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Network of Schools for New Immigrants Gets 'Integration' Award

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The New York City-based Internationals Network for Public Schools is one of four organizations that will receive an "immigrant integration" award today from the Migration Policy Institute. The institute has established the new E Pluribus Unum prizes, a $50,000 award for each organization selected, to highlight organizations that are doing a good job in helping immigrants adjust to U.S. society.

Interestingly, the Internationals Network for Public Schools supports a group of high schools that enroll only immigrant newcomers, which are sometimes criticized for separating immigrant English-language learners out from native speakers of English. But when I asked a principal of one of these schools, Brooklyn International High School, during a visit in 2007 how she would respond to such criticism, she said the good results of the schools, better graduation rates for ELLs than in New York City's schools overall, speak to their success. The schools do provide students with internships in local businesses and organizations that give them exposure to the wider society.

In addition, I recall interviewing a couple of students at Brooklyn International who said the schools they had attended previously in New York City that had a mix of native speakers of English and ELLs were downright dangerous. They said they were more able to focus on learning in Brooklyn International High School, which was small and enrolled only immigrant students.

Another education group, ADVANCE-El Paso, which provides education for preschoolers and their immigrant parents, is also a recipient of one of the immigrant integration awards.

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That is because of the native English speakers the district was trying to integrate the students into. Have to choose native English speakers that are actually well adjusted and doing well in school in the majority. I have seen that in other urban districts as well. Giving an award for integration seems xenophobic and racist if you ask me. I can imagine the fear of seeing "foreigners" in groups drive them on.

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