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California Teacher Argues for Undocumented Students' Place in the Classroom

California Teacher Argues For Undocumented Students' Place in the Classroom

In California, the state with the highest number of illegal immigrants, a teacher touts the necessity of teaching undocumented students in his classroom and across the nation.

Andrew Simmons teaches in a Bay Area public high school and claims he teaches many undocumented students. But that doesn't affect or hinder his teaching at all, because in his opinion "good educators teach the kids who show up—regardless of their behavior, academic skills, or language proficiencies. And regardless of whether they're in the country legally or not," according to a recent article in the The Atlantic.

Simmons believes that its for the benefit of not only the undocumented students, but for the classroom in general, to have them in class. Since undocumented students often come from varied backgrounds and possess myriad unique experiences from his or her home country, each one brings something different to the classroom discussion.

"Classrooms can be forums for the honest, uncomfortable, revealing conversations adults don’t make enough time for in their public lives. Every student has important insights to share. But undocumented immigrants tend to be more recent arrivals, and when they’re encouraged, may be less likely to toe the party line in classroom discussions that, with their presence and participation, often become more relevant and engaging," he said, according to the article.

And from Simmon's personal experiences as an educator, he finds that his undocumented students are typically some of his most hard-working students.

"When I consider the values that many Americans like to associate with this country—sacrifice, duty, reinvention, ingenuity, and possibility—the undocumented students I have taught seem exceptionally 'American.' Kids who have crawled under barbed wire and shared one-bedroom apartments with a dozen extended family members understand hardship. I have heard them applaud their parents’ sacrifices with a conviction that many of other students don’t demonstrate," he said.

Simmons hopes that by being more welcoming to undocumented students everywhere, not only will they reap the benefits of a proper education, but their American-born peers will receive a perspective they otherwise would have missed.

Read the article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

4/16/2015

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