In my US history classes this fall, we’ve been exploring the journeys of immigrants who came to these shores early in the 20th century. We have listened to accounts from Ellis Island and examined Emma Lazarus’ inscription on the Statue of Liberty.
On October 3, 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA). Previous immigration policies from the 1920s had set national-origin quotas, which discriminated against immigrants who were not from northern Europe. By abolishing these quotas, the INA contributed to a significant shift in demographics in the United States over the last 52 years.
It is August, a time when, although technically on vacation, many educators in the United States have already turned their attention to their classrooms. Some teachers are buying supplies; others are rewriting lessons and curricula. Most are doing both. A lot of us are thinking about our students and how we can create learning environments that will allow all of them to thrive.
Classrooms are meant to be safe spaces for students to learn new lessons, share their thoughts, and understand the world around them. This can be challenging for new students—particularly those from different countries—but it’s essential to students' academic and personal growth to feel included and valued. Creating a welcoming environment can take a little extra work, but it’s possible and there are small, easy ways to do it.
Every family in the United States originated from somewhere else. From Native Americans who migrated across a land bridge to North America to immigrants who sailed aboard a steamship to Ellis Island, many chose to come to America. Hundreds of thousands of others were brought here against their will aboard slave ships.
This week, President Donald Trump announced several measures to limit immigration to the United States. His administration shared plans to build a wall on the Mexican border and to more aggressively deport undocumented immigrants. He also announced an order barring Syrians and other refugees from entering the country and suspended immigration from seven primarily Muslim nations.
An immigrant from West Africa, Alhassan Susso came from a long lineage of storytellers known as griots. He recently published his first memoir, The Light of Darkness - The Story of the Griots' Son, which traces his journey to America as a nearly blind teenager and the balance of becoming American while maintaining his deep African roots. On Facing Today, he shares how his own cultural perceptions - and the perceptions others had of him - helped him create a classroom of compassion, understanding, and tolerance as an American History Teacher.
Today’s News, Tomorrow’s History is an ongoing series with Listenwise. This series connects Facing History’s themes with today’s current events using public radio to guide and facilitate discussions around the social issues of our time. We will take a look at the presidential election and each candidate’s position on immigration.
Classrooms are meant to be safe spaces for students to learn new lessons, share their thoughts, and understand the world around them. This can be challenging for new students - particularly those from different countries - but it’s essential to students' academic and personal growth to feel included and valued. Creating a welcoming environment can take a little extra work, but it’s possible and there are small, easy ways to do it.
My students are immigrants from over 40 different countries. Often, they have recently arrived to the United States, and are thrust into a new city, a new language, and a new culture. They live with caregivers they either have never met before or haven’t seen in years and live in less than ideal conditions. With this life experience, they bring a worldview that isoften wise beyond their years. Many of them know what it means to be a victim or live under an oppressive regime where they have no voice. And many are taking great risks and experience great loss.