Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit down with a local principal (who asked to remain anonymous) at @kindredcoffee.

With the recent influx of migrants to our district, I thought it would be helpful to hear what the educators have to say, as they are the ones who are intricately and daily connected to this local issue.

A few takeaways from this meeting:
📌 This migrant influx is NOT inconsequential as it pertains to the public education system; it taxes the resources of the schools. Teacher morale takes a hit when an influx of newcomers hits.
📌 Educators are highly empathetic toward these children who have traveled great lengths from faraway places to find themselves in a strange, new place. Although they feel under-resourced, they’re impassioned to provide the highest quality of education and care to these new students.
📌 Schools desperately need assistance from the State to handle these unfunded mandates (IL is a Sanctuary State): additional classroom space, consumables, and support staff.

Most of the local people I’ve talked to about immigration over the last few months have admitted that it’s a messy, nuanced, unfortunate issue in our state - and now, right here in our cities. I’m looking forward to sitting down with more people in my area and hearing what they have to say, what their experiences have been, and how they’d like their local leaders to respond to the immigrant issue.

One of the solutions that this principal ideated is for parents who’ve already walked this path of integrating into American culture and language be teachers and onboarders for these new migrant parents who have children in schools - showing them the ropes, teaching them how the public education system works, and encouraging them to participate in the education process. It’s ideas like this that show we can all create margin for one another in the simplest ways. It’s time we stop solely looking to government for solutions, and instead, start looking sideways to our neighbors.