An American education: refugees and new immigrants face challenges to graduation

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  • Seek to understand Sandy, UT
    Jan. 11, 2013 12:00 p.m.

    I am curious why the author stated that we are often unprepared to serve these students. The article then goes on to describe the amazing, outstanding, varied and numerous programs that are available to serve these students in our public schools, in special schools, after they leave high school (community ed programs, community colleges, etc.), and even in the colleges and universities. Also enumerated are many people committed to helping these immigrant students achieve whatever is possible for them. I would not characterize this as a system "unprepared" to serve them.

    The expectations for graduation are the problem, and need to be addressed in "the system". The principal quoted was wise and professional in his estimation that a great goal for some immigrant students who come late to our system is to learn as much as they can and have a good experience in school. Putting pressure on our high schools to "graduate" immigrants who come late to our system is unwise and will drive our high school graduation expectations downward, and dilute the value of our diplomas.

    There should be no pressure on schools for high graduation rates.

  • peluca salt lake city, UT
    Jan. 10, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    Great article. There is a correction - Valerie Gates has been the ESL coordinator for the school for the past 2 years.

    Jan. 10, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    An interesting new book/ebook by ex-Salt Laker Lance Johnson that helps those coming to the US is "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more.” It has a chapter that explains how to be accepted to an American university and cope with a new culture, including friendship and classroom differences. Endorsed worldwide by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it has chapters on English grammar and speech. Half of our foreign students stay here after graduation. It has four chapters that explain how US businesses operate, a must for those who will work for an American firm. Most struggle in their efforts and need guidance from concerned Americans and books like this to extend a cultural helping hand so we all have a win-win situation.