Districts across the nation have raised questions about their responsibilities in providing educational services to the most recent wave of immigrant children, specifically those from the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Many of these children have arrived unaccompanied, countless numbers have done so illegally, and the vast majority have little or no knowledge or understanding of English.
Children who arrive in the United States without an accompanying adult are cared for at one of approximately 150 shelters whose operation is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services. While at the shelter, all expenses for caring for the children, from food and clothing to immunizations and other medical care, are paid for by the federal government. Although children in these shelters receive educational services, they are not allowed to attend school offsite. Only after they are released to a sponsor – a parent, other relative, or family friend – are children allowed to enroll in public school. It is these children, who in the past year alone number nearly 63,000, that school districts aren’t sure what to do with.
Source: USA Today for the number of unaccompanied children released to sponsors by state
Part of the problem districts are facing is that they have difficulty determining the child’s educational background when their sponsor brings them in to enroll. Oftentimes the sponsor is unaware of the child’s history, and language barriers can prevent the child from conveying their . . . read more
Many consider John Dewey, the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century philosopher and advocate of progressivism to be the father of student-centered learning. Dewey championed the idea that schools should address a broad spectrum of student needs, rather than drill rote memorization of facts into students’ heads. The addition of school counselors, special education programs, advanced courses for the gifted, and student support services like positive behavior interventions would all fall under the realm of whole-child educational programs that schools throughout the nation have implemented for quite some time. According to the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, whole-child education should encompass the following:
- Every child comes to school healthy and is supported in his or her pursuit of good mental and physical health through physical education, health, and wellness classes and activities that enrich their lives.
- Every child learns in an environment that is free from discrimination, upholds the tenets of social justice and equality, and provides opportunities for students to feel valued and respected.
- Every child is actively engaged in their learning, which is facilitated by hands-on and project-based learning, community service, extracurricular activities, and other programs that extend learning beyond the classroom.
- Every child participates in personalized learning programs that meet their unique academic, . . . read more
However, this is just one component of the modern-day school-to-prison pipeline, in which students are forced out of school by Draconian policies that land them in the criminal justice system.