The tens of thousands of unaccompanied school-age children and youths who crossed the U.S.-Mexican border in the spring and summer of 2014 had vastly different educational experiences depending on where they settled,concludes.
The students, almost all of them from Central America and many with yearlong gaps in their formal education, represented a new challenge for the schools. And the needs of the students, ranging from English-language-learner services to mental-health counseling, are met in some places and rebuffed in others, the report says.
“Anecdotal reports suggest school districts are reacting in significantly different ways, some creating service programs that address the children’s particular needs, while others have exercised policies that make school enrollment more difficult,” writes author Sarah Pierce.
The paper cites three districts—Montgomery County, Md.; Sussex County, Del.; and Dalton, Ga.—for their positive efforts to address the needs of the unaccompanied minors, including trauma, interrupted formal education, family reunification, and legal issues.
A version of this article appeared in the October 28, 2015 edition of Education Week as Migrant Students