School education is an essential component in any culture, but is vital to achieving success in an adoptive one. School has a cumulative effect on immigrants, affecting many aspects of their lives and affecting them both personally and professionally. A higher level of education often results in a better future. But for an immigrant, education is a tool that is difficult to obtain because of a language barrier and, sometimes, poverty.
"Children from immigrant families will play an important role in the nation’s future," according to "The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration." The site adds that "the Congressional Budget Office reports that the Social Security shortfall will increase if immigration falls below current levels." Younger immigrants often have no recollection of their native countries, and have come to know and accept the United States as their homeland. School education helps these children become independent adults who pay taxes, contribute to the nation’s workforce and, in some cases, even risk their lives to serve in the U.S. military.
A major issue that especially inhibits adult immigrants from furthering their education is the fear of learning a new language or speaking it in public. Low education and deficient language skills will most likely result in low pay and often unsteady jobs. Tackling the language barrier is a first step toward something better. It may lead you to take a couple of courses here and there, and ultimately inspire you to pursue a degree. According to "The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration," immigrants fluent in English earn 17 percent more than their counterparts who are not.
Another major issue preventing many immigrants from striving for education is poverty. In the life of an impoverished immigrant, the struggle to food or shelter often leaves neither the desire nor the opportunity for school education. Although undocumented immigrants have limited opportunities in the United States, there are programs that are especially created for legal immigrants in need of financial help.
The government has several policies aimed at improving education for immigrants. The No Child Left Behind Act, established by Congress in 2002, seeks to improve education for all children, including immigrants. The law's purpose is to significantly increase children's test scores in reading and mathematics by the year 2014. To achieve such success, Congress noted, parents must be involved in their children’s academic affairs, and students must be taught by “highly qualified teachers.”
Education is especially crucial for immigrants and can sometimes be mandatory. To obtain a well-paying job or even get a call back from a prospective employer, it is essential to have a college education. Even many entry-level positions require a bachelor’s degree. An advanced school education reduces the probability of poverty and increases opportunities for immigrants.
Stapha Charleme has been writing professionally since 2008. She was published in New York City's green city guide magazine titled "Our Green Book." Stapha holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Queens College.