Education

What’s Behind the ‘Immigrant Paradox’?

By Mary Ann Zehr — March 16, 2009 1 min read

I explore in an article published today at edweek.org how researchers met recently at Brown University to discuss how educators and policymakers can better support children and grandchildren of immigrants in school so that they do as well academically as the first arrivals to this country.

I attended this conference in part because I’m particularly interested in how schools might better support English-language learners who are born in this country. Nearly two-thirds of English-language learners are born in the United States, yet most news coverage and public attention focuses on the new arrivals. This message was conveyed in an in-depth article, “Remade in America,” that ran in the New York Times on Sunday that tells how English-language learners are commonly educated in this country. The article gives the impression that most ELLs are immigrants.

The suggestions by researchers at the Brown University conference for how to help children and grandchildren of immigrants to do as well in school as the immigrants themselves included investing in preschool education, supporting bilingual education, providing strong after-school programs, creating strong relationships between pre-K-12 and higher education, and learning from successful immigrant communities what they do to help their members adapt.

Readers, do you have any suggestions for policies to add to this list?

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