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Humanitarianism and Mass MigrationConfronting the World Crisis$
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Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780520297128

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520297128.001.0001

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From the Crisis of Connection to the Pursuit of our Common Humanity

From the Crisis of Connection to the Pursuit of our Common Humanity

The Role of Schools in Responding to the Needs of Immigrant and Refugee Children

Chapter:
(p.291) 14 From the Crisis of Connection to the Pursuit of our Common Humanity
Source:
Humanitarianism and Mass Migration
Author(s):

Pedro A. Noguera

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520297128.003.0015

This paper explores the “crisis of connection” and the way in which the “empathy gap” has become manifest in the treatment of refugee children in schools, and in modern society generally.  Despite the fact that schools in the US have historically played a central role in integrating new immigrants into American society, they are increasingly ill equipped and unprepared to respond adequately to the needs of the new wave of refugees and unaccompanied minors. Moreover, with growing hostility toward immigrants expressed by politicians, civic groups and the media, public willingness to assist schools in serving the newly arrived has eroded. This paper examines the role of schools in overcoming the crisis of connection by drawing attention to schools and districts that have responded with compassion, empathy and a willingness to develop creative solutions to address the critical needs of immigrant and refugee children.  Drawing on research carried out at several such schools and through the analysis of several case studies, the paper shows how education can overcome xenophobia and hostility in schools by promoting trust, belonging, student voice, and building on recognition of "common interests" that transcend differences based on nationality and legal status.

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