New Report by Asst. Professor Jennifer Adair Discusses Impact of Discrimination on the Immigrant Child's Schooling


A new report from the Migration Policy Institute’s National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy, The Impact of Discrimination on the Early Schooling Experiences of Children from Immigrant Families, maps the types of discrimination young children of immigrants may experience at school, as well as the consequences for children, families, and schools. 

“What children intuit about their identity, abilities, and capacity to learn at this age stays with them their whole lives,” writes author Jennifer Keys Adair, Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Austin. “If people around children communicate distaste for their appearance, language, or cultural values, children internalize negative views of themselves.” 

As the report documents, these experiences of discrimination include more overt, personal discrimination in the form of negative interactions with school staff and peers about children’s accents and appearances, low educational expectations, and devaluation of children’s bilingualism and home-language skills. Children also experience structural discrimination in the form of school segregation, lack of resources and highly skilled teachers in high-poverty areas, and low levels of parent engagement. 

The report outlines potential interventions that educators can take to address discrimination faced by young children of immigrants, among them replacing a colorblind approach in the classroom with one that accepts differences without judging those differences. Other interventions must be tackled through broader institutional changes, by offering young students curricula including dynamic, cooperative learning experiences and providing teachers with the rigorous training they need to connect in a meaningful way with immigrant communities. 

Read the report online here.

The report is the second in a series, supported through a grant from the Foundation for Child Development, examining the effects of discrimination on developmental outcomes for young children of immigrants in the United States. The first report, The Educational, Psychological, and Social Impact of Discrimination on the Immigrant Child, focuses on incidents of personal discrimination, as perceived by the child, that have identifiable repercussions. 

The series will conclude with a webinar Friday, September 11, marking the release of the final report examining the economic, social, and health effects of discrimination on Latino immigrant families. Report authors will discuss the findings from all three reports, as well as a proposed agenda for future research. For more details or to sign up for the webinar, click here


(From Migration Policy Institute.)

Last updated on September 11, 2015