The New Demography of America's Schools
This report examines how immigration is changing the demographic profile of the United States’ elementary and secondary student population, framing the analysis within the context of the nationwide implementation of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Authors discuss the characteristics of children of immigrants and limited English proficient (LEP) children; explore the ties between family income, parental education, linguistic proficiency and isolation; and disaggregate children of immigrants by race, ethnicity, and country of origin.
The report finds that sustained high levels of immigration since the 1970s have led to a rapid increase in the number and share of children of immigrants among the school-age population. By 2000, children with immigrant parents represented one in five of all children under age 18. While findings indicate that the vast majority of children of immigrants are U.S.–born citizens, approximately 5 percent of these children appear to have undocumented parents. The LEP share of students also experienced rapid growth. Authors believe that the high share of LEP children in linguistically isolated households and the alarming fact that over half of LEP students are second- or third-generation children may pose significant obstacles as schools seek to meet NCLB accountability requirements for academic achievement and parental involvement.
Findings also indicate that half of school-age children of immigrants and two-thirds of LEP children come from low-income families; and that one-third of children of immigrants and half of LEP students have parents with less than a high school diploma. In addition, the report shows that rates of limited English proficiency and linguistic isolation are highest among Hispanic and Asian children of immigrants. Poverty rates appear to be higher for Hispanic and black children of immigrants, while Hispanic children are by far the most likely to have parents without high school degrees.