Education

Immigrants and ELLs on the Great Plains

By Mary Ann Zehr — March 19, 2007 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

About one in three 1st- and 2nd-generation Latino students in Nebraska say they plan to work full time after they finish high school. And educators are concerned about the tendency of many Latinos in that Midwestern state to drop out of school even before graduating to take unskilled jobs.

Those are some recent findings by researchers Lourdes Gouveia and Mary Ann Powell at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, who have studied the integration--and sometimes the lack of integration--of Latinos into various aspects of community life in Nebraska. To learn more about Nebraska Latino students and schools, read page 5 of a study, “Second-Generation Latinos in Nebraska: A First Look,” posted on the Web site of the university’s Office of Latino/Latin American Studies of the Great Plains, or OLLAS.

Ms. Gouveia was one of the few researchers I could identify who was studying the impact of immigration on schools in the Midwest in the spring of 2005, when I last wrote about that topic for Education Week. I’m thinking that educators in states like Nebraska--not traditionally receiving states for immigrants but now seeing an influx--might learn something from her research.

In a second document posted on the OLLAS Web site--a book chapter called “Nebraska’s Responses to Immigration” --Ms. Gouveia summaries state policy issues regarding the education of immigrant children. She notes that a group of school districts have sued the state, claiming they aren’t getting adequate funding to serve English-language learners and poor and minority students as a whole.

Many of Nebraska’s K-12 Latino students are from families attracted to jobs in meatpacking and are English-language learners. In meat-packing communities such as Schuyler, Neb., for example, 30 percent of students are English-language learners, most of whom are Latino. In the 2000-01 school year, 3.7 percent of Nebraska’s school children were English-learners; by the 2004-05 school year, that proportion had increased to 5.78 percent, Ms. Gouveia reports.

In her book chapter, Ms. Gouveia writes: “Nebraskans’ attitudes toward immigrants appear to be changing rapidly and not necessarily for the better. ... The anti-immigrant rhetoric and polices being trumpeted at the national level are beginning to derail Nebraska’s home-grown, albeit incipient, efforts to facilitate the successful integration of new immigrants into our local institutions.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Trauma-Informed Practices & the Construction of the Deep Reading Brain
Join Ryan Lee-James, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, director of the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, with Renée Boynton-Jarrett, MD, ScD., Vital Village Community Engagement Network; Neena McConnico, Ph.D, LMHC, Child Witness to Violence Project; and Sondra
Content provided by Rollins Center & Campaign for Grade-Level Reading

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Hundreds of Conn. Bus Drivers Threaten to Walk Off the Job Over Vaccine Mandate
More than 200 school bus drivers could walk off the job in response to a vaccination mandate that goes into effect Monday.
1 min read
Rows of school buses are parked at their terminal, in Zelienople, Pa. Reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic means putting children on school buses, and districts are working on plans to limit the risk.
Rows of school buses are parked at their terminal, in Zelienople, Pa. Reopening schools during the coronavirus pandemic means putting children on school buses, and districts are working on plans to limit the risk. <br/>
Keith Srakocic/AP Photo
Education Briefly Stated: September 22, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)