Equity & Diversity

Opinion: ‘The World Has Come to the Little Red School House’

By Mary Ann Zehr — September 08, 2009 1 min read
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U.S. schools aren’t doing enough to educate the children of immigrants so that they can compete with upcoming generations of youths in places such as Hong Kong, Korea, and Finland, argue Marcelo M. Suarez-Orozco and Carola Suarez-Orozco in a Sept. 5 column in the Huffington Post.

They write that children of immigrants are learning English at the same rates as earlier generations and are landing better jobs than their parents, but that doesn’t mean that schools are doing what it takes to prepare such children to be competitive among industrialized countries. Both Marcelo and Carola are immigration experts on the faculty at New York University.

They introduce new lingo for an approach that U.S. schools should adopt for their very diverse population of students: “Knowledge for Creativity, Innovation, and Complexity.” It boils down to teaching critical thinking and skills for communicating in complex settings.

“The world has come to the Little Red School House,” the researchers write. “How we fare in turning the children of the world into productive and engaged citizens of an ever-smaller, more integrated planet will teach the world a lesson on the vitality of the American promise.”

What’s your take on this? Are U.S. schools’ strategies for teaching children of immigrants exemplary or lacking?

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