Pathways to Success for the Children of Immigrants
This policy brief examines the social mobility prospects of the children of Turkish immigrants across five E.U. nations—Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands—and seeks to identify institutional arrangements that promote their academic success and transition into the labor market. His findings indicate that second generation Turkish children who start going to school earlier, have more hours of face-to-face instruction, and do not undergo educational selection until a fairly advanced age, enter preparatory schools for higher education at higher rates.
However, the brief correlates placement in higher education preparatory tracks with higher drop-out rates for Turkish children, whereas vocational track placement is linked to an increased likelihood of students receiving secondary education diplomas. Evidence also suggests that formalized apprenticeship systems facilitate entry into the labor market for the Turkish second generation and downplay the role of discrimination in hiring practices.
The brief concludes with a set of general recommendations for improving the situation of the children of immigrants. The author is cognizant of the potential risks of implementing changes that specifically target children of immigrants—they could lead to resentment among the native population and lead to further stigmatization of immigrant groups—and offers possible solutions that cater to the individual differences of all children in the education system. His proposals include offering an early start in the education system to promote native language acquisition and development, creating second chances for students to enter alternate education tracks, and incorporating apprenticeship systems or elements of such systems to combat youth unemployment and reduce drop-out rates.