The (Im)Migrant Advantage

The (Im)Migrant Advantage

This is exactly what I want to study when I return to graduate school (after paying back Aunt Sallie).

I find the phenomenon of foreign-born (im)migrants performing better than native born Americans fascinating. In high school, those of us who had at least one foreign born parent tended to fill the top 5% of the class and go on to college. Now, as you all know, I have an (im)migrant father and a born and bred American mother (who just got her first passport last year, yea!). To simply say “Americans don’t care about education like we do” is dismissive and high-handed. Quite frankly, many (im)migrants say just that behind closed doors. And, full disclosure, as a teacher I have said it too.

But, I know better. I’ve taught (im)migrants and native-born Americans alike who considered education more priceless than gold. I have to look no further than my own family where both of my parents place an ultimate premium on education.

Yet even though I can see both the (im)migrant experience and the native experience in my daily life, it has still confounded me why (im)migrants tend to do better than the local born. As the opinion piece shows, this gulf is even more pronounced in the region where I’m from (the South) than in the Northeast.

What are your thoughts on the reasons given in the opinion piece? Do you think they’re valid?


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