The Funds of Knowledge of California's Immigrant and Refugee Students

By: Lyn Scott  

One of two children in California have one or more first generation immigrant parents according to recent U.S. Census Bureau. It is estimated that nearly two million children in California live in households with one or more undocumented family members, with 250,000 undocumented children enrolled in California schools. Thus, changes in refugee and immigration practices and policies at the national level impact students as well as their families at a time when anti-immigrant rhetoric, border separations, and migrant caravans fill the news. In 2016, California received 7,900 refugees who largely resettled with family or near existing immigrant communities. Schools are in a crucial position to create a safe space for refugee and immigrant children to share their stories as part of their educational journey to multilingualism and critical literacy. Our mixed-methods research builds upon Moll’s work with the Funds of Knowledge that children bring to their education being of critical importance as they develop foundational literacy skills based upon their life experiences, journeys, oral histories, and families. We examine the intersection of the Welcoming Schools framework with laws that impact refugee and immigrant children such as Proposition 58, the California Multilingual Education Act of 2016, which allows students to develop their biliteracy in public schools and educational campaigns such as “Know Your Rights” which respond to high numbers of unaccompanied, vulnerable refugee minors entering the U.S. from Central American countries in recent years who are placed in detention facilities or with family members and enrolled in local schools.

Biliteracy, Bilingual Education, Refugee Students, Immigrant Students, Welcoming Schools
2019 Special Focus—Border Crossing Narratives: Learning from the Refugee Experience
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Lyn Scott