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Children of Immigrants in Schools in New York and Amsterdam: The Factors Shaping Attainment

by Maurice Crul & Jennifer Holdaway - 2009

Background/Context: This article considers the ways in which school systems in New York City and Amsterdam have shaped the educational trajectories of two groups of relatively disadvantaged immigrant youth: the children of Dominican immigrants in New York and the children of Moroccan immigrants in Amsterdam. It describes the salient features of the two educational systems and the ways in which they structure opportunity for children of immigrants. In terms of public policy, the United States and the Netherlands have taken quite different approaches toward the integration of immigrant students: The Netherlands actively seeks to integrate students and provides additional funds and special programs, whereas the United States has taken a more laissez-faire approach.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The article analyses available data on young second-generation Moroccan and Dominican youth and their school careers in two cities: New York and Amsterdam. It aims to look at the influence of institutional arrangements and the way that the educational system facilitates or hampers the educational integration of two highly disadvantaged groups.

Research Design: The article is based on available data on the Moroccan population in Amsterdam and the Dominican population in New York. This includes primarily the Dutch SPVA surveys and other local Amsterdam studies, and the Immigrant Second-Generation in Metropolitan New York (ISGMNY) study.

Conclusions/Recommendations: Both Moroccans in Amsterdam and Dominicans in New York show relatively low levels of educational attainment. Drawing on data from a number of studies of Moroccans in Amsterdam and on the ISGMNY study, the article shows that although differently structured, neither school system does an adequate job of serving disadvantaged immigrant students. It is interesting, however, that opportunities and impediments for the two groups are shaped differently and appear at different times in the school career. Successful practices in both countries show how extra investment of resources can increase equality of opportunity.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 111 Number 6, 2009, p. 1476-1507
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15332, Date Accessed: 9/23/2021 7:44:08 PM

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About the Author
  • Maurice Crul
    University of Amsterdam
    E-mail Author
    MAURICE CRUL is a social scientist working at the University of Amsterdam. For the last 15 years, he has worked primarily on the topic of education, first within the Dutch context, and more recently in a comparative European context. Maurice Crul is one of the principal investigators of the transatlantic project Children of Immigrants in Schools, comparing the school careers of the Moroccan second generation in Amsterdam with those of second-generation Dominican youth in New York. He is also coordinating the international research project TIES (The Integration of the European Second generation): http://www.tiesproject.eu/. The project involves partners in eight European countries and a survey of 10,000 respondents. Recent articles include, with Mark Thomson, “The Second Generation in Europe and the United States: How Is the Transatlantic Debate Relevant for Further Research on the European Second Generation?” in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2007), and “The Integration of Immigrant Youth” in Learning in the Global Era, International Perspectives on Globalization and Education, ed. Marcelo Suárez-Orozco (University of California Press, 2007).
  • Jennifer Holdaway
    Social Science Research Council
    JENNIFER HOLDAWAY is a program director at the Social Science Research Council. As part of her work with the Migration Program, since 2003, she has led the Working Group on Education and Migration, which has considered the relationship between immigrant families and American schools, and compared the education of children of immigrants in the United States and Europe. This work is presented in these two special issues of Teachers College Record. Holdaway is coordinator and co–principal investigator for the Children of Immigrants in Schools, an international collaborative research project that examines the impact of cross-national differences in educational institutions, policies, and practices on the integration of children of immigrants in the United States and Europe. Since 2005, she has also been director of Transitions to College: From Theory to Practice. This program has considered what we know from the various social science disciplines about the factors that shape access to and success in higher education in the United States. Along with Philip Kasinitz, John Mollenkopf, and Mary Waters, she is an author of the forthcoming book, Inheriting the City: The Children of Immigrants Come of Age.
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