Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Start School in Maryland
Updated: Monday, August 25 2014, 06:48 PM EDT
Maryland ranks sixth in the nation for having the highest number of unaccompanied children from Central America. In July alone almost 600 children arrived in the state. Many of those are now preparing to start school, in the Maryland public school system.
Under federal law, school districts are obligated to provide children regardless of the immigration status access to a public education and that includes unaccompanied immigrant children.
Kelly Reider is the coordinator of English language acquisition and international student services at Anne Arundel County Public Schools. Rieder says in AACO the school likely impacted the most by unaccompanied children so far is Annapolis High School.
"They may have gone to only 2nd or 3rd grade and have limited literacy in English as their first language -- that does create a difference in the kind of teacher impact on the school compared to our traditional immigrant families," Reider said.
While county schools requested 20 additional teachers to teach English as a second language only seven of the positions were funded. Reider estimates there is one teacher for every 30 international middle and high school-ers and one for every 40 elementary students.
Based on what the school system is already seeing in Anne Arundel County, they expect this school year will break records in the number of unaccompanied children they register.