Report: Schools Aren’t Meeting Needs of Students from Immigrant Families

Credit Martha Dalton/WABE News
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Georgia’s public high schools and colleges aren’t meeting the needs of students from immigrant families. That’s according to a recent report from the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C.

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The report examines how children of immigrants fare in Georgia’s education and workforce preparation systems. Michael Fix, the Migration Policy Institute’s CEO, says there’s room for improvement.

“I think our core finding is that Georgia is very much a laboratory for education reform, but in many cases that reform circumvents the immigrant populations, in particularly English language learners,” Fix says.  

The report says Georgia high schools should expand services for ELL students. It suggests allowing undocumented students to participate in dual enrollment programs to earn more credit. He says the state could do a better job tracking ELL students once they exit language services.

Also, Fix says, Georgia teachers need better incentives to teach English Language Learners.

“They were given good opportunities to build their skills and get credentials, but they weren’t really given the salary incentives that might have made it easier for them to do that,” he says.

Georgia colleges also need to implement reforms, the report found. For example, Fix says, the state should reconsider its policy requiring undocumented students to pay out of state tuition to attend state schools. He says that should also apply to students who’ve qualified for temporary status through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

Fix says state officials should also reverse the ban on undocumented students at Georgia’s top five universities.