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Opinion: 'Immigrant Children Are Not on Anybody's Agenda'


Ruby Takanishi, co-editor of a new book titled Immigration, Diversity, and Education, tells New America Media that in the Obama administration, "immigrant children are not on anybody's agenda, except in a negative way."

Takanishi said she hasn't seen the needs of immigrant children discussed much in education initiatives presented by the administration, including Race to the Top funds from the federal stimulus package.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other federal officials have not highlighted the needs of English-language learners since President Obama took office. I can think of only one exception, which I blogged about earlier this week. One of three meetings that the federal government is hosting for public input about the distribution of $350 million in Race to the Top assessment funds will examine how to accurately measure the content knowledge of ELLs.

That's the only public meeting focused on ELLs that I've heard about under the administration. I'm not counting meetings that examined the needs of Latino students, where issues about ELLs may also have been mentioned.


I am working toward a certificate in teaching ESL. From my readings thus far, it seems to me that we spend more time assessing our programs than in funding professional development and other physical needs that would actually benefit the students.

Yes, important to think about language learning but also immigrant children's social / emotional needs which are even less discussed...

And what about the needs of 'native' children who MUST learn to (and bother to) successfully interface with their peers who did not happen to be born on US soil.

This is not just a 'problem' facing immigrant kids & families - US-born folks have to do their fair share of the work also!

They certainly aren't and if it is difficult for most ESOL students, it is even more difficult for SIFE students who many see as interfering on progress in increasing test scores on standardized tests.
Doesn't anyone see how corporations are taking advantage of this promotion of standardized tests? The Washington Post, a great promoter of standards and standardized tests had their profits raised 65% in the last quarter due to their ownership of Kaplan Learning Centers where people pay enormous amounts of money to prepare their children for standardized tests. The education of Americans is being ripped off for corporate profits.

Mary Ann, I wonder if you have a way to post a glossary to your web site. I know that ELL is English Language Learners, and ESL is English as a Second Language, but is that the same as ESOL mentioned by Lynn E, and I can't figure out what SIFE might be. I enjoy following the issues and discussions, but since I don't work directly in this area, I don't know all the acronyms.


SIFE=Students with Interrupted Formal Education

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