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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Survey: Immigrant students feel invisible to teachers and peers

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Friday, November 17, 2023   

A new survey found immigrant students need better help in school.

The YouthTruth, Re-Imagining Migration survey was designed to examine the perspective of immigrant students as to how they are doing in school. The survey showed immigrant students do not feel they can be themselves there. There were also middling scores when asked if they feel like part of their school's community.

Adam Strom, executive director of the nonprofit Re-Imagining Migration, described the importance of an immigrant student's native language to their education.

"If you're in a school where folks are encouraging you to speak your own home language when appropriate, your school experience is much better," Strom asserted. "You have a much stronger sense of belonging. You have a much stronger sense that your peers like you. You see yourself in textbooks more, you see yourself in the classroom more and what's being taught."

He noted if schools take the opposite approach, it can increase a students' sense of isolation. While there has been more attention paid to immigrant student's mental health, cultural and attitudinal barriers like stigma were a factor. Strom argued schools being more inclusive of immigrant students and their families can improve their education.

Though there are ways to ensure immigrant students feel included, there are some challenges to making the strategies work. Along with anti-immigrant sentiments flooding the country, teacher shortages mean educators cannot be one-on-one with their students.

Jimmy Simpson Jr., director of partnerships for YouthTruth, said another factor is immigrant students are more than immigrants.

"Thinking that there are migrant students also part of the LGBTQ community, Black immigrant students or brown, BIPOC immigrant students," Simpson outlined. "They have very different types of experiences than a migrant student who may be white."

Simpson added seeing people beyond just being immigrants goes a long way to creating a welcoming environment for immigrant students in schools.

Disclosure: YouthTruth contributes to our fund for reporting on Education, Philanthropy, and Youth Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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