Wednesday, October 21, 2015

ED Gives Districts Guidance On Supporting Undocumented Students.

Corey Mitchell writes at the Education Week (10/21) “Learning the Language” blog that ED has released “the first in a set of resource guides designed to help school officials support undocumented immigrant students.” The guidance lays out undocumented high school and college students’ rights and explains “resources about federal and private financial aid available to them.” ED plans to release “a resource guide for preschool and elementary school settings in the coming month.” The article quotes incoming Education Secretary John B. King Jr. saying, “Our nation’s public schools should be welcoming, safe, and supportive places where all students ... are given the opportunity to succeed. We know undocumented youth face unique challenges and we also know that educators and other caring adults in schools and colleges can play a major role in helping all students, including undocumented students, to achieve at the highest levels.”
        NBC News (10/21) reports online that the guide is intended to “help undocumented students and educators ensure that young people are on a path to academic success regardless of their immigration status.” The document includes instructions for educators to “know how they can better support undocumented students, including recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.”
        The Washington Times (10/21, Dinan) reports that in an effort to “push illegal immigrant students to enroll in high school and college,” the Administration announced “a list of rights...they said illegal immigrants are entitled to, and offering tips on how the students can apply for scholarships or financial aid.” The Times says the “63-page handbook” from the Education Department, “warned against asking students’ legal status” and encouraged schools to “challenge leaders in states ‘with exclusionary or less inclusive policies.’” The Times says the guidance is “the latest step in President Obama’s push to try to mainstream illegal immigrants as much as possible, despite laws that still outlaw their presence in the country.” The Times notes that in “a separate letter to state officials,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan “said he’d been getting requests from school leaders asking how to assist illegal immigrants” and “the guidance is a response to that.”
        US News & World Report (10/20) reports that the guidance is intended to help districts “integrate into their public school systems students who have streamed into the U.S. without legal permission from Central America and elsewhere.” The guidance comes as state legislatures across the country have consider “legislation that would make it more difficult for students in the country illegally to attend school.” In a letter to states accompanying the guidance, Education Secretary Arne Duncan “underscored that under the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe, states and school districts are obligated by federal law to provide all children – with or without legal status – with equal access to basic public education.” The piece quotes Duncan saying, “As a nation of immigrants, America has benefited from the vitality and enthusiasm brought to its shores by those seeking a better life – and education is a key pathway to success for many new Americans.” The Washington Examiner (10/21) reports

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