In 2007 and 2008, Citizens League study committees put together findings, conclusions, and recommendations to reduce the barriers to education for immigrant students.These are available in a report released January 2009. These recommendations helped shape the eventual passage of the 2013 Minnesota Dream Act.
Why is this issue important?
Minnesota’s workforce is shrinking relative to the size of its population — the number of college graduates retiring from the workforce is increasing as members of the baby boom generation begin to retire. At the same time, the number of high school graduates is declining sharply.
The number of students from immigrant families, however, is growing. The number of Hispanic high school graduates alone is projected to increase by 173% between 2003 and 2013.
In order to meet our future workforce demands, Minnesota needs to ensure that more immigrant students complete higher education.
Beyond the economic arguments, there is also a compelling moral imperative to ensure that immigrant students are prepared to be successful in higher education. Schools have always served as an introduction to American culture and citizenship for new immigrants, and one of the fundamental roles of public education is to develop students’ civic capacity. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are prepared to serve all students, including immigrant students.
In addition, we have a particular responsibility to refugees, who make up a significant proportion of Minnesota’s immigrant population, and who are often resettled in Minnesota with little say in the matter.
What should be done?
The Citizens League has identified conclusions and recommendations in four key areas: access to information, cost, culture, and language preparation. Click on the issue briefs below for more information.
- Educating Minnesota’s Immigrant Students, the report of the immigration and higher education study committees
The following issue briefs summarize key sections of the report (pdfs)