Immigration and Education: The Crisis and the Opportunities

The level of immigration to the United States has never been higher, with more than a million immigrants, legal and illegal, entering every year. This new immigration is placing unique demands upon schools, colleges, vocational training centers, and adult education agencies. Cities and towns across the nation are straining to educate ever-larger numbers of immigrants, whose needs are often very different from native-born Americans. Educating these diverse groups is, however, difficult - and for urban school districts, whose resource bases are dimininshing, grappling with these issues presents a vital social problem. David Stewart analyzes these issues in detail, illustrating that the root of these difficulties lies in the absence of coordination between the federal government's immigration policy and related education policies at the federal, state, and local levels. Stewart calls the Congressional immigration committees to task for giving insufficient attention to the educational needs of immigrants and urges larger and more timely federal funding for local immigrant education programs.