The Annie E. Casey Foundation recently released a study of academic achievement of children. The Census Bureau data used in the report covered the period 2013-2015 and separated performance by race/ethnic group for several factors including 4th graders’ proficiency in reading and 8th graders’ proficiency in math.
The result according to the report is that children of immigrants are lagging educationally, and more must be done to improve their performance. There is, of course, another way of looking at the report’s findings. Excessive immigration, which diminishes assimilation, adversely burdens schools, degrades learning opportunities for other students and is a financial burden on the communities in which they reside.
That perspective raises the question as to whether the burden can be lessened other than by investing more in the education of those children, which most school districts lack the capacity to do in any event. In that regard, it should be recognized that many of those children of foreign-born parents entered the country illegally and many others arrived as part of a family that was not selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement or the likelihood of being self-supporting.
If the principles for immigration reform recently released by the White House were enacted, there would be a significant future benefit in reducing the problem of under-performing children in school by curtailing illegal entry and restructuring legal immigration to emphasize achievement-based selection rather than family-based selection.
Some of the results reported in the study are the following:
4th grade reading proficiency (FB includes foreign-born children and children of foreign-born; NB native-born)
Black: NB = 18%; FB = 7%
Asian & Pacific Islanders: NB = 62%: FB = 19%
8th grade math proficiency:
Black: NB = 12%; FB = 2%
Asian & Pacific Islanders: NB = 64%: FB = 17%
Latino: NB = 23%; FB = 3%
White: NB = 42%; FB = 11%