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December 6, 2016
New network launches to highlight policies impacting Tennessee’s immigrant students
Tennessee’s growing immigrant population spawns a network for educators, parents and advocates of students who are learning to speak English.
November 15, 2016
Flooded with questions after Trump win, Denver Public Schools produces immigration fact sheet
The fact sheet assures families that students have a right to a public education regardless of their immigration status.
After the election
November 11, 2016
Inside one Nashville afterschool program, homework and deportation questions happen side by side
All semester, sprinkled amid homework, computer games, and arts and crafts, Nashville students shared anxiety induced by Trump’s campaign promises to limit immigration.
October 7, 2016
New York City students talk about voting — and Donald Trump
In the onslaught of campaign TV ads this presidential election season, you may have seen this one: children sit in front of a TV screen watching Donald Trump deliver divisive comments about immigrants, women and people with disabilities. The ad wraps up with a message: “Our children are watching.” Apparently, so are New York City teenagers. Chalkbeat caught up with a handful of students this week as they registered to vote for the first time at an event organized by the New York Immigration Coalition. The group visited schools across the five boroughs, making sure teens didn’t miss out on the chance to cast their first ballot. Here’s what three teens at Pathways to Graduation at Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn, an alternative school for older students working toward a high school equivalency degree, had to say about registering to vote, presidential politics and their hopes for the future. Tyrone Alexis, 19, Canarsie Tyrone Alexis wasn’t planning to vote. Then he got a crash course in civics from the New York Immigration Coalition. “They just said that basically the world gave us opportunity,” he said. “That’s the only power we get towards the government.” That was enough to convince him. Now that he’s registered, Alexis said he feels empowered -- and plans to make voting a social affair. “My friends, they plan to vote. We’re going to go together,” he said. The first ballot he’ll cast will be for Hillary Clinton, Alexis said. He was swayed by revelations that Trump may have avoided paying federal income taxes for almost two decades, as reported by the New York Times. “Hillary thinks that people that make a lot of money should pay more taxes than the people who don’t make a lot of money,” he said. Also on his mind as he heads to the ballot box: what kinds of work will be available once he and his friends enter the labor market. “We should get more jobs,” Alexis said. “That’s a big impact on the generation now." Kevin Narcisse, 19, Brooklyn Kevin Narcisse was born in the U.S., but his parents are from Haiti. Though he described his mom as a regular voter, Narcisse himself has yet to cast a ballot. Trump's stance on immigration convinced him to change that. “He wants our people, our moms and dads, to go back to their country. And that’s why I’m voting for Hillary," he said. "I don’t want to see my mom and dad to go back to their country."
April 26, 2016
For these undocumented immigrant students, Tennessee’s failed in-state tuition bill was personal
In January, six immigrant students, some of them undocumented, gathered after school in an empty classroom at Nashville’s Glencliff High School to snack on Doritos…
The big lift
April 19, 2016
Tennessee has an upward mobility problem. Can schools help?
State education leaders brainstorm about entrenched inequality — and schools’ role in reversing it.
Politics & Policy
April 22, 2015
Charter innovations show promising results for teaching language
As the number of English language learners in Indianapolis charter schools swells, some schools are becoming beacons for a fast-growing Latino population.
Teaching & Classroom
April 19, 2015
‘One-way street’ for immigrant integration in schools
Schools focus on English learners but often overlook cultural understanding of their U.S.-born classmates.
February 17, 2015
Immigrant groups see chance to improve language services in chancellor’s reorganization
With changes coming to the city's school-support structure, immigrant groups are asking the Department of Education to improve translation services for parents with limited English proficiency.
A New Challenge
September 8, 2014
For unaccompanied minors, the school year begins with uncertainty
Hundreds of minors who have fled violence in Central America will start school this fall with the question of their immigration status looming overhead.
February 3, 2012
Dominican families balance schooling with extended trips home
Gregorio Luperon High School serves newcomer students, most of whom come from the Dominican Republic. It begins in early December. Students pop into the attendance office at Gregorio Luperon High School for Science and Mathematics brandishing plane tickets like doctor's notes. Then the absences start, weeks before the winter break begins. And then comes the rolling return of students, stretching to the waning days of January. The annual ritual that takes place at Gregorio Luperon also plays out in other pockets of the city that, like Washington Heights, have many students from the Dominican Republic. Extended mid-year absences are by no means limited to Dominican students: The New York Times reported this week about post-vacation enrollment flux at Chinatown schools. But educators and community organizations say the phenomenon is especially pronounced at schools with many families from the Dominican Republic — and that the impact can be significant. About 15 Luperon students missed some amount of school this December and January because they were in the Dominican Republic, according to Luperon's attendance teacher, and two still hadn't returned last week. "They want to see their families back home, especially if they haven't seen them in a long time," said Mireya De La Rosa, an assistant principal at Gregorio Luperon who immigrated from the Dominican Republic herself.
June 16, 2009
Report: High school closures hurt students learning English
The rise of small high schools has decimated programs for students whose native language is not English, making the students more likely to drop out. That's the conclusion of a report released today by two watchdog groups that look out for immigrant students, Advocates for Children of New York and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund. The groups studied two large, low-performing high schools that the city decided to replace with small, themed schools and found that students who are classified as English language learners enrolled in smaller numbers in the new schools. Students who did enroll often did not receive the services they needed, the groups found. What's more, according to the report, most of the new schools are too small to offer a range of language services: State law mandates that schools create bilingual programs if they enroll more than 20 students in the same grade who speak the same native language. The DOE has interpreted this mandate to mean that parents of 20 students in the same grade who speak the same language must "opt-in" to select a bilingual program - and that merely meeting the numerical enrollment threshold is insufficient.
March 18, 2009
Report: Immigrant parents feel shut out of schools
Hot on the heels of a DOE report saying that immigrant students are doing better than ever before, groups serving immigrant families issued a report of their own today, calling on the city Department of Education to "change the culture in schools" so that immigrant parents feel welcome participating in their children's education. Many immigrant parents would like to be involved in their children's schools but do not feel able because of language barriers and cultural differences, according to the report, which was written by Advocates for Children of New York, where I used to work, in conjunction with a number of community groups that represent immigrants. The report calls for the DOE to develop an aggressive plan to involve immigrant families in their schools, citing research that has documented a link between parent engagement and student performance. The premise behind the report — that parents should be involved in schools — is one that DOE officials say they support. Asked at Friday's mayoral control hearing about parent participation among immigrant families, Maria Santos, who heads the department's Office of ELLs, said there is "not enough." The report suggests a number of reasons why immigrant parents might not feel encouraged to get involved.
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