The Children of Immigrants at School

The Children of Immigrants at School: A Comparative Look at Integration in the United States and Western Europe

Richard Alba
Jennifer Holdaway
Copyright Date: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 350
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  • Book Info
    The Children of Immigrants at School
    Book Description:

    The Children of Immigrants at Schoolexplores the 21st-century consequences of immigration through an examination of how the so-called second generation is faring educationally in six countries: France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United States. In this insightful volume, Richard Alba and Jennifer Holdaway bring together a team of renowned social science researchers from around the globe to compare the educational achievements of children from low-status immigrant groups to those of mainstream populations in these countries, asking what we can learn from one system that can be usefully applied in another.Working from the results of a five-year, multi-national study, the contributors toThe Children of Immigrants at Schoolultimately conclude that educational processes do, in fact, play a part in creating unequal status for immigrant groups in these societies. In most countries, the youth coming from the most numerous immigrant populations lag substantially behind their mainstream peers, implying that they will not be able to integrate economically and civically as traditional mainstream populations shrink. Despite this fact, the comparisons highlight features of each system that hinder the educational advance of immigrant-origin children, allowing the contributors to identify a number of policy solutions to help fix the problem. A comprehensive look at a growing global issue,The Children of Immigrants at Schoolrepresents a major achievement in the fields of education and immigration studies. Richard Alba is Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the City University of New York's Graduate Center. His publications include Remaking the American Mainstream (with Victor Nee) and Blurring the Color Line Jennifer Holdaway is a Program Director at the Social Science Research Council, where her work has focused on migration and its interaction with processes of social change and stratification.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-2435-4
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
    Richard Alba, Jennifer Holdaway and Josh DeWind
  4. CHAPTER ONE The Integration Imperative: Introduction
    (pp. 1-38)
    Richard Alba and Jennifer Holdaway

    Immigration is challenging the societies of North America and Western Europe in ways that could not have been anticipated several decades ago. The wealthy societies of the West have welcomed immigrants at key moments since the mid-twentieth century; and everywhere, immigration has been associated with increasing ethnic, racial, and religious diversity (Castles and Miller 2009). In societies such as Germany or Sweden, which previously thought of themselves as homogeneous, this diversity is a novel fact that they still struggle to absorb. In countries such as the United States, where immigration was already a part of the national story, ever-rising levels...

  5. CHAPTER TWO Educating the Children of Immigrants in Old and New Amsterdam
    (pp. 39-83)
    Maurice Crul, Jennifer Holdaway, Helga A.G. de Valk, Norma Fuentes and Mayida Zaal

    Because many migrants to the United States and Europe have limited formal education, school systems are challenged to avoid the reproduction of inequality in the second generation and to enable the children of immigrants to enjoy the opportunities available to their native-born peers. This study assesses how well two school systems meet this challenge by considering the experience of second-generation Moroccans in Amsterdam and Dominicans in New York City (originally known as New Amsterdam)—two groups that differ in terms of ethnicity and religion, but who share a similar socioeconomic position. The parents in both cases are predominantly low-wage labor...

  6. CHAPTER THREE Different Systems, Similar Results: Youth of Immigrant Origin at School in California and Catalonia
    (pp. 84-119)
    Margaret Gibson, Silvia Carrasco, Jordi Pàmies, Maribel Ponferrada and Anne Ríos-Rojas

    The United States and Spain have very different immigration histories as well as education systems and policies, yet there are many similarities in the school experiences of students from immigrant families. Despite official goals to include youth of immigrant origin socially and academically, both systems operate in ways that deny these youth equal educational opportunities. In both countries serious disparities exist in academic achievement between native middle-class students and students from the largest immigrant groups, i.e., children of Mexican descent in the United States and children of Moroccan and Latin American descent in Spain.¹ Although differing in their structures, policies,...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR Second-Generation Attainment and Inequality: Primary and Secondary Effects on Educational Outcomes in Britain and the United States
    (pp. 120-159)
    Mary C. Waters, Anthony Heath, Van C. Tran and Vikki Boliver

    The children of immigrants whose parents have low levels of education face a daunting task. In a time of growing inequality, postsecondary education holds the key not only to a better job, but to a host of other desirable outcomes, including better health, a more stable family life, and better overall happiness (Hout 2012). Yet children whose parents do not have a postsecondary education are at a disadvantage in accessing higher education. An immigrant background adds a host of other impediments, including the learning of a new language, the possibility that some students began their educations in a different educational...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE How Similar Educational Inequalities Are Constructed in Two Different Systems, France and the United States: Why They Lead to Disparate Labor-Market Outcomes
    (pp. 160-203)
    Richard Alba, Roxane Silberman, Dalia Abdelhady, Yaël Brinbaum and Amy Lutz

    The France-United States comparison is intriguing because of the complex profile of similarities and differences it involves. In terms of incorporation regimes, these two countries are generally viewed as positioned toward the assimilationist end of the spectrum because their citizenship rules allow relatively easy access by immigrants and, based on the jus soli principle, grant citizenship automatically (or, in the French case, quasi-automatically) to immigrants’ children who are born on the national territory (Weil 2002). Both countries also encourage assimilation to the mainstream, though both are largely tolerant of cultural difference.

    Yet there is little doubt that major inequalities along...

  9. CHAPTER SIX Promising Practices: Preparing Children of Immigrants in New York and Sweden
    (pp. 204-252)
    Carola Suárez-Orozco, Margary Martin, Mikael Alexandersson, L. Janelle Dance and Johannes Lunneblad

    Immigrant-origin students bring to schools a variety of academic and linguistic challenges. Many of the schools that receive them provide far from optimal educational opportunities (Ruiz-de-Velasco and Fix 2001; Suárez-Orozco, Suárez-Orozco, and Todorova 2008; Valenzuela 1999). While it is not a challenge to critique the myriad of ways that schools fail to meet the needs of these students, it is decidedly more difficult to identify promising practices that serve them well (Lucas 1997; Walqui 2000). Although most studies focus upon the hidden curricula and agendas in schools that serve to marginalize students (Apple 2004a; Bowles and Gintis 1976, 2002; Loewen...

  10. CHAPTER SEVEN The Children of Immigrants at School: Conclusions and Recommendations
    (pp. 253-280)
    Richard Alba and Jennifer Holdaway

    In what follows, we outline the main conclusions and recommendations that we have drawn from our investigation over a four-year period of how receiving-society educational systems and processes impact on the children of immigrants. It must be noted at the outset that our research was not designed to test policies affecting the educational opportunities of the children of immigrants. Consequently, our recommendations should be understood as inferences about the amelioration of existing inequalities that we have drawn from observations concerning the impacts of current school systems on the children coming from immigrant homes. Our focus remains on children who face...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 281-314)
  12. Contributors
    (pp. 315-318)
  13. Index
    (pp. 319-340)