The impact of alien immigration on public policy and educational services on selected districts in the Texas educational system



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This study addressed several important issues which have directly affected American society. Primarily, it showed the degree of impact alien immigration is having on the Texas educational system. Secondly, the study made recommendations on public policy that have implications in the educational field. The study focused on the following questions: What have been some of the consequences of immigration on school funding, school personnel, and school facilities? How have school systems responded to these problems? The study also explored the whole issue of illegal immigration and public policy ramifications. It generated new data which should prove useful to educators and others who are concerned with initiating public policy which will address this issue. The study included the following objectives: To assess the current situation in regard to the education of alien children in the state of Texas. To identify specific problems which Texas school districts are encountering because of the influx of students migrating into Texas. To suggest policy change and recommendations in regard to the education of newly arrived immigrant students. To identify future areas of research. A questionnaire was developed and utilized to determine the number of immigrant/alien students and their impact on selected Texas school districts. Special emphasis was placed on data which focused on the educational aspects of alien immigration in Texas. Both structured and open-ended items were used in the questionnaire. Structured items were statistically analyzed through ESC Region IV computer facilities and open-ended responses were hand processed. Of the 200 questionnaires mailed out, 129 were returned and analyzed. Ninety were from the border area school districts and 39 were from the nonborder school districts. In addition all data gathered through the Immigration and Public Policy Seminars and Symposium sponsored by the Chicano Training Center throughout the state of Texas was available to the researcher for analysis. A summary of the most significant findings are listed below: As expected, border school districts are most impacted by the enrollment of immigrant/alien students. Most immigrant/alien students are between 6-8 years of age and enrolled in grades 1-3. The impact of the enrollment of immigrant/alien students is felt in the lack of building and classroom space in the border areas and through inadequate curriculum materials in the nonborder areas. Most immigrant/alien students were enrolled in bilingual programs, remedial reading, and ESL programs. Respondents also felt that staff development was needed in these areas for teachers involved with immigrant/alien students. Most respondents agreed that schools should provide educational resources for immigrant/alien students, and at the same time felt that the federal government should provide special resources for school districts having large immigrant/alien enrollments. Most respondents agreed that the enrollment of immigrant/alien students in Texas school districts would be a continuing concern. A summary of the most important recommendations are listed below: Federal and state governments should enact legislation which provides financial assistance to affected school districts. This should be done in the most expeditious manner as the problem is severe and will increase in the future. It is recommended that the state set aside special funds for constructing facilities in school districts experiencing large enrollments of immigrant/alien students. It is recommended that residency and tuition requirements be clearly specified in order to aid school officials in determining who is eligible to attend Texas schools. It is recommended that the Texas Education Agency continue their yearly immigrant/alien student surveys and that local school districts conduct in-depth studies on the impact of immigrant/alien students.