National immigration policy, local high school students

photo by Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group

A story in the Oakland Tribune by my colleague Matt O’Brien examined how the federal “deferred action for childhood arrivals” immigration policy might provide added inspiration to some students to graduate from high school and go to college.

The program, announced in June, offers temporary deportation relief for those brought to the country illegally when they were children as long as they were under 31 on June 15 and have met certain educational (and other) requirements.

According to the Migration Policy Institute, 20 percent of young immigrants who met the other criteria won’t be able to benefit because they don’t have a high school diploma or GED and they’re not in school. I wonder if that figure is even higher in Oakland, where the four-year high school graduation rate is only 59 percent.

To help Matt with some of the reporting, I spoke with Vidal Gonzalez, who mentors a mostly Latino group of students from Oakland’s Fremont High, and Sandra Muniz, a high school senior who was born in Oakland, but has friends who could benefit from the policy.

Sandra’s quote didn’t make it into the piece, but she said she felt that immigration status was a major factor in students’ academic drive, or lack thereof. “Many students do not have the motivation because they believe, `Oh, I’m an immigrant child so there’s no future for me,'” she said.

She and Gonzalez felt that the policy provided students — called  “dreamers” by proponents of the Dream Act — more inspiration to do well.

Do you agree? I know it’s early, but have you seen or experienced a difference?

My colleague Theresa Harrington interviewed someone in Contra Costa County about the spike in GED enrollment. Anyone know what’s available to people in Oakland now that adult education has been dismantled?

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • IntrepidTeacher

    Oakland Adult Education is downsized but still exists, primarily in the form of GED classes and high school diploma classes, as well as just a handful of family literacy classes.

    Beyond Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda and Hayward all still offer adult level GED and high school diploma classes, as well as adult ESL.

  • Patricia Jensen

    If you go to the OUSD ” Oakland Adult and Career Education webpage” (http://oaceonline.org/), you’ll find a few GED, Career Tech, and Family Literacy classes. There are no high school diploma classes. Information on the web page is available in Spanish and English.

  • Katy Murphy

    Thanks, Patricia. That was my recollection, that diploma classes were no longer offered. Here’s a flier about GED classes and orientation dates in Oakland: http://ousdhs.ousd.k12.ca.us/202520215171316710/lib/202520215171316710/WEB_GED_Preparation_8.21.12.pdf

  • Nontcair

    Illegal immigration is not a hot-button issue for me.

    Nevertheless, the last thing we want are people coming here to take advantage of all of our free this’-&-thats.

    No more welfare magnets!

    Illegal and legal immigrants should have to pay high user fees to access California’s very expensive public education system. My goodness! We already charge out-of-staters higher tuition to enroll in UC.

    All kids enrolled in OUSD should to pay up; their sponsors can dropoff a check on registration day.

    Non-residents should have to pay FULL FEE. $15,000 per year per kid sounds about right.

  • Nontcair

    Unions traditionally support the Democratic Party.

    Private sector unions tend to oppose liberal immigration policies which increase the supply of non-union labor eager to underbid them. From the UAW: .. existing employment programs for foreign workers are inflexible, burdensome and inefficient. They fail to protect the wages and working conditions of .. those who have to compete with them for employment.

    The public education unions see immigrants as warm bodies which generate per-pupil funding.

    Two members of the Democrat coalition at odds with each other.

    Public policy favors the *teachers*.

    The education union dominates the Democratic Party.

  • Nextset

    Nontclair is right. It’s a form of sedition to provide services to invaders to encourage them to stay and others to invade – children included.

    All education and health care for the foreign nationals are their problem and perhaps the problem of their nations, not ours.

    It is appropriate to require proof of nationality for enrollment or re-enrollment in any state school including K-12. Invaders should be forthwith arrested and deported including their children, with the escape clauses of service in the armed forces – perhaps service of even just a child or sibling.

    Or you just don’t have any borders at all.

    The swamping of CA and the USA with 3rd world invaders is the death knell (literally in some cities) for the blacks and the lower classes whose potential jobs they first take, then move up the ladder. It is no accident that the national government has decided to replace the people with new people more to their liking and ability to control.

    And it is the wrong thing to do to a nation.

    Brave New World.

  • http://www.ousdace.org Christian Nelson

    Hi Katy,

    I am the administrator overseeing the Adult and Career Education Department for OUSD which includes GED and Career Technical Education. We just began GED classes on September 4th. We offer GED classes in all parts of Oakland.

    In regards to young immigrants seeking GED’s, we have seen about 15 people who meet this profile. We are currently getting about 30 inquiry phone calls a day about this as well. Information is provided in English and Spanish. Our classes are almost at capacity but we are still signing students up for orientation. Orientations are held every two weeks. For more information call(510) 273-2310 or check our website for updates.

  • Katy Murphy

    Thanks for the information, Christian! I posted a link yesterday with the orientation schedule.

  • Nontcair

    It is disgusting to see the Democrats playing politics with a vulnerable (immigrant) population.

    Once again we see a public policy — in this case, immigration — being manipulated by the special interests for their own benefit.

    I’m reminded of that dire warning spoken by Quintus Arrius in the epic picture Ben Hur:

    “We keep you alive to serve this ship. So row well, and live.”

    For that matter I don’t like it when those warmongering Republicans try to use immigration policy as a vehicle to staff US overseas military expeditions. You know, like Brave New #6 who wants to award rights of citizenship to newcomers who sign up for the US Armed Forces.