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Report Says Many Immigrant Children Miss Out On School

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Aired 4/19/09

A new report finds a growing number of immigrant youth in California are not getting any kind of education or schooling. KPBS reporter Ana Tintocalis has more.

The report indicates a quarter of a million young immigrants have never attended school or they dropped out. Researchers say there will be more poor families and fewer educated workers in California's future.

In San Diego County, most young immigrants come from Mexico and Central America. Patricia Wilcox heads up a program that educates young migrant workers. She says some don't go to school because of their undocumented status.

Wilcox : That might be a fear for them -- is ‘who's going to look at my status, and should I expose myself?’ And also they're kids. They don't think they need help right now. They just came to get money.   

Researchers say the young people also give up because of poor English skills and pressure to work instead of going to school. The study says policymakers need to look beyond traditional schools and teaching methods for this particular population.

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.

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