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Schools Still Waiting For New Immigrant Students

Updated: Tuesday, August 19 2014, 03:24 PM CDT

From October to July, 63,000 unaccompanied children entered the U.S. illegally.  But that doesn't mean 63,000 additional children will be enrolling in school this fall.  

Linda Bridges, president of AFT Texas explains, "Schools will only serving the students who have released to family members or who may be placed into foster care which I think will be a small percentage of the overall number of students that have come across the border."

We checked with the major local school districts and none expects a concentration of Central American children to land on their doorstep.  And here in Austin, AISD is already equipped to accommodate any Spanish speaking students because of widespread bilingual and dual language programs.

The Austin Independent School District has programs that make sure new English Language Learners become proficient in English.  But for school districts without those kinds of programs, State Education Commissioner Michael Williams sent out a letter this week explaining what resources they can count on to finance their efforts.  

Gene Acuna, spokesman for the Texas Education Agency says, "If it becomes too much that's when we'll start alerting the federal government as to the pressure being put on our school districts and see if we can get additional funding at that point."

Teacher groups say the state should be working to increase the number of bilingual educators anyway.  Bridges says, "The bottom line is there aren't enough bilingual teachers."

By Fred Cantu

Schools Still Waiting For New Immigrant Students


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