Putting Immigration & Education in Conversation Everyday: Supporting Immigrant Students in a Changing Policy Environment

How are educators responding to the current immigration policy climate and anti-immigrant discourse to support immigrant students?

Lowenhaupt and her team will partner with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to study how public school teachers, administrators, and staff respond to the challenges their immigrant students face. The research team seeks to better understand the contexts shaping educators’ responses, the types of resources they need to support immigrant students and their families, and promising practices that can foster equitable educational outcomes for immigrant youth. The team will work with the SPLC to refine a survey tool that the SPLC first administered immediately after the 2016 election to assess how educators understand and respond to the current political climate. They will assess the survey’s existing items and constructs, incorporate new relevant domains, and seek input through expert interviews and cognitive interviews with relevant stakeholders. The refined survey will be administered to both a national group of educators and within six case study districts to develop a deeper understanding of how the current immigration context is influencing schools. The research team will conduct data analyses to explore variation by context and better understand organizational influences on educator responses, account for school-level differences within and among districts, and describe the ways that context influences patterns of educator responses. In addition to working with SPLC to draft an initial public report based on descriptive analyses, the team will also write academic publications and develop illustrative case studies to understand patterns of responses in each of the six case study districts.

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