Education for the Future: Extending Georgia’s High School and College Reforms to its Growing Immigrant Population
Michael Fix, CEO and Director of Studies, Migration Policy Institute
Pedro Portes, Executive Director, Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education, University of Georgia
Elizabeth Webb, Director of ELL Programs, Gwinnett County Public Schools
Sarah Hooker, Policy Analyst, MPI
Margie McHugh, Director, National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, MPI
Georgia has experienced one of the fastest rates of growth from immigration in the United States over the past two decades, and today one in five Georgia youth is foreign born or is the child of parents who are immigrants or refugees.
The educational outcomes of the state’s first- and second- generation young adults (ages 16-26) are cause for concern, however. Many are English Language Learners (ELLs), and they lag considerably behind their nonimmigrant peers in terms of high school graduation, college access, and postsecondary degree completion. They often face extra hurdles as they seek to develop academic English-language skills, complete high school course requirements, navigate the transition to college and careers, and finance postsecondary education—often while juggling work and family responsibilities. Educators in districts such as Gwinnett County—which enrolls one-fifth of the state’s ELL students—are on the front lines of efforts to address these challenges.
A report from the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, released on March 20 and discussed on this webinar, provides one of the first cross-system analyses of the educational experiences of Georgia’s first- and second-generation youth. The report assesses where Georgia’s ambitious education reforms have met—or failed to meet—the needs of this growing population, including those who have been granted status under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.