Native Flight Essay

1447 Words 6 Pages
In the past three decades, the United States has experienced a fundamental shift in immigration policy, with a rise in the number of new immigrants and major changes in their countries of origin. These immigrants, primarily from Asian and Latin American countries, have a profound impact on the ethnic, racial and immigrant composition of public schools in many major US cities. Immigration induces “native flight,” especially among white natives, from public schools into private schools, thus altering the ethnic, racial and immigrant composition of public schools. The less affluent students of color who remain in the public school system face debilitating repercussions to their livelihoods and quality of life if the number of native born schoolchildren …show more content…
Stronger flight at the high school level is the result of a number of situational differences. Firstly, high schools draw from a number of feeder schools, so that as a native student progresses through public school, his or her contact with immigrants typically increases. Secondly, channeling of LEP students into separate bilingual or immersion classes occurs mainly in elementary schools. The degree of contact between immigrant and native students may rise in high schools as LEP students are mainstreamed into classes with native speakers. Betts and Fairlie’s study also found evidence that “native flight” is a reaction to immigrants who are viewed as particularly alien or unwilling to assimilate. By disaggregating immigrant students who speak a language other than English at home from those who speak English, they found that natives flee from immigrants who speak another language at …show more content…
One hypothesis is that LEP students place additional stress on a school’s resources, which in turn induces “flight.” There is evidence that immigration is associated with a slight decline in educational attainment of natives. This finding points to resource reallocation within schools and universities as a potential consequence of immigration. The second possibility, proposed by Conlon and Kimenyi in their analysis of white families’ school choices, labels “native flight” a reaction borne of irrational racial and ethnic prejudice. The finding that the overall immigrant share affects private school choice at the high school level, where greater socioeconomic mixing occurs, but not at the elementary level, is consistent with the idea of “native flight” as an expression of

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