Students with a migrant background often fall behind their nonimmigrant peers in academic
achievement due to a lack of host-country language and literacy skills. This gap is especially large for language minority
(LM) students who migrate during their secondary school years. Improving Instruction for Immigrant and Refugee Students
in Secondary Schools summarizes the ideas and strategies discussed at a June 2015 Transatlantic Symposium of 30 policymakers,
educators and researchers from the United States and Europe. The report explores how school environments can adapt to the
growing enrollment of students without strong host-country language skills. Administrators must help educators acquire the
skills necessary to support the language development of LM students and to understand their diverse cultural backgrounds.
The report contains links to the papers and presentations prepared for the Symposium. The report also examines the role that
state, national and supranational governments can play in developing, sustaining and scaling programs that respond to migrant
students' unique needs. The report recommends the sharing of best practices among educators, legislators and administrators;
the creation of policy priorities such as federal discretionary funding tied to state outcome targets to encourage high-quality
instruction for LM and migrant students, and the monitoring of LM students' academic and language development. (Sophia
Mitrokostas for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Youth, A Guide for Success in Secondary and Postsecondary
U.S. Department of Education, October 20, 2015, 63 pp.
Only 54 percent
of undocumented youth have a high school diploma compared to 82 percent of their American-born counterparts. In the Department
of Education's Resource Guide: Supporting Undocumented Youth, the agency outlines strategies that educators can utilize
to address the educational challenges of undocumented students at the secondary and post-secondary level. The Guide also presents
case studies showing how these strategies have been employed in real-life situations, and provides extensive information on
national and state policies affecting the educational opportunities of undocumented youth, including charts detailing state
"tuition equity" laws and public and private scholarships available to undocumented youth. Undocumented youth face
many stressors such as fear of deportation and concerns about the availability of financial aid for college study. One strategy
secondary-level educators can pursue to alleviate those stressors is to create a supportive environment that discourages stigmatization
of undocumented students and raises awareness of their unique situation. The guide discusses the importance of providing undocumented
youth with greater access to information about financial aid and immigration policies. In a Chicago case study, a training
program was developed to educate counselors on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival policies, Illinois tuition laws, and
college saving and scholarship programs. (Maryam Bajoghli for The Immigrant Learning Center Public Education Institute)
The Educational, Psychological, and Social Impact of Discrimination on the Immigrant
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), September, 2015, 23 pp.
Christia Spears Brown
Prepared for a workshop on the impact of discrimination on immigrant children, held at
MPI on November 20, 2014, this report surveys the landscape of available research on this topic. The author defines
discrimination as "harmful actions toward others because of their ethnicity, nationality, language ability and accent,
or immigration status." According to research, the majority of immigrant children have experienced some form of
discrimination, coming from their peers, from school personnel, or through structural arrangements, such as inferior educational
approaches or poorly resourced schools in immigrant neighborhoods. Such discrimination produces a host of negative outcomes
for children, including "lower self-esteem and life satisfaction; a greater likelihood of hopelessness, depression,
and depressive symptoms; greater anxiety; and more delinquency and aggression." Discrimination also takes a toll
on the academic performance of children, leading to lower self-perception, reduced motivation, lower grades and test scores,
and higher drop-out rates. The author, however, points out that there are a number of important "protective factors"
that can help to mitigate the impact of discrimination, including a "strong, positive ethnic identity;" efforts
by parents to prepare children to deal with discrimination ("ethnic socialization"); and the development of coping
and social support skills. The report concludes with recommendations for school personnel as to how they can reduce
or eliminate the pernicious consequences of discrimination.
From Parent to Child? Transmission of Educational Attainment Within Immigrant Families:
Demography 52: (2015), 24 pp.
Authors: Renee Reichl Luthra & Thomas
Children of immigrants comprise more than 20 percent of the U.S. population under
the age of 18. This study examines the extent to which the educational attainment of immigrant children mirrors that of their
parents. The researchers find a "generally weak relationship between parental and child educational attainment within
immigrant families." Using individual- and aggregate-level data from surveys of second-generation immigrants in Los Angeles,
New York, San Diego and Miami, authors Luther and Soehl find that, for the majority of immigrant groups, children attain higher
average education levels than their parents although this pattern varies by national origin. The researchers fault previous
studies for overestimating the importance of parental education in immigrant families. They suggest that the common practice
of "controlling" for family human capital using parental education is problematic when comparing immigrants from
one country to those from another, and to the native population because both immigrants and natives are educated in fundamentally
different education systems and, therefore, have educations that are not commensurate. In future analyses, the authors recommend
against controlling for education in favor of controlling for the relative educational position of the immigrant in his or
her home country. (Karly Foland for the Public Education Institute at The Immigrant Learning Center, Inc.)
Implications of Immigration Enforcement Activities for the Well-Being of Children in
Immigrant Families: A Review of the Literature,
Urban Institute (with the assistance of the Migration Policy Institute, the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Texas at Austin), September, 2015, 48 pp.
Authors: Randy Capps et
Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this study seeks to understand the impact of
parental deportation on the children of undocumented immigrants. From 2009 to 2013 - when deportation rates were especially
high -- as many as half a million parents may have been deported affecting an equal number of U.S.-citizen children. As most
of these deportations occurred through partnerships between ICE and local law enforcement authorities, many deported immigrants
had prior criminal convictions and may have been already separated from their children through incarceration prior to deportation
(Illegal entry and reentry at the southwest border made up 18 percent of convictions between 2003 and 2013). The researchers
use a pyramid approach to assess the impact of deportations on children. At the base of the pyramid are the children of all
immigrants, whether authorized or not. Although most of these children may not be directly threatened by deportation,
they may know of people in their extended families who are, and some children may not clearly understand the distinction between
authorized and unauthorized immigrants. Further up the pyramid are the 5.3 million children with unauthorized parents who
"live with the persistent threat of their parents' deportation alongside the economic and social instability that generally
accompanies the unauthorized status of their family members." Near the top of the pyramid are the estimated 500,000 children
who experienced the deportation of at least one parent from 2011 to 2013. As 91 percent of those deported are men, two-parent
families often become single-parent families. As fathers - especially in Hispanic families - are the primary breadwinners,
deportations often lead to extended periods of family economic deprivation. At the pinnacle of the pyramid are those children
who are permanently separated from their parents through loss of custody or contact. Based on a survey of child welfare agencies
in seven states in 2011, an estimated 5,100 immigrant children nationwide with detained or deported parents were living in
foster care. The report concludes with a list of 12 "unanswered questions and avenues for future research," including
identifying promising practices for serving children in families affected by deportation. As most of the available studies
date from a period when ICE was conducting widespread worksite raids (prior to 2009), there is a paucity of research on the
later period when deportations became more geographically dispersed. In order to fill the gap, a companion Urban Institute study looks at the nature and impact of deportations in selected communities in five states: California, Florida,
Illinois, South Carolina, and Texas). An article in The Atlantic summarizes the findings from this study.
Migrant Education and Community Inclusion: Examples of Good Practice
Migration Policy Institute Europe, SIRIUS Network Policy Brief Series, February, 2015, 9 pp.
Rafael Berger Sacramento
Migration patterns have long shaped and redefined
the European continent, but member states of the European Union differ in how they have integrated the newest stream of migrants
into their societies, particularly in the field of education. Rafael Berger Sacramento's policy brief Migrant Education
and Community Inclusion: Examples of Good Practice "reviews current measures to promote the integration of migrant
students around Europe, specifically those policies and government-backed projects that include the family and community as
an integral part of the educational process." The author identifies four key strategies that seem to be producing positive
results: first, bringing parents and communities into schools; second, bringing formal education into migrant homes;
third, promoting diversity and awareness among school staff; and fourth, helping students form balanced multicultural identities.
The authors also provide brief descriptions of seven model programs exemplifying these strategies, such as the Pupil Guidance
Centers in Belgium, the Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY) in Germany and the Netherlands, and the
Flex-ID program in Norway.(Ariella Katz-Suchov for The ILC Public Education Institute)
Intersecting Inequalities: Research to Reduce Inequality for Immigrant Origin Children
William T. Grant Foundation, February 2015, 23 pp.
Authors: Carola Suarez-Orozco, Hirokazu
Yoshikawa, & Vivian Tseng
This paper summarizes what current research suggests are the six major risk factors
confronting immigrant-origin youth: low levels of parental education and employment, poverty, recent arrival in the U.S. (within
10 years), language barriers, racialization as a "visible minority," and undocumented status of self and/or parent.
When these factors "intersect," they are predictive of poor educational, health, social, and economic outcomes for
children. The authors also explore key contexts for the alleviation of these inequalities, focusing on school and family environments
as places where positive change can be achieved. With regard to schools, the authors looks at evidence-based practices in
six key areas: English language instruction, assessment procedures, supports for immigrant students during the "critical
transition phase," state and federal educational policies, and improving college pathways and persistence. To reduce
disparities in the family environment, the authors stress the importance of access to antipoverty programs, educational programs
to boost the human capital of parents, and programs to regularize the status of the undocumented population. The article closes
by lamenting the paucity of research on immigrants as the primary target of investigation and suggests various approaches
to fill this gap.
Factbook 2015: The Condition of Latinos in Education
Excelencia in Education, January, 2015, 29 pp.
Compiled by: Deborah A. Santiago, Emily
Calderon Galdeano, & Morgan Taylor
The Latino population is one of the fastest growing demographics
in the U.S., rising from 13 percent to 17 percent in the last decade and currently projected to reach 31 percent by 2060.
This report from Excelencia in Education, a network of colleges and universities working to increase Latino student success,
provides a snapshot of Latino educational achievement. Covering early education through graduate studies and workforce education,
the data show that although Latino students have achieved academic progress over the last decade, they still face particular
hardships as students and workers. For instance, high school dropout rates in Latino populations have decreased by nearly
half but remain higher than any other demographic. Conversely, Latino high school graduates now have the highest rate of college
enrollment (70 percent compared with 66 percent White and 56 percent African American students) yet Latinos are “significantly
overrepresented in lower-paying service occupations” and underrepresented in graduate education. Guided by the belief
that education is the best pathway to maximizing human capital, the publishers of this report hope to improve educational
policies and practices for Latino students by presenting the most current research. (Jamie Cross for The ILC Public
From Cradle to Career: The Multiple Challenges Facing Immigrant Families in Langley Park Promise
Urban Institute, Casa de Maryland, & Prince
George's County Public Schools, June 23, 2014, 84 pp.
Authors: Molly M. Scott, Graham MacDonald, Juan Collazos, Ben Levinger,
Eliza Leighton, Jamila Ball
The recipient of a 2012 planning grant from the Federal Department of Education
for a Promise Neighborhood initiative, Langley Park, Maryland, is a working class, heavily immigrant (predominantly Central
American) community in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Its 17,000 residents (including 3,700 children) face
a multitude of problems, including low educational attainment for adults (nearly 60 percent have less than a high school
education) and a median family income less than a third of the median for all Maryland families with children. Its children
lag behind other children on most standard performance measures, e.g. 37 percent of Langley Park 16 to 19 year olds are working
and not in school, a rate more than 4 times the national average. With the participation of local public school systems and
many community groups, Casa de Maryland is seeking to serve as anchor organization for a multi-pronged initiative to address
the barriers that immigrant children face in successfully completing six crucial childhood transitions. The organization hopes
that this initiative will place Langley Park children on the path to academic and career success and serve as a model for
the nation. This report provides a detailed analysis of community needs and resources and puts forth a theory of change
to govern the operation of a Promise Neighborhood Initiative.
Immigrant Parents and Early Childhood Programs: Addressing Barriers of Literacy, Culture, and
Migration Policy Institute, June, 2014, 57 pp.
Authors: Maki Park & Margie McHugh
more than 25 percent of children ages 8 and above having an immigrant parent, this report addresses the "urgent need
to address barriers facing low-literate and limited English proficient (LEP) parents of young children." Forty-seven
(47) percent of these parents are LEP and 45 percent are low income. Moreover, immigrant parents are more than twice
as likely to be low-educated, i.e. lacking a high school diploma or its equivalent. Based on field research in six states,
a series of focus groups, and demographic analysis, the report stresses the connection between effective parent engagement
and the academic success of children from immigrant backgrounds. The report details the various forms of parental engagement
strategies that have proven effective in the past, including literacy and English language programs for parents. The authors
recommend the creation of a "large-scale pilot program" jointly sponsored by HHS and the U.S. Department of Education
to address the educational needs of these parents. They also urge efforts to improve accountability for how Title 1 family
engagement funds are utilized. In addition, they recommend the collection of data on parents' levels of education
and language proficiency prior to kindergarten entry so that policymakers can design appropriate interventions. As the U.S.
has entered an "era of early childhood system-building" at a time when immigration levels are at historic highs,
the report concludes that the early childhood field should be "on the front line" of efforts to promote the integration
of immigrants in the U.S.
Supporting Immigrant Families' Access to Prekindergarten,
Urban Institute, March 19, 2014, 34 pp.
Authors: Julia Gelatt, Gina Adams, & Sandra Huerta
by a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, this report discusses the reasons why immigrant children are underrepresented
in prekindergarten programs and identifies strategies to increase their enrollment. The report is based on more than 40 interviews
with specialists in this area. Promising strategies fall into four broad categories: outreach, enrollment assistance, building
relationships with parents, and building immigrant-friendly prekindergarten programs. Although many of these strategies have
been identified in the past, the authors felt a need to highlight them again, especially for the benefit of school districts
experiencing inflows of immigrants for the first time. The appendix includes more detailed information about five model public
education programs of special meritd: Portland (Maine), Tulsa (Oklahoma), Montgomery County (Maryland), the Early
Childhood Education Grant Program (Nebraska), and the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (Washington).
To dream or not to dream: The effects of immigration status, discrimination,
and parental influence on Latino children's access to education
Migration Studies, 2014, 23 pp.
Author: Elzbieta M. Gozdziak
use of case studies and interviews, this article seeks to understand how undocumented status impacts the educational performance
and social experience of children. The author examines both unauthorized immigrant children and U.S.-born children with an
unauthorized parent(s). While undocumented children have the right to a K-12 education, they often lack the necessary
resources and support to achieve scholastic success. Moreover, the need to support the family, combined with family
and cultural pressures to leave school, lead to spotty attendance, high dropout rates, and low post-secondary completion.
While middle-class migrant parents tend to be supportive of their children's educational advancement, working class parents
often are not. Furthermore, undocumented children face ethnic stereotyping by peers (in-group and out-group), teachers, and
administrators; resentment and discriminatory behaviors create a culture of exclusion and unequal opportunity. Meanwhile,
difficulties being undocumented grow noticeably with age through the avoidance of authorities, social isolation, and restrictions
on travel. Consequently, fear of deportation can lead to lack of participation in extracurricular activities, which impacts
post-secondary prospects. Other barriers to college include: difficulties in accessing financial aid, parental opposition
to higher education, and misconceptions regarding college eligibility. The author emphasizes that DACA and DREAM Act legislation
are not panaceas. Our stereotype of the striving, college-bound DREAM Act beneficiary does not accord with the reality
of most of these children. Lastly, the author suggests that creative efforts to educate parents through literacy and vocational
training would help families realize the relationship between higher education and upward mobility for their children. (Colin
Education Reform in a Changing Georgia: Promoting High School and College Success for Immigrant
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), March 2014, 80 pp.
Authors: Sarah Hooker, Michael Fix, and Margie McHugh
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this report is the second in a series of MPI reports examining
the education and workforce experience of immigrant youth in five states. "Immigrant youth" are defined as first-
and second-generation young people between the ages of 16 and 26. The report examines their progress within the K-12, adult
education, and postsecondary education systems. Despite the rapid rate of growth of Georgia's immigrant population (Georgia
ranked 8 in the size of its immigrant population in 2012, up from 16th
place in 1990), the state has placed a number
of obstacles in the path of its immigrants, including barring undocumented immigrants from adult education classes and requiring
them to pay out-of-state tuition at public colleges. These policies have been particularly burdensome for youth who would
otherwise be eligible for DACA but lack a high school diploma or its equivalency (enrollment in adult education would enable
them to apply for DACA). Despite these policies, some educational institutions have shown a degree of success in addressing
the needs of these young people. The Gwinnett County School System, for example, which has the highest immigrant enrollment
in the state, has made extensive use of summer school to help increase graduation rates for English language learners (ELLs);
and community colleges, such as Georgia Perimeter and Georgia Gwinnett, have developed mentoring programs targeting Latino
students. The report concludes with a set of recommendations specific to the three educational systems analyzed in the
report. For K-12 educators, for example, the report urges greater participation by ELLs in content courses; for adult educators,
concerted efforts to provide pathways for ELLS into postsecondary and certificate programs; and for postsecondary educators,
giving participants in the English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program more opportunities to take mainstream college courses.
These and other recommendations in the report were based on data analysis and interviews with approximately 50 education administrators,
state agency officials, and community leaders.
Embracing Linguistic Diversity: The Role of Teacher Leaders in Building Seattle's Pipeline of International
Alliance for Excellent Education, October, 2013, 18 pp.
Author: Mariana Haynes
This report discusses
why and how the U.S. education system needs to change in order to accommodate the increasing number of linguistically diverse
students in America. Using Seattle's growing network of international schools as a model, author Mariana Haynes discusses
effective ways to address the cultural and language diversity of students in a manner that benefits both the students and
American society as a whole. According to the report, "It is estimated that by 2030 half of all public school students
will have non-English speaking backgrounds." Mainstream programs for English Language Learners (ELLs) provide students
with a "below-standard curriculum," viewing language diversity as a deficit to overcome, rather than an asset. By
way of contrast, schools embracing "cultural and linguistic diversity are producing far better outcomes than traditional
schools, which have historically undeserved students from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds." Ten years after the
first international elementary school opened in Seattle, "fourth- and fifth-grade proficiency rates increased by more
than 30 percentage points...significantly outperforming district and state averages." The purpose of the innovative design
of Seattle's international and immersion schools, Hayes points out, is not to academically outperform traditional schools
but rather to effectively prepare students to meet the demands of the global economy and to produce "employees with knowledge
of foreign languages and cultures to work effectively with employees and partners in other countries." The author's concluding
remarks offer policy recommendations for developing effective school designs that "focus on developing students' twenty-first
century knowledge, skills, and dispositions." (Jade Flora-Holmquist)
Early Education for Dual Language Learners: Promoting School Readiness and Early School Success,
Migration Policy Institute (MPI), November , 2013, 28 pp.
Author: Linda M. Espinosa
This paper reviews
the literature on early childhood education (ECE) for dual language learners (DLLs) in an effort to identify educational practices
that have proven effective in helping children succeed in school. A retired Professor of Early Childhood Education at
the University of Missouri (Columbia), the author prepared this paper for a public symposium on ECE convened by MPI in January
2013. As defined by the Office of Head Start, "Dual language learners are children learning two or more languages at
the same time..." According to Espinosa, this term, rather than such terms as "English Language Learners (ELLS),"
avoids the erroneous assumption that young children (from birth to age 5) have already acquired fluency in home language.
She begins by noting that achievement patterns for immigrant children vary by ethnicity and socioeconomic status.
However, even "after controlling for country of origin, family income, and education, young DLLS in immigrant families
showed more positive cognitive outcomes when some amount of the heritage language was being used in the home."
Although ECE cannot compensate for all disadvantages experienced by poor immigrant children, "most scholars do agree
that high-quality early learning opportunities will positively affect the school readiness of young DLLs." An important
strategy is to boost ECE participation rates among DLLs, which tend to lag behind those of monolingual children. However,
once DLLs participate in ECE, research suggests that the use of home language "leads to improvement in first language
skills and at least equivalent English language skills in comparison to children in all-English contexts." Given the
diversity of languages and cultures represented in the immigrant population, few teachers will have the ability to offer instruction
in home language. However, the author reviews a number of techniques that can be used by the monolingual teacher, some
dependent on the participation of parents and volunteers, to support continued development of home languages.
When White Is Just Alright: How Immigrants Redefine Achievement and Reconfigure the Ethnoracial Hierarchy,
American Sociological Review (2013), 78: 849, 22 pp.
Authors: Tomás R. Jiménez
& Adam L. Horowitz
Cupertino is an affluent and heavily Asian community in California's Silicon
Valley. The authors of this study examined racial dynamics within the Cupertino school system and discovered that the
traditional link between white ethnoracial identity and academic achievement has been "turned on its head. Asianness
is intimately associated with high achievement, hard work, and academic success. Whiteness, in contrast, stands for lower
achievement, laziness, and academic mediocrity." According to the authors, the heavy presence of an immigrant-origin
population has the potential to alter the normative, third-generation educational standards in a community-benchmarks historically
seen as set by its white members. The study draws on in-depth interviews with 61 third-plus-generation individuals and another
10 key informants. Fifty-one of the 61 individuals were upper-middle class whites of European ancestry. The authors explore
the many ramifications of this shift in the hierarchical ordering of race, including the impact of negative stereotyping on
the academic performance of white students and the flight of white students into less academically rigorous private schools.
Although "the U.S. ethnoracial system is still defined by white privilege," the authors contend that "the challenge
to whiteness that high-skilled immigration poses is significant."
English Language Learners: Shifting to an Asset-Based Paradigm,
Annenberg Institute for School Reform (Brown University),
Special Issue of Voices in Urban Education (VUE), Summer,
2013, 56 pp.
The articles in this special issue of VUE examine different aspects of asset-based education for
English language learners (ELLS). In the lead article, Rosann Tung, Director of Research and Policy at the Annenberg
institute for School Reform, laments that "most states and districts lack a vision for ELL education that builds on families'
cultural and linguistic assets." She places part of the blame on national leaders who promote testing in English
and the Common Core Standards as educational panaceas without taking account of the rich and growing diversity of the student
population in the U.S. Compounding the problem is the fact that most higher education institutions have not modified their
pre-service teacher education programs to give all teachers, not just ESL teachers, an understanding of language learning
and linguistic developmental milestones. Rather than casting ELL education as a "problem, dilemma, achievement
gap, or crisis," the contributors to this special issue "shift the paradigm, reminding and urging us to embrace
ELLs as the very community members who, when well educated, will be the bicultural, bilingual leaders who improve our city
neighborhoods and help us participate effectively in the global economy." Among the schools and programs
held up as models in the issue are: the International Charter School in Pawtucket, Rhode Island; the Margarita Muniz
Academy in Boston; the Internationals Network for Public Schools in New York City; the schools in Clark County, Nevada; and
the family support programs of the Chinatown Neighborhood Center in Boston. A concluding article examines state investments
in ELL education in high-ELL-growth states and finds major shortcomings; we have produced "a system adept at labeling
failure but incapable of doing anything about it."
Preparing the Children of Immigrants for Early Academic Success
Migration Policy Institute, July, 2013, 18 pp.
Author: Robert Crosnoe
This report begins with
a discussion of the "immigrant paradox in education," a phenomenon observed by some researchers in which
immigrant children "tend to do better academically and behaviorally than their families socioeconomic circumstances suggest
they will." Much of this research, the author notes, is based on studies of high school students. Newly available
data sets, however, permit an analysis of younger children and reveal a more nuanced picture, where, for example, young children
of foreign-born Blacks scored higher on achievement tests than the children of U.S.-born Blacks (confirming the Immigrant
paradox), but the children of foreign-born Latino families, and especially Mexican families, scored lower that the children
of U.S.-born Latinos. "The bottom line," according to the author, "...is that the immigrant paradox pattern
that is so strong in secondary school is weaker in elementary school, in particular during the years surrounding the transition
into formal schooling." The rest of the paper examines three "high impact" policy interventions that are likely
to minimize the risks faced by immigrant children. These are: expanded access to early education, promotion of better child
health and efforts to establish and maintain family-school partnerships. As children of immigrants are less likely to
be enrolled in pre-school programs than native-born children, less likely to have health insurance, and less likely to have
engaged parents, these three interventions will "possibly reduce disparities between the educational outcomes of the
children of immigrants and their US-born counterparts." (Denzil Mohammed)
Diverse Children: Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration in America's New Non-Majority Generation,
Foundation for Child Development, July, 2013, 35 pp.
Authors: Donald J. Hernandez & Jeffrey S. Napierala
This report uses 19 indicators to compare the children of immigrants with the children of native-born
parents across four racial/ethnic groups: Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White. Although the children of immigrants start life
with certain advantages, e.g. greater likelihood of living in a two-parent family with at least one securely employed person,
they also face serious risks to their academic and life success, such as low median family income ($33,396 for Hispanic
children with immigrant parents), lack of health insurance (19 percent of Hispanic children with immigrant parents compared
to 7 percent of White and Asian children with U.S.-born parents), and low rates of Pre-K enrollment (only 37 percent of Hispanic
children as compared to 50-55 percent for other groups). After examining all 19 indicators, the report finds that the
two groups at highest risk are Black children with U.S.-born parents, and Hispanic children with immigrant parents. The authors
recommend greater investment in early education programs for all students; adequate funding and resources to meet the needs
of dual language learners; ensuring that all children are covered by health insurance, particularly the citizen children of
undocumented immigrants; and strengthening safety net programs, such as SNAP and the Child Tax Credit, to meet the needs of
immigrant families experiencing economic insecurity.
Preparing Young Hispanic Dual Language Learners for a Knowledge Economy
,National Institute for Early Education Research, Rutgers University, January, 2013, 16 pp.
Figueras-Daniel & W. Steven Barnett
This policy brief reviews research on the participation of Hispanic
dual language learners in preschool programs. Although the school achievement of Hispanic children, in particular children
with limited English proficiency, lags behind other groups, Hispanic children are less likely than any other ethnic
group to enroll in preschool programs. According to the authors, this low rate is primarily a function of limited access,
rather than any reluctance of the part of Hispanic parents to enroll their children in such programs. New Jersey's successful
track record in enrolling Hispanic children in its so-called "Abbott districts" supports this conclusion. The authors
stress the importance of English language proficiency by kindergarten as an important predictor of school success. However,
"there is a consensus in the research community that development and maintenance of the first language can be supported
without interfering with English language and literacy skill acquisition." Indeed, some research suggests that "additive
language programs" produce better student performance than English-only approaches. The authors also point to the need
to educate Hispanic parents about the value of stimulating the cognitive and social development of their children even before
preschool. Finally, the authors argue that teacher preparation and professional development are "critical components"
in developing high-quality programs. One study found that fewer than 15 percent of teacher education programs at the nation's
colleges and universities require students to take a course devoted specifically to working with dual language learners. The
brief concludes with a list of "best practices" for working with young dual language learners.
Unlocking the Research on English Learners: What We Know - and Don't Yet Know - about Effective
American Educator, Summer, 2013, 9 pp.
Author: Claude Goldenberg
Despite a recent surge in the number
of professional publications devoted to the topic of English learners (ELs), Claude Goldenberg, a professor of education at
Stanford University, concludes that there is "surprisingly little research" on effective instructional practices
with ELs. Notwithstanding the dearth of research, he posits three general principles that seem to be supported by the literature:
first, generally effective instructional practices are likely to be effective with ELs; Second, ELs require additional instructional
supports; and third, the home language can be a powerful tool to promote academic development. The author elaborates on each
of these principles. With regard to the first principle, he cites examples from various studies of how generally effective
teaching practices, such as structured writing, Success for All, and Direct Instruction, have also proven effective with ELs;
however, he points out that while such practices are necessary, they are not sufficient for success. With the advent of the
common core, various supports and modifications sometimes referred to as "sheltered instruction," will be essential;
however, "there is not much evidence that these strategies actually help English learners overcome the challenges they
face in learning advanced academic content and skills..." Finally, Goldenberg addresses the controversial topic of the
role of home language in instructing ELs, finding that "numerous experimental studies have been conducted over the past
40 years, and the consensus - although it is by no means unanimous - is that learning to read in their home language helps
ELs boost reading skills in English." The author stresses, however, that primary language instruction leading to bilingualism
"should be seen as a value in and of itself," because it brings intellectual, cultural, and economic benefits to
Educating K-12 English Language Learners with Disabilities,
Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota (Feature Issue of Impact), Winter/Spring, 2013, 36 pp.
This collection of 18 articles reviews the theory and practice of serving an estimated 500,000 limited English
proficient students with disabilities in U.S. schools. Among the topics covered in the issue are: a profile of English language
learners with disabilities, the present and future of bilingual ESL special education, the legal obligations of the education
system to serve English learners with disabilities; the Common Core Standards and their impact on this population; utilizing
differentiated instruction for English language learners with disabilities; staff development initiatives; how to include
English language learners in Response to Intervention (RTI) systems; the role of interpreters and speech-language pathologists;
and the experience of the National Council of La Raza's network of 115 charter schools in serving ELLs with disabilities.
Cross-cutting themes in the articles are the need to distinguish between language-related needs and disability-related needs
and the importance of fostering collaboration between special education and language teachers to address the complex needs
of this population.
Shaping our Futures: The Educational and Career Success of Washington State's Immigrant Youth,
Migration Policy Institute, June, 2013, 97 pp.
Authors: Sarah Hooker, Margie McHugh, Michael Fix, Randy Capps
Produced under a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, this is the first in a series of five state-level
reports examining the progress of immigrant students in the K-12, post-secondary, and workforce training systems. The overarching
goal of the project is to identify promising educational strategies and unmet needs using a comparative approach. The
particular focus of the project is immigrant youth (defined as immigrants or the children of immigrants) between the ages
of 16 to 26, who constitute approximately 26 percent of all youth in Washington State. Special attention is given to certain
sub-groups of this population: refugees, children of migrant workers, late-arriving immigrant children, students with interrupted
formal education (SIFE), and long-term ELLs -- defined as students who have been in U.S. schools for six years or more but
remain classified. The researchers selected two areas of the state with high concentrations of immigrants for in-depth study:
the King County area (including Seattle) and the Yakima Valley in Central Washington, and conducted approximately 60
in-person or telephone interviews with key informants. Among practices found to be effective within K-12 settings are extended
school days for English language learners (ELLs) and granting academic credit for first language skills. The report also provides
detailed information about several of the state's most innovative educational initiatives benefitting out-of-school immigrant
youth, including the I-BEST program, which integrates ESL or ABE classes with professional or technical college-level classes;
the "On-Ramp to I-BEST," which provides a similar integrated approach to lower-level learners; and the Integrated
Digital English Acceleration (I-DEA) initiative, which seeks to utilize on-line learning to reduce the amount of class time
spent in learning English and acquiring college-level credits and credentials. The report concludes with a series of recommendations,
including improvements in teacher training, scaling up programs that provide additional learning time for ELLs, more sophisticated
and uniform data collection on ELLs and immigrant youth, accelerated approaches to remediation on the community college level,
and a sustainable funding model for adult education.
Implementing the Common Core State Standards for English Learners: The changing Role of the
ESL TeacherUnauthorized Immigrant Parents and Their Children's Development: A Summary of the Evidence,Migration Policy Institute, March, 2013, 23 pp.
TESOL International Association, April 2013, 8 pp.
Author: Diane Staer Fenner
In February of 2013,
TESOL International Association convened a meeting of experts "to start a conversation on how the Common Core State Standards
(CCSS) will change the roles of those who teach English as a second language (ESL)." This meeting report notes that "ESL
teachers have been largely absent from the conversation around this important educational reform, yet they will play a critical
role in its successful implementation..." One problem is that ESL teachers are often lower in status than content-area
teachers, in part because ESL is not recognized as a core academic content area under the NCLB law. Another is the lack of
uniform standards and consistency in ESL teacher credentialing requirements around the country. Meeting participants argued
that the role of the ESL teacher must evolve to become "experts, consultants, and trainers well versed in teaching rigorous
academic content ..." ESL teachers can help content teachers use language and culture more effectively during CCSS-based
instruction. They should attend content-area department meetings to bring their special perspective to bear on school reform
efforts. Stakeholders at the meeting also recommended new approaches to professional development that will expose content-area
teachers to the techniques of teaching English language learners and to ways of collaborating with ESL teachers.
Authors: Hirokazu Yoshikawa & Jenya Kholoptseva
One of a series of papers prepared for a January 2013 symposium on the cognitive, physical, and emotional development
of immigrant children, this paper reviews research findings on the impact of the unauthorized status of parents on their children's
life prospects. Although research on this subject is limited, available studies suggest that unauthorized status is associated
with lower cognitive skills in early childhood, higher levels of anxiety and depressive symptoms during adolescence, and fewer
years of schooling. As children of unauthorized parents make up nearly one-third of all children with immigrant parents and
8 percent of all US children, the fate of these children, according to the authors, should be taken into consideration when
policy makers discuss immigration reform. The authors review six "mechanisms of influence" that impede the development
of these children: deportation of parents, parent-child separation during travel, lower access to means-tested
programs, poor working conditions for parents, psychological distress and economic hardship, and for the 1 million children
who are themselves unauthorized, awareness of one's own unauthorized status and its consequences. The report concludes with
a series of policy recommendations to address the plight of these children, including steps to modify unauthorized status,
exercising discretion in deportation cases involving children, utilizing trusted NGOs in enrolling children in means-tested
programs, promoting enrollment in center-based care, and improved working conditions that would likely result from comprehensive
immigration reform.English Language Learners in America's Great City Schools: Demographics, Achievement, and Staffing,
Council of the Great City Schools, 2013, 112 pp.
This report, produced by an organization representing
67 urban school districts, provides a snapshot of English language learners (ELLs) and programs to serve them. Described as
"one of the most comprehensive data-collection efforts on English Language Learners ever attempted," the report
is based on an extensive survey conducted in 2012. The report provides ELL enrollment data for all districts, including
ELL enrollment as a percentage of total district enrollment, ELL enrollments by grade level, number of ELLs who are refugees,
languages spoken by ELLs, number of ELLs receiving special educational services, and achievement data for ELLs. The report
also discusses variations in the definitions of ELLs, procedures used to identify ELLs, parental opt-in or opt-out policies,
and hiring and professional development requirements for ELL teachers.
Educating English Language Learners: Grantmaking
Strategies for Closing America's
Other Achievement Gap,
Grantmakers for Education, April 2013, 30 pp.
on an online survey of 138 grantmaking organizations and in-depth interviews with 24 survey respondents, this report
takes the pulse of foundation grantmaking in support of English language learners, who now constitute 10.7 percent of the
K-12 student population. Many are struggling academically and have poor educational outcomes. Although a growing number of
funders are targeting resources to this population, the overall percentage of grants in this area remains small, i.e. less
than 1 percent of education grants listed in the Foundation Center database. Most foundations make these grants through larger
education portfolios; only two foundations have a stand-alone English language learner portfolio. Indeed, the majority of
"ELL grants" are not exclusively targeting English learners or their needs, but rather "embedded in more
generic strategies to close the achievement gap or improve educational outcomes for low income, under-served or minority students."
The authors suggest that such an approach may fail to address the unique needs of English learners. The report summarizes
"lessons for philanthropy" from the growing body of research and experience in this field and concludes with four
case studies of successful grantmaking specifically targeting English language learners.
The English Learner Dropout Dilemma: Multiple Risks and
University of California Santa Barbara, Gevritz Graduate School of Education,
February, 2013, 60 pp.
Author: Rebecca M. Callahan
the 2008-09 school year, nearly 11 percent of U.S. students in grades K-12 were classified as English learners (EL), and many
more were former EL students, no longer counted in school statistics. This report examines the extent, consequences, causes,
and solutions to the dropout crisis among EL students and the extent to which EL dropouts mirror or deviate from the profile
of the broader dropout population. Research repeatedly shows that EL students are about twice as likely to drop out as native
and fluent English speakers. While many of the social and economic factors that produce dropouts in the general population
apply to EL students, others are unique, such as tracking as a result of EL status; limited access to EL-trained or certified
teachers, especially in academic subjects; and a high stakes accountability system. In terms of solutions to the EL dropout
dilemma, the report proposes three main reforms: stronger academic exposure within EL classes, use of the primary language
in instruction, and a shift from a deficit to an additive perspective. The use of the term "emergent bilingual"
has been suggested as a way of capturing this new perspective.
Multilingualism and Multiculturalism: Transatlantic Discourses
on Language, Identity, and Immigrant Schooling,
Notre Dame Law Review,
November, 2012, 31 pp.
This paper argues for a fundamental change in
how policy makers and educators on both sides of the Atlantic view the role of home languages in the educational process.
In the face of mounting evidence that dual language competence promotes greater educational gains among children, enhances
self-esteem, strengthens family and community, and gives the nation a competitive advantage in the global market for goods
and services, the author laments the fact that the predominant view of immigrant education is that it should be "subtractive,"
rather than "additive," i.e. reducing use of heritage languages while increasing use of English (or other national
or sanctioned languages in Europe), rather than building competence in both. She reviews the forces that sustain this
view. In the United States, she points to anti-immigrant sentiment, particularly directed at Spanish-speaking immigrants from
Mexico; a deep-seated discomfort with any kind of "difference" that goes beyond the prevailing "multiculturalism
lite" ideology; concerns over persistent Latino-white achievement gap; and an emphasis on "basics" and testing
that tends to curtail innovation in education. In Europe, on the other hand, multilingualism is at the heart of the European
project, so while the ideology is supportive of "plurilingualism," only languages indigenous to Europe
are given tolerance and support; immigrant languages, such as Arabic and Turkish, are generally ignored, to the detriment
of immigrants and their children and to Europe as a whole. As there are a multitude of factors, including the child's
age of arrival, the number of children from the same linguistic background within a particular school system, and the number
of native-born families interested in learning a heritage language, the author acknowledges that a "one-size-fits-all"
approach is not desirable. However, "the importance of the home language in promoting emotional well-being, cognitive
development, and social integration....(means that) it is now time for government officials and educators on both sides
of the Atlantic to consider policies and practices that definitively respect the language of linguistic minority students,
while finding common ground between the home and mainstream culture."
The Role of Language and Literacy in College- and Career-Ready
Standards: Rethinking Policy and Practice in Support of English Language Learners,
Alliance for Excellent Education,
October, 2012, 19 pp.
This paper argues for a shift in how
policymakers, administrators, curriculum developers, teacher educators, and assessment specialists approach language, skill
and content area instruction for English Language Learners (ELLs). Defined as students who are in the process of acquiring
English language proficiency, the ELL population is rapidly expanding and facing growing pressure to succeed academically
while learning English. The new Common Core State Standards, currently being implemented by 46 states, as well as the Next
Generation Science Standards, being developed in 26 states, have implications for ELLs because they require students to acquire
competencies simultaneously in English language and other areas, such as mastery of academic content, creative and critical
thinking, collaboration, communication, and self-reflection. Traditional approaches to ELL education on the secondary
level often stressed "content-free" language proficiency with little opportunity to hear and learn language from
other students and teachers within subject-area classrooms. The paper details the "key strategies for language and content
learning" and urges the creation of "powerful learning environments" to provide ELLs "with rich, authentic
tasks that bridge content-area learning with language and literacy development." The report concludes with a series
of recommendations for state education departments, covering the alignment of English Language proficiency and common core
standards, as well as a broader professional development effort recognizing that ELL education is a "shared responsibility
among teachers in all disciplines." (Jessica Spooner)
Comparative Perspectives on International Migration and
Child Wellbeing (Summary of Articles),
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (Issue
Introduction), September, 2012, 15 pp.
This issue seeks to address a serious gap in the research literature
on migration, i.e. "whether and how migration improves or diminishes the life opportunities of children and youth."
According to the editors -- Alícia Adserà and Marta Tienda of Princeton University -- unless migrant youth are
engaged in the labor market, they tend to be ignored in international reports about migration and development. Moreover, "few
studies portray the selection process that determines whether or not children migrate with their parents, follow them later,
or remain behind and wait for their return." Although the second generation, or children born in countries of settlement,
has received considerable scholarly attention, the first generation has been largely ignored. The studies in this volume,
therefore, enable policy makers "to identify preventable circumstances that can thwart successful integration of migrant
children." Among the key findings, drawn from research on migrant children in the U.S., Italy, Spain, and the U.K, are
that "the scholastic achievement gaps are wider for migrant youth who arrive at later ages" but that compulsory
Pre-K schooling decreases disparities for these young people. The articles in this issue are only available through
subscription, but the summary may be downloaded using the above link.
Patterns and Predictors of School Readiness and Early Childhood
Success Among Young Children in Black Immigrant Families,
Migration Policy Institute, October, 2012, 35 pp.
This paper seeks to fill a research void on the health and development of Black immigrant
children, who constitute 12 percent of all Black children in the United States. The University of North Carolina researchers
draw their data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, which tracks a representative sample of over 10,000 children
born in 2001. The paper suggests that Black immigrant families have many advantages compared to native Black families, Hispanic
and Southeast Asian immigrant families, and in certain cases, White native families. These include: relatively high
rates of marriage and employment; fluency in English; low consumption of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs during pregnancy; high
breastfeeding rates; fewer birth complications; higher educational expectations for their children; and higher enrollment
rates in center-based care. On the other hand, more than half of Black immigrant families are poor or near-poor, with
incomes less than twice the federal poverty level. To the extent that the data will allow, the researchers also explore differences
between children of African and Caribbean descent, noting, for example, a greater tendency for Caribbean families to utilize
center-based care than African families (87 percent of Caribbean families as compared to 71 percent of African families).
The authors also examine the reading skills of children in Black immigrant families at the kindergarten level and note that
"Black children...outperform both Black and white children of natives once socioeconomic controls are included."
Parenting Behavior, health, and Cognitive Development
among Children in Black Immigrant Families: Comparing the United States and the United Kingdom,
Migration Policy Institute, September, 2012, 31 pp.
Written by sociologist Margot Jackson of Brown University, this paper explores the question of "whether the children
of Black immigrants, who constitute an increasingly large fraction of the children of immigrants in the United States, will
integrate toward the mainstream of non-Hispanic white America or whether their development will more closely resemble that
of Black children with native-born parents." The paper examines the integration of these children across two
developmental domains -- health (physical and mental) and cognitive -- and within two national contexts: the United States
and the United Kingdom. The author cautions that the findings should be "interpreted cautiously" as the size of
the sample (250 UK children and 120 US children) is quite small and does not permit the analysis of families by region of
origin, i.e. Africa and the Caribbean. She finds both "favorable and disadvantaged patterns" in the development
of these children. In both the U.S. and the U.K., "there is clear evidence of favorable breastfeeding patterns...and
high usage of early prenatal care," as well as healthy birth weight and, in the U.K. only, lower asthma risk at age 5.
However, Black children from immigrant families, especially in the U.K., perform more poorly on tests of verbal development.
She cautions that her study does not control for "selective migration," or the tendency of some people or groups
to migrate more frequently than others. She expects that future research will shed light on "how nativity-based
inequalities in child development evolve over time..."
Children of Immigrants: Growing National and State Diversity,
Urban Institute, October, 2011, 10 pp.
This research brief tracks growth in the population of children of immigrants age 0 to 17.
Children of immigrants may be immigrants themselves or U.S. born with at least one immigrant parent. By 2009, children of
immigrants numbered 16.8 million and constituted 23% of all children, close to one in four of all children in the U.S. The
great majority (14.5 million) were born in the U.S. Hispanics at 56 percent are the largest minority group among children
of immigrants, followed by non-Hispanic Asians (18 percent), whites (18 percent) and blacks (eight percent). As a result
of these changes, the share of U.S. children under 18 who were white decreased from 62 to 56 percent from 2000 to 2009. In
nine states, white children were in the minority.
An Imperative for Change: Bridging Special and Language Learning
Education to Ensure a Free and Appropriate Education in the Least Restrictive Environment for ELLs with Disabilities in Massachusetts,
The Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino
Community Development and Public Policy, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Noting a sharp rise in the number
of English language learners with disabilities in Massachusetts schools - in part resulting from the 2002 state referendum
that scrapped the policy of transitional bilingual education - the author of this report examines the problems, policies,
and procedures associated with educating immigrant children with disabilities. She calls attention to the misdiagnosis
of disability, especially apparent in the categories of communication and intellectual impairments, which acts to conceal
the failure of the school to educate these children. On the other hand, LEP children with true disabilities are often
placed in monolingual classroom environments where they fail to receive grade-level academic instruction in the language they
understand best. Among the many recommendations offered by the author is to place greater emphasis on the education
and licensure of teachers of English language Learners who also have training in the education of children with disabilities.
Another is to place ELLs with disabilities with their ELL peers with no disabilities in general language learning classrooms.
The Future of Immigrant Children,
Special Issue of the Journal, "The Future of Children,"
Princeton University and the Brookings Institution, Spring, 2011
This collection of articles provides an overview
of recent research on the challenges involved in educating immigrant youth, defined as children 17 years of age or younger
with at least one immigrant parent. Such children now constitute 23% of all children in U.S. schools and are estimated to
grow to one-third of all children by 2050. In their introduction to the issue, Co-editors Marta Tienda and Ron Haskins call attention to the imbalance in public
spending between benefits for the elderly -- funded largely through payroll taxes and generally off-limits to budget-cutters
-- and educational spending, funded through state and local tax revenues, which tend to contract during recessionary times.
Yet the ability of immigrant youth to succeed educationally, acquire the skills necessary to contribute to a 21stcentury
economy, and build the tax base to sustain expenditures for the growing senior population is critical to the future of American
society. Other articles in this issue discuss risk factors that hamper the educational progress of these children, including
the failure to master English prior to the third grade, lack of educational attainment and English proficiency among parents,
and lower participation rates in pre-school. Among the policy recommendations put forward by Tienda and Haskins in a policy brief included in the collection are the following: provide preschool education to
all low-income immigrant children, perhaps by allowing states to control Head Start funding; and passing a modified version
of the DREAM Act.
The Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework,
U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration
for Children and Families, Office of Head Start, December, 2010, 22 pp
Recognizing that the population of children
served by Head Start (3-5 years olds) and other early childhood programs is growing more diverse, and that the original Child
Development and Early Learning Framework, published in 2000, needed to be revised, HHS has modified the Framework to reflect
this diversity and trends in child development research. The Framework is organized into 11 domains, 37 domain elements, and
over 100 examples. Although 10 of the 11 domains pertain to all children, one domain new to the revised Framework - English
Language Development - applies to children who speak a language other than English at home. The Framework makes clear that
dual language learners must have opportunities to "demonstrate their abilities, skills, and knowledge in any language,
including their home language."
Young Children of Immigrants: The Leading Edge of
The Urban institute, August, 2010, 13 pp
brief discusses the life circumstances of immigrant children, defined as children age 0 to 8 (whether born abroad or in the
U.S.) with at least one foreign-born parent. In 2008, 24% of children in the U.S. fell into this category, up from 20% in
2000. Percentages vary significantly by state, with seven states -- including California, New York, and New Jersey --
higher than 30%. The brief presents data on pre-school enrollment, English language proficiency, educational background
of parents, and family poverty for this group of children. Data is broken down by state and nationality background.
The Integration of Immigrants and Their Families in Maryland:
A Look at
Children of Immigrants and Their Families in Maryland,
Prepared for the Annie E. Casey Foundation by The Urban Institute, June, 2010, 65
This is the second in a two-part examination of the immigrant population in the State of Maryland. This report
provides a detailed portrait of the children of immigrants and their families. The number of Maryland children with
at least one immigrant parent more than doubled from 121,000 in 1990 to 253,000 in 2006. Without this increase, the state's
population would have stagnated or declined, due to the low fertility rate of native-born white parents. The report also provides
information on the 69,000 children of immigrants living in low-income families, i.e. families with incomes below twice the
poverty level. Although many enjoy "protective" factors, such as a higher percentage of two-parent families
than among children of native families, they also face special burdens, such as lower rates of participation in center-based
care and more crowded housing, burdens which need to be taken into consideration in designing effective educational and social
Minority Parent and Community Engagement: Best
Practices and Policy Recommendations for Closing the Gaps in Student Achievement,
Mexican American legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) and National
Education Association (NEA), June, 2010, 43 pp
grew out of a "Minority Parent Engagement Summit" sponsored by MALDEF and the NEA in 2009. The report details "best
practices" from "several well-established parental engagement organizations." The practices are reported
by organizations serving the African-American, American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latino, and multiethnic groups.
A section of the report describes barriers to engagement that appear to be common to all communities. The report concludes
with seven overarching policy recommendations, including "increas(ing) accountability for the implementation of parent
engagement plans and policies" and "increase(ing) professional development for school staff on parent engagement."
New Start for Youth Study: An Examination of the Settlement
Pathways of Newcomer Youth
Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance/Alliance
Canadiennne du Sector de l'Establissement des Immigrants, April, 2010, 73 pp
With the second highest immigrant
population in the world, of which 36% are 24 years of age or under, Canada has a vital interest in promoting the successful
integration of its newcomer youth. This study, prepared by a researcher at the University of Guelph and funded by the
Canadian government, examines a cross-section of 125 young people in five provinces of Canada. All are legal residents between
the ages of 11 to 20 years who have lived in Canada for five years or less. Using surveys, personal statements, and focus
groups, the study opens a window on the experiences and problems of these young people. The study also inquires into coping
mechanisms and solicits recommendations from the participants as to strategies that might ease the transition to their new
environment. Among these strategies are "more formalized mentorship/buddy/peer support programs in schools and the community
that help to create ‘instant' social networks," and the development of a "'Welcome to Canada' multilingual
survival handbooks for newcomer youth that could be provided to youth prior and/or after their arrival in the country."
Reading and Language Outcomes of a Five-Year Randomized
Evaluation of Transitional Bilingual Education,
Johns Hopkins University and the Success for All Foundation,
January, 2010, 21 pp.
This study followed a group of LEP immigrant school children over a five-year period in
an effort to determine whether English immersion or bilingual education produced stronger educational outcomes. No significant
differences could be found, leading the researchers to conclude "that what matters most...is the quality of instruction,
not the language of instruction. Schools may choose to teach English language learners in either their native language or
in English for many reasons, including cultural, economic, or political rationales. Yet the claims that this choice is crucial
for ultimate learning of English or Spanish reading are not supported by the data from this experiment."
Garden State Dreams:
In-State Tuition for Undocumented Kids,
New Jersey Policy Perspective, January,
2010, 12 pp.
This policy brief argues for the passage of in-state tuition legislation in New Jersey, citing
its economic and social benefits to the state. Such legislation would encourage Latino students, already suffering from high
drop-out rates, to stay in high school and graduate. It would also ease the burden on undocumented families, among the lowest
income earners in the state, trying to cover the escalating cost of public college tuition in New Jersey, now the second highest
in the nation, and do it without access to state financial assistance. The legislation would also encourage high-ranking students
to continue their education in New Jersey, rather than seeking admission and scholarship assistance from private colleges
in other states. Finally, the author sees benefits for all New Jersey residents from students achieving their potential, getting
good jobs, paying taxes, and spending money to stimulate the economy.
In-State Tuition for Undocumented Students and the
Voices for Utah Children, October, 2009, 19 pp.
A multi-issue child advocacy organization, Voices for Utah Children produced this report
with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The report provides an informative account of the history and political dynamics
of in-tuition legislation in the State of Utah - legislation which has withstood numerous attempts at repeal since first passed
in 2002. The report summarizes the arguments on both sides of the issue, discusses pending court challenges to similar legislation
in California and Kansas, and urges passage of the federal DREAM Act to settle the issue once and for all.
Language and Education: The
Save the Children and the CfBT Education
Trust, 2009, 62 pp.
Focusing on children in low and middle income countries, this report highlights the significance
of instructional language in educational outcomes. Despite the “clear agreement” among educators and linguistic
experts that teaching in the mother tongue or first language of children provides a stronger foundation for educational success,
there are 2.4 billion people around the world who speak languages that are seldom used in the classroom. Children from rural
areas are particularly disadvantaged by this omission. The authors contend that such practices lead to high drop-out rates
and fuel social unrest, particularly in countries with high levels of linguistic diversity and ethnic conflict. The authors suggest
“at least six years of mother tongue education (in the primary grades), with the gradual introduction of other languages
from an early stage.” The report faults donor agencies, particularly in the U.S. and U.K, for not devoting sufficient
attention to this issue, and praises countries like the Philippines for their commitment to the use of mother tongues in the
Listening to Latinas: Barriers to High School Graduation,
National Women's Law Center & Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, August, 2009,
Noting that Latinas are dropping out of school in alarming numbers, the
authors of this report bring the voice of Latina students to the educational policy debate. Based on a non-random survey sample
of 335 Latina high school students, of whom 90 were foreign-born, enrolled in ten schools and centers around the country,
and follow-up, in-person interviews and focus group sessions with 47 of these students, the report explores the barriers that
limit educational attainment and life chances for Latina girls. The report concludes with a range of recommendations for Congress,
the U.S. Department of Education, states, local communities, school administrators and teachers to address these problems.
Children of Immigrants: National and State Characteristics,
Urban Institute, August, 2009, 18 pp
on data from the 2005 and 2006 American Community Survey, this research brief examines the growing number of immigrant children
in the nation's schools. Nationally, the number doubled from 8 million in 1990 to 16.4 million in 2007 -- representing 23%
of all children from age 0 to 17. Seventy-three percent (73%) of all these children lived in the "big six"
states of California, Texas, New York, Florida, Illinois, and New Jersey. The authors opine that "children of immigrants
deserve special attention because they face many universal risk factors to children's well-being, such as lower parental education
and family incomes" as well as "factors unique to immigration, such as lack of parental citizenship and English
proficiency." A companion web tool enables user to obtain more detailed data about individual states.
Legal Issues for School Districts Related to the Education
of Undocumented Children,
National Education Association and National School
Boards Association, 2009, 30 pp.
This publication addresses 13 questions that school districts face related
to the education of undocumented children, including such issues as enrollment policy (when parents live outside the
district), student participation in extracurricular activities, student access to specialized services, school custodial responsibilities
after ICE workplace raids, and policies surrounding B-2 (Tourist) visa holders. The publication has been sent to every school
district in the country and has been endorsed by 16 national professional education associations.
Fulfilling the Promise of Preschool for All: Insights
into Issues Affecting Access for Selected Immigrant Groups in Chicago,
The Urban Institute, 2009, 37 pp
In July 2006, Illinois passed the landmark Preschool
for All (PFA) program, designed to ensure access for all 3- and 4-year-old children to 2 ½ hours of free, quality
early childhood education. As the program is voluntary in nature, special efforts have been made to enroll the most vulnerable
children, including children of immigrant parents. This study focuses on two communities of lower incidence (less
numerous) immigrant families in Chicago: Nigerian and Pakistani. The authors draw a number of conclusions from their work,
including the importance of considering the specific needs and concerns of particular immigrant communities in outreach efforts,
rather than assuming that all immigrants are alike.
Quality Benchmark for Cultural Competence Project,
National Association for the Education
of Young Children (NAEYC), June, 2009, 25 pp.
Through extensive discussion with
stakeholders and experts in the early childhood field, and with support from A. L. Mailman Family Foundation, NAEYC produced
this tool to assess the level of cultural competence within early childhood programs participating in quality rating and improvement
systems being implemented in 19 states. NAEYC proposes seven key approaches for consideration by the field, including
"...build(ing) upon the home languages and dialects of the children, families and staff in programs and support the preservation
of home languages." The report includes a matrix that explicates each approach, gives ideas for implementation, and suggests
Quality Rating Improvement Systems for a Multi-Ethnic Society,
Issue Brief, Early Childhood Funders Collaborative
(Build Initiative), 2009, 12 pp.
Noting that we should "measure what we treasure," this brief calls
attention to the importance of culture, language, and anti-bias education in early chidlhood programs. Reviewing the Quality
Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS) currently in operation in16 states, the authors find scant attention to cultural
and linguistic factors in these accountability systems. The brief defines five elements of program quality related to
language and culture: multiculturalism, gender, language development, family involvement, and anti-bias, and asserts
that these components are integral to overall program quality.
Young Dual Language Learners, A Key Topic Resource List,
Child Care and Early Education Research Connections, June, 2009, 12 pp.
This list contains one-sentence summaries of, and links to, reports, papers,
briefs, summaries, and reviews of research pertaining to the education of young dual language learners. Among questions
covered in the research are: the developmental benefits or drawbacks of children learning two languages, the academic outcomes
of children participating in bilingual education programs compared to those in monolingual English immersion programs, the
home language and literacy practices of non-English-speaking families, and effective strategies for engaging immigrant families
in supporting their children's education.
Partnering with Parents and Families to Support Immigrant and
Refugee Children at School,
Center for Health and Health Care in
Schools, The George Washington University, June, 2009, 15 pp.
This issue brief discusses the "Caring Across Communities" initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,
a project that is spurring the development of 15 model school-based programs across the United States designed to address
the "unique emotional and behavioral health issues" of immigrant and refugee children from low-income families.
Supported with grants totaling $4.5 million, all programs are experimenting with innovative ways of reaching out to immigrant
families and communities, on the assumption that healthy families, fully engaged in the educational process, are crucial to
the emotional health and education success of immigrant children.
Immigrant Families, English Language Learners, and the Future
of Educational Reform,
Recorded Panel Discussion, The Urban Institute, May 21, 2009, 2 hours
In this discussion, a panel of six experts assessed the progress
that American schools have made in educating immigrant children. The low graduation rate of English language learners was
a particular area of concern. Among issues covered by the panelists were: the influence of neighborhood poverty on student
achievement, problems with current assessment procedures, the challenge of disseminating effective strategies used by high
performing schools, and the formulation of new policy approaches in the context of the ongoing congressional debate over the
reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act.
Young Lives on Hold: The College Dreams of Undocumented
College Board, April, 2009, 27 pp.
Noting that 15% of the undocumented population in the United States is comprised of children, many
of whom have spent most of their formative years and received most of their schooling in the United States, the College Board
bemoans the waste of human potential involved in denying them opportunities to move on to higher education, drive, vote, and
work in the United States. The Board urges passage of the bipartisan "Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors
Act" (The Dream Act) to enable qualified young people who graduate from high school and who have lived in the U.S. since
childhood to acquire legal status if they go to college or join the military. The report sees no adverse impact on native-born
students in the ten states that permit undocumented students to attend college at in-state tuition rates.
English Learners in Boston Public Schools: Enrollment, Engagement
and Academic Outcomes, AY2003-AY2006,
The Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and Public
Policy, University of Massachusetts, Boston, April, 2009, 126 pp.
This report examines the impact of the English Only movement in Massachusetts. After approval of
a referendum by Massachusetts voters in 2002, sheltered English immersion (SEI) programs -- not to exceed one year in length
-- became the default strategy for transitioning limited English proficient (LEP) students into the academic mainstream. Transitional
bilingual education (TBE) programs were discontinued, unless at least 20 parents requested waivers and received approvals
from local school districts. This report examines the experience of the Boston school district and its English language learners
during the post-referendum period. In the beginning, Boston shifted 45.2% of its LEP students into mainstream classes. The
district also adopted a "discouraging approach to parental waivers," thereby reducing the availability of other
educational options, including TBE. As a result, drop-out rates increased, and the number of LEP students in special education
classes more than doubled. The report contains many recommendations for systemic improvements in Boston's education
of English language learners.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Recommendations for
Addressing the Needs of English Language Learners, Center for Applied Linguistics, March 20, 2009, 23 pp.
Prepared by a national work group of 14 experts familiar with research findings and
best practices in the education of immigrant children, this report describes how the stimulus act can be utilized to improve
schooling for English language learners. Noting that these students "represent a large proportion of students at risk
of underachievement," the authors make over 50 recommendations designed to take advantage of the short-term duration
of this funding. Many are focused on building infrastructure and a stronger evidence base for future educational reform,
including modifications to the No Child Left Behind Act.
Dual Language Learners in the Early Years: Getting Ready to Succeed
National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition, November, 2008,
Dual language learners are defined as "children
from 3 to 6 years of age who are learning a second languagae while still acquiring their first." Looking at general
indicators of readiness for school, this report finds that dual language learners are at special risk for falling behind their
monolingual peers. Reviewing relevant research, the report outlines ways to better prepare these children for school,
to conduct appropriate assessment and to design effective instructional strategies.
Teaching English Language Learners: What the Research Does --
and Does Not -- Say, American Educator, Summer, 2008, 19 pp.
One in nine students in the US is an English language learner. What's the best way to help these
students become fluent in English and master the academic content? Existing research cannot fully answer that question, but
it can offer teachers some guidelines. Focusing on two recent reviews of that research, Claude Goldenberg, Professor of Education
at Stanford University, highlights the most promising instructional approaches and discusses important questions that the
research has yet to answer.
Challenging Common Myths About Young English language Learners, Foundation for Child Development, January, 2008, 11 pp.
Produced by the Foundation's New American Children initiative, this report challenges
six myths often associated with the education of young immigrant children, including the supposed advantages of total English
immersion as an educational strategy and the assumption that Latino parents undervalue the importance of pre-kindergarten
Immigrant Integration Educator Resource Guide, The Colorado Trust and the Colorado Department of Education, 2008,
This guide provides an overview of the key areas that influence immigrant integration in schools - from
school enrollment, culture and classroom instruction to family and community outreach. The guide contains links to useful
resources in each of the main topical areas. Although state-specific to Colorado, the Guide is noteworthy for its use of immigrant
integration as a frame for analyzing the immigrant school experience.
New Jersey Immigrant Kids Count 2007: A Profile of Child
Well-Being, Association for Children of New Jersey, 2007, 25 pp.
report provides an array of informative data about the circumstances of children in immigrant families with helpful comparisons
to non-immigrant children both in New Jersey and nationally.
Education Rights of Immigrant Students and Families,
New Jersey Immigration Policy Network, 2007, 11 pp.
Intended for dissemination to immigrant parents in foreign language, this booklet provides
a summary of key legal and constitutional rights of immigrant students under both federal and state law. Produced in collaboration
with the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, the booklet is used as a tool in parent training workshops.
New Jersey's Special Review Assessment: Loophole or Lifeline?
A Policy Brief,
The Graduate Center, CUNY, Education Law Center, Institute on Law and
Education Policy (Rutgers University), Project Grad, August, 2007, 68 pp.
Students for whom English is not their first language often struggle to pass standardized tests, especially high
stakes high school graduation exams. Many states provide alternative assessments to prove the mastery of core skills. New
Jersey's proposal to discontinue its "special review assessment," on grounds that it represented "institutionalized
low expectations" prompted the issuance of this multi-agency report, one of whose recommendation is that New Jersey "continue
to offer multiple assessment routes to graduation."
Paying the Price: The Impact of Immigration Raids on America's
Children, A Report by The Urban Institute for the National Council of La Raza, 2007, 99
This study examines the impact of workplace immigration
raids on 500 children in three communities: Greeley, Colorado; Grand Island, Nebraska; and New Bedford, Massachusetts.
The disruption of family life, loss of family income, and resulting dislocation create emotional turmoil in the
lives of these children, most of whom are U.S. citizens. As the pace of immigrant enforcement is likely to intensify in future
years, the report gives policy recommendations to Congress, ICE, schools, social service and public agencies.
Double the Work: Challenges and Solutions to Acquiring Language
and Academic Literacy for Adolescent English Language Learners, Report to Carnegie Corporation of New York, 2007, 83 pp.
Middle and high schools are seeing expanding enrollments of students whose primary language
is not English. These students must perform "double the work" of native English speakers, i.e. learning English
while mastering core academic content areas. This report recommends an array of best practices and strategies for surmounting
the major educational challenges faced by limited English proficient students.
The Challenges to Multiculturalism in Massachusetts,
The Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Public Policy and Community Development, University of Massachusetts, 2006,
An anti-bilingual education referendum was approved
by the voters of Massachusetts in November of 2002. The referendum read, in part, "The current state law providing for
transitional bilingual education in public schools will be replaced with a law requiring that, with limited exceptions, all
public school children must be taught English by being taught all subjects in English and being placed in English language
classrooms." This report analyzes the tactics of referendum sponsors, media coverage, and - through the use of focus
groups -- the thinking of voters on this important issue. (Abstract
reposted through agreement with the Immigrant Learning Center and the Immigration Research and Information web site)
Developing Literacy in Second-Langauge Learners: Report of the
National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth, SRI International and the Center for Applied Linguistics, 2006, 15 pp (Executive
This report summarized the findings of a four-year, $1.8
million dollar study funded by the fedederal Department of Education "to identify, assess, and synthesize research
on the education of language-minority children and youth with regard to literacy attainment and to produce a comprehensive
report on this literature." One of the key findings was that students instructed in native language as well as in English
attain higher rates of English reading proficiency. The finding held true at both the elementary and high school levels. Because
of the controversial nature of this finding, the Bush Administration declined to publish the study.
Effects of the Implementation of Proposition 227 on the Education
of English Learners, K-12: Findings from a Five-year Evaluation,
American Institutes for Research, January 24, 2006, 228 pp.
This state-mandated, five-year study of California's Proposition 227 found no conclusive
evidence that one instructional model for educating English learners, such as full English immersion or a bilingual approach,
is more effective for English learners than another. The factors identified as most critical to their success were: staff
capacity to address English learners' linguistic and academic needs; school wide focus on English language development and
standards-based instruction; shared priorities and expectations in educating English learners and systematic, ongoing assessment
and careful data use to guide instruction.
A Look at Immigrant Youth: Prospects and Promising Practices, National Conference of State Legislatures, Children's Policy Initiative, March,
2005, 18 pp.
This report analyzes the barriers facing immigrant
youth, resources available from the federal government to address those barriers, and requirements under the No Child Left
Behind Act for LEP students. Among the promising practices reviewed in the report are newcomer programs, after school programs,
and parental involvement approaches.
Denied at the Door: Language Barriers Block Immigrant Parents
from School Involvement, Advocates for Children of New York and the New York Immigration Coalition, February
19, 2004, 55 pp.
Based on a survey of immigrant parents and
students in the New York City School System, this report documents widespread failure to communicate in native language with
immigrant parents. Without parental involvement in the education process, students will be deprived of parental support and
schools will not have the full cooperation of parents.
Integrating Students of Limited English Proficiency into Standards-Based
Reform in the Abbott Districts, Education Law Center, 2004, 59 pp.
This resource guide helps school administrators and teachers understand the special problems and challenges
facing students of limited English proficiency attending school in New Jersey's 30 Abbott districts. The guide summarizes
effective instructional practices and gives examples of successful schools.