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How is the abundance of immigrant children affecting the public school system?


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Anonymous May 23, 2008


How is the abundance of immigrant children affecting the public school system?

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MomfromMA May 23, 2008


I would not be able to tell you. I live next to Harvard and the immigrant children who go there are more educated and more advanced than the average American kid.

So, you may have a valid question in some places, though the question is a little too provocative to my taste, because you do not state in what this is affecting the school system.

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buckaroo May 23, 2008


legal or illegal?

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Anonymous May 23, 2008


I'm going to assume you're referring to legal children, though this applies either way:

1) There is a language barrier between the children and their teachers. Children that grow up in a home teaching a different language than English are not going to have an easy time getting access to the best teachers, as it is normally considered the English as a Second Language teacher's job to prepare them, and early on they have no grasp on the language whatsoever in most cases. The teachers that are considered to teach the best and the brightest are often "spared" from having to deal with non-English or minimal-English speaking children, which means the quality of education that this growing segment of the country suffers.

2) The influx of immigrant children puts a strain on school financial resources due to the fact that newly introduced families don't make as much money as the normal middle class families do. Therefore, reduced lunches and other programs that were previously being sparingly used have become the normal at some schools, taking away money that could be used funding higher education or, as mentioned earlier, finding a better way to integrate children. My state average sees 46% qualification for free or reduced lunches, a dramatic increase over earlier years.

I'm not sure about the sociological impact of not having similar peers in school, but definitely the public school system wasn't designed to handle the massive growth that some areas have seen. Houston and Dallas areas have seen a higher density in population due to immigrants and new schools are built quickly but not necessarily well planned out.

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buckaroo May 23, 2008


The reason I ask legal vs illegal is that legal is a controlled number of people. Thus the strain on school resources is controlled. Illegal immigration causes major strains on the school districts due to sheer numbers (as described by "Anonymous" earlier.

I think it's been proven that having separate classes for ESL students is not as effective, academically or financially, as just immersing them into the system. If the numbers are kept in check, then this works fine.

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woofwoof June 10, 2008


I live on the edge of a nice suburb that transitions into an area where there is a large number of Hispanic and presumably illegial aliens and their families (Santa Ana, CA). The local public elementary school where my kid would normally go buses in kids from Santa Ana, as well as takes in the kids in the boundary limits. Every year I watch the percentage of ESL students grow, as well as those on the lunch program (whatever it's called) in this school. I see principals come and go and see the middle of the road test scores. When it came time to put my kid in school, I got my son into the magnet school on the other side of town, 3 miles away. It's a pain to drive my kid across town every day, but I didn't want my son's learning time hindered by the teacher having to accommodate the kids who don't understand the langurage. Our local school isn't necessarily a bad school, but I see the trend. And many of the schools in other parts of the district are predominantly poor Hispanic, where language is an issue, where parents aren't able to be involved in their kids education because they don't understand the lanugage themselves, and the schools are struggling with all kinds of issues -- poor academics, behavioral problems, lack of funding due to poor test scores, etc. This is not an anti-Hispanic rant, there's plenty of Hispanic kids who come from dedicated families and try their best, it's simply an observation of what I see.

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MSMomm June 10, 2008


Woofwoof:
I hear you (no pun intended). I also live in Southern California, and see the very same thing further north from you. And, if you think it gets better as those same ESL students get older, it does not. Unfortunately, a lot has to do with the parents not learning to speak English. Someone (who happens to be from Mexico) once told me that there is no incentive for many Spanish-speaking people to learn to speak English, since they live in areas where everyone else, including shopkeepers, speak Spanish. How detrimental to their children and our public school districts.

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najarvis July 12, 2008


Let's see. A lot of this depends on the parents of the children. I am a first generation my parents being South African. But my parents speak English and were well educated, and when we moved to California they both worked extremely hard to buy a house in Palo Alto so we could go to school in that district and they were always paying for outside classes and reading to us and being involved with us and from an early age we were told we would be expected to go to college. And they worked extra hours to send us to college without student loans.
My friend who is the 4th child of Chinese immigrants who barely speak English and who work as cooks and were not well educated somehow managed to get all 6 girls to graduate high school and go onto college and finish. The expectation was there. There are some immigrants who barley speak English and come to the United States for a better life but have very little educational skills and have never even dreamed that their children could go to college and in some cultures if you are female it is definitely NOT an expectation. I believe the biggest impact is the parents and their expectations. If they want to do better in America they learn English and teach their children to learn English and do well in school and go onto college. If they do not it is much harder for the children to do well in school and go on to get a good job.I have been asked by the nurses who have immigrated to live here where I work work why doesn't America require all people to learn to function in English? That was a question I didn't have an answer for. All children who immigrate here should be required to concentrate on learning English for a year so that we can then mainstream them into regular classes. As my friend whose parents were Chinese cooks said " I never was given any special help for years to learn English or placed in an ESL class, my family helped me to learn English and I worked on learning English for myself."

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eccentric July 12, 2008


I would say that presence of immigrant children in schools is very positive in many ways. In fact, I would argue that many immigrants' children do much better in schools simply because their parents pay more attention to them so their children don't lag back! Not to mention the fact that those children bring diversity which is always good. Of course, it also depends upon the socio-economic backgrounds but that's true for any family and not just the immigrants!

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mom4health July 16, 2008


I think how much of a problem immegrant students are depends on how the school handles immegrant children. I spend two hours a week at my daughter's school where we have a large hispanic population (42%). I have very limited experience with any immigrants from countries other than Mexico. But the hispanic students at our school are among the most respectful and well behaved seemingly due to their parents taking their education very seriously. An American education seems to be of high value to them. Though I can understand that they can be somewhat draining as many do tend to make less money, hence not contribute as much via taxes. But this is a poor-ish rural community and it would be incorrect to blame lack of funds on immigrants. I haven't seen any poor english skills slowing down the learning environment here at all. It seems as if the kids whose parents don't value their education (?maybe) i.e. the kids who act out in class cause most of the distraction, slow down in learning. Just my perspective.

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TheRedFrog February 5, 2009


I think one resource that can shed some light and provide you with some background on historical aspects of this issue is Teaching Tolerance dot org. I have found their Domestic Poverty section eye-opening on the question you asked.



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