Unaccompanied Minors in U.S. Schools

Discussion in 'General Education' started by WindyCityGal606, Jul 27, 2014.

  1. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/classrooms-u-prepare-flood-migrants-040100841.html;_ylt=AwrBEiFRgdVTREwAn_XQtDMD


    If this is already on another thread, I apologize for the duplicate topic but I was wondering if anyone has any thought, concerns, hopes, etc... regarding the possibility or reality of having students in your class this fall who have had little to no schooling and come from violent situations in their home countries? It's such a sensitive issue but it is real and it is happening all over the country as it has in other countries all over the world. No longer are people here worried about just their jobs "be taken" by undocumented workers but now, people are concerned over what this will mean in U.S. classrooms.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Schools will find ways to service whatever comes our way. The bigger onus is on our federal government on how to deal with undocumented, illegal immigrants. We need a stronger border policy. And real statesmen with the cojones to design and enforce such policy.:2cents:
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I'd rather have these children in my classroom than being returned to the situation they'd be going back to. The United States has always taken in refugees... "The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me," and it saddens me to think that we might reverse that course now with children.
     
  5. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I understand what you're saying, but, to keep this thread on topic and not start talking about border policy and politicians, what specifically do you think will need to change in the way our classrooms/schools operate? I know at my school, we will need to have staff to handle more of the potential behavior challenges that will come from students who have had little to no formal schooling. Form what I've read, many of the children do not speak Spanish but other Indian languages and it is strictly oral.
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Honestly... we already have kids like these in our schools. I don't believe it will be much of an adjustment. We've already taken in refugees from various African civil wars that are in the same "no formal schooling" boat. To be honest, I'd expect their behaviors, at least initially, to be better than some of those from native citizens.
     
  7. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    Yes, we do take in refugees but only after they have applied and been screened and accepted to a third country via United Nations Refugee policies, from the second country in which they are usually living in a refugee camp for several years. I worry that because these children have crossed into our country illegally, they may face backlash from classmates, families, the community, etc... Schools will need to have counselors ready to handle these possible issues. I can see a whole new wave of prejudice and human rights violations popping up in schools. Even the best of kids are affected by what they hear at home, in the streets, online, on the news, etc... Sensitivity training may be required for staff as well.
     
  8. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Children usually are much more accepting than adults, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. I'd like to hope that ESOL teachers would be accepting of these children too, even if others weren't so much.
     
  9. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    A neighboring district will be having some of these children- fewer than 20- and they are a very large district and probably capable of handling the students. I'm sure the teachers, ESL and otherwise, will be caring and accepting. But it is a big deal in my area where ELLs are counted on one or two hands across an entire district. My district has one dedicated ESL teacher covering several schools. To add 20 here would be major.
     
  10. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

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    I hope if that were the case in my district, the board would allow the hiring of more ELL teachers to accommodate the needs of the students. I wonder how much of this accommodation would fall in the laps of the regular classroom teacher??
     
  11. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    We don't have ESL teachers, so this would be a hardship on our staff and budget.
     
  12. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Schools get a significant amount of federal funding for ELL students.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nothing much needs to change in my school. I'm very hesitant to classify all these kids 'refugees'...that's a term being used politically as well.
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I suspect that that funding isn't flowing to schools that haven't previously had, or haven't anticipated having, ELL students to educate.
     
  15. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    You're probably right that schools don't get federal ELL money if they don't have ELL students, but I also suspect that money would be legally required to start flowing towards those schools if these children started ending up in those districts though. There's legal precedent involved, and federal law. If these children end up in schools, then they will get FAPE.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

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    I'm in high school. I have had a little experience with students that have no English skills and gaps in education.

    Typically such students do not stay in school. The school spends tons of time, money and energy in order to help these students and they stay until they are old enough to drop out. The deficit is too big for them.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    In more ways than this.
     
  18. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

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    In my experience teaching, I found that the kids of immigrants (and ELL students) were very well behaved--often times the best behaved. This is because the parents ingrained in them that they are in America to get an education so they can have a better life. Not much different than when my great grandparents came from Italy and put the same values in my grandparents, etc.
     
  19. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I'm aware that there's legal precedent and federal law, and in many jurisdictions state law as well, but I see no reason to ignore the twin facts that (a) it can take time for the various administrative, logistical, and other hoops to be cleared to start that money flowing, and (b) in the meantime, in today's economy, not every school or district has deep enough pockets to screen and hire staff with appropriate ESL authorizations right now and worry about how to pay for 'em later. In other words, surely one can spare a thought for schools like mrachelle's that may be scrambling desperately to cover their bases here.

    People, please don't read this to mean that I'm in favor of booting these refugee kids back across the border. I'm not. But that doesn't require me, and it shouldn't require us, to dismiss the concerns in places that are facing these practical concerns for what sounds like the first time. We've all been green, nervous newbies, no?
     
  20. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    I just completed my MEd. in TESL here in NJ, and it was through a federal grant funded program that made it almost impossible to turn down. Where I teach, more students are ELLs than most people would think. If an ELL has an IEP and a behavioral or emotional disability, that will take precedent over the whole ELL issue. Texas has dealt with this issue by paying most of the tuition for an online course that somehow amounts to an ESL endorsement in about 10 weeks, while my endorsement required 15 graduate credits. Obviously, the two programs are not the same, but Texas has as high as 60% ELLs in some districts, so they are using the shot-gun approach to make sure the teachers have some education on what it means to be ELL. This past semester I had a student who was born in this country, but had no written literacy in the L1 or the L2 until the age of 9. That student had virtually no chance of catching up to a native speaker attending school from PreK and beyond, since ELLs can take more than seven years to catch up, in great situations. Students coming from violence do not have to be from a foreign country, trust me. We have students trying to cope with assault, abandonment, extreme poverty and homelessness, and the emotional toll that all of those things can bring with them. Yes, bring them into school. Teachers, learn to deal. Districts will eventually catch up, and those students are safer in our districts than on the street or on their own. If you have the chance to learn more about ESL programs, please let me encourage you to do precisely that. You don't have to be certified ESL to develop and empathy and connection to these students. Want them, encourage them, make them feel needed and safe. I don't know very many teachers who can't manage that. I don't think that we need to be prepared to distrust and revile them before we have even given them a chance, and that seems to be the undercurrent of this thread, IMHO. I hope I am wrong about that. Welcome them all, and know that none of the students on your rosters will come with any guarantees.
     
  21. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Most of it would in CA. There aren't really a lot of ELL teachers in CA, except maybe in high school or districts with low numbers of ELLs. Classroom teachers instruct everyone.

    My heart breaks for these kids, but then I see they're in LA in huge numbers and I think of all LA is already dealing with...I'm too far north for it to likely affect me personally, but it's a frustrating situation all the way around. I know educators will do what they can, though.
     
  22. gr3teacher

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    I think there are a few set checkpoints where schools can get additional state funding based on their students though. I'm not familiar with the particulars of the law, but from my understanding of the law, a district like mrachelle's would only be up the creek without a paddle for about a month, and then for however long it took to formally fill the position.

    I think that as much as possible, these children are being put with family members. At the risk of stereotyping, I'm guessing most of those family members live in districts that already have ELL staffing. I doubt many of these children will end up in rural schools.
     
  23. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    lynettstoy, that's like how here in Virginia, a certified teacher can get an added SPED certificate by taking just one class. I like the idea of more teachers having SPED certification (and ELL certification)... but one class...
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Let me differ gently with yellowdaisies: every California teaching credential that's been issued since at least 2003 has included an endorsement or authorization to teach English learners. Credential programs include cultural, linguistics, and academic diversity coursework, and those whose credentials predate this coursework are expected either to pass an exam that covers the content or to take the coursework. On balance, I think this requirement is simply prudent.
     
  25. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Actually, some refugees, say from Korea, do go to rural districts, because they are traditionally farmers. However, when they go to an area where there is already a population of ethnically similar people, they fare better and have better support systems in place.
     
  26. Linguist92021

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    I think these schools should (and probably will) open up classrooms just for these students, and hire a teacher to teach them self contained. In California I haven't heard of ESL teachers, as TG said everyone must have the ELL authorization.

    It's been done in San Diego. I student taught in a classroom like this, it was a class for refugee Iraqi students, who escaped persecution for being Christian, and have experienced a LOT of violence and tragedy. These kids are called 'newcomers' (having been in the country for less than 2 years), and a lot of schools in certain parts of the city have several classrooms like this.

    Obviously mainstreaming is not helpful, these kids have to be dealt with differently, especially if they have gaps in schooling and illiterate.
     
  27. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Very true ... especially when they first get here. Before our kids rub off on them.
     
  28. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I think it's because the first stage of language acquisition is the 'silent phase', this is when they don't speak yet, but they're taking in all that they can, they process it and then start talking. The Iraqi refugee kids, although I just loved them and adored them, were very difficult and many experienced teachers didn't know how to truly handle them or reach them.
     
  29. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Thank you! I should have clarified. :blush:

    I find it interesting reading about other states with self-contained classes for ELLs. That's such a foreign concept to me.
     
  30. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Wow, that is truly fascinating. I had no idea there was a population like this in San Diego.
     
  31. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    We used to have a "newcomer" school in my district a few years ago for students who were from Laos.
     

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