Seattle Public Schools Enrollment and Immigration. Natasha M. Rivers, PhD. Table of Contents

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1 Seattle Public Schools Enrollment and Immigration Natasha M. Rivers, PhD Table of Contents 1. Introduction: What s been happening with Enrollment in Seattle Public Schools? p Public School Enrollment in the Nation p Washington State Public School Enrollment p Seattle Public Schools and ELL Enrollment p Implications and Policy Recommendations p Works Cited p Appendix p.18

2 Seattle Public Schools Enrollment and Immigration INTRODUCTION What s been happening with Enrollment in Seattle Public Schools? The bar chart below displays SPS total K-12 student enrollment for 2004 through In 2004, 46,416 students were enrolled, the fewest since Enrollment seemed to level off around 46,000 until 2006, 2007, and 2008 when enrollment dropped below 46,000 students. In 2010, 47,008 students were enrolled, the most since 1999 and Since 2010, enrollment has steadily increased each year. In , SPS total K-12 enrollment was higher than the previous year, while the Kindergarten enrollment declined when compared to last year. The official headcount for the school year is 51,988. 2

3 Other Important Trends: Elementary enrollment has been increasing since , and is projected to continue to grow. Note: Enrollment Planning assesses the birth to kindergarten ratios and incoming kindergarten classes compared to previous years. Middle school enrollment began growing in 2010, and was projected to add 600 students in five years, and more than 1,000 in 10 years. High school enrollment, after declining for the last few years, was expected to continue declining until , when it will begin growing again as the current larger cohorts of elementary students move into high school. Purpose of Report: Seattle is experiencing a similar enrollment situation compared to other big cities in the nation. This report will focus on how immigration plays an important role for understanding and tracking trends for national public school enrollment, Washington state public school enrollment, and more specifically, Seattle Public Schools enrollment. 3

4 PUBLIC SCHOOL ENROLLLMENT IN THE NATION From school years through , overall public elementary and secondary school enrollment is projected to increase by 5 percent (from 49.5 to 52.1 million students) (Department of Education; 2014, p.36) Population growth is inevitable in the United States. The growth in population is evident in many metropolitan areas, and is fueled by the U.S. s natural rate of increase, internal migration as well as continued immigrant flows of working-age and child-bearing age immigrants (prb.org). The school district is an important institution on which to focus, especially in terms of enrollment and demographic information, which are steadily changing. Additionally, it is also important to track charter school enrollment as well as private school enrollment in Seattle and Washington State. Washington State approved Initiative 1240 in the November 6, 2012 general election. This initiative concerned the creation of a public charter school system which would allow for 40 public charter schools to open over five years, eight each year. Charter schools are public schools that independently operate away from local school districts. They are publicly funded schools that are typically governed by a group or organization under a legislative contractor (or charter) with the state or jurisdiction. The Department of Education (DOE) found that on a national level, from school year to , the number of students enrolled in public charter schools increased from 0.3 million to 2.1 million students. (2014: 39). This is an increase of nearly two million students over a year period. The trend and approval of this ballot measure are sure to increase the students educated under the charter school system in Washington State and the Seattle metropolitan area. Private school enrollment has decreased over this same time period. The data revealed that, the percentage of all students in private schools decreased from 12 percent in to 10 percent in (DOE 2014: 42). They later reported that enrollment in private school did, however, increase for grades 9 through 12. This growth may be from students that were enrolled in public school systems (K-5) prior to private school (6-8) enrollment and/or inmigration. 4

5 Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in Public Schools The U.S. Department of Education recently published a report titled, The Condition of Education According to these findings, white students enrolled in prekindergarten through 12 th grade in U.S. public schools decreased from 60 percent to 52 percent 2001 and 2011 (2014:48). In direct contrast was the number of Hispanic students enrolled, which increased by nearly three million students during this same time period. English Language Learners ELL students participate in language assistance programs such as English as a Second Language, High Intensity Language Training, and bilingual education. The U.S. Department of Education reported that, the percentage of public school students in the United States who were English language learners (ELL) was higher in school year (9.1 percent) than in (8.7 percent). Seven of the eight states with the highest percentages of ELL students in their public schools were located in the West, (DOE 2014: 52). This is an important statistic that demonstrates the importance of ELL programing in Washington State, more specifically Seattle Public Schools. Additionally, Washington State is among 14 states with ELL public school enrollment between 6.0 percent and 9.9 percent (DOE 2014:52). 5

6 WASHINGTON STATE PUBLIC SCHOOL ENROLLMENT The demographics of U.S. elementary and secondary schools are changing rapidly as a result of record-high immigration (Capps et al 2005: p.1) Immigration has a very significant impact on public schools in many states (cis.org) The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) recently published a report, Immigrants in the United States: A Profile of America s Foreign-Born Population, in This report examines characteristics of immigrants and natives by state, and assesses their educational attainment as it pertains to public school enrollment. This report will focus solely on Washington State and national statistics. In terms of settlement patterns, 13 percent of native-born Hispanic students attend school in Washington State (Fry and Gonzales 2008).Washington State, and Seattle in particular, is considered a gateway location for newly arrived immigrants. Audrey Singer, a demographer at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., published a report titled, The Rise of New Immigrant Gateways that provided an analysis of immigration to metropolitan areas during the 20 th century using U.S. Census data. Seattle is described as a re-emerging immigrant gateway metropolitan area. Re-emerging gateways are defined as having a similar pattern to continuous gateways, which tend to have an above-average percent of foreign-born residents for every decade from Additionally, re-emerging gateways have a foreign-born percentage that exceeds the national average from , lags after 1930, then increases rapidly after 1980 (Singer 2004: 5). Seattle- Bellevue- Everett Foreign-Born in Metro: Re-emerging Gateway Total Percent Total Percent Total Percent Total Percent 86, , , , Source: Audrey Singer s use of Census Databases, 2000 International migration to Seattle increased after 1980 with noticeable gains after This implies that there will be an increasing number of students who speak more than one language and may rely on ELL (English Language Learners) programs as well as other services to address the potential achievement gap scenarios. These scenarios may include lower levels of 6

7 retention or graduation rates and lower levels of reading comprehension. CIS reports that, school systems across the country will have to provide appropriate language instruction for some significant share of these (immigrant and first generation) students. (cis.gov) The Center for Immigration Studies found that 38.1 percent of Washington State public school students in poverty are from immigrant households (cis.gov). Just under half of immigrant children that are enrolled in the public school system are members of families living in poverty. Immigration also has a substantial impact on the number of low-income public school students in the city of Seattle, and in many of the school districts across the state (cis.gov). Another important factor contributing to impoverished immigrant households is that, immigrant household income tends to be a good deal less than native household income for most of the top immigrant-receiving states. (cis.gov). Their limited economic resources place these households in a vulnerable position where often both parents work low wage jobs and may not have the educational background to support their child s educational development. The following charts are condensed versions of the CIS immigrant versus native-born population data that highlight Washington State compared to the nation. Table 1. Language Characteristics of Public School Students in Washington State and Nativity of Household Head, 2010 Number Who Speak Language Other than English Share Who Speak Language Other than English at Home Washington 232, % 77.4% Nation 11,027, % 78.5% Share in Immigrant Households Who Speak Language Other than English Table 1 shows the number and share of public school students by state who speak a language other than English. More than three-quarters of immigrant households in Washington State and the nation speak a language other than English in their households. 7

8 Table 2. Average Number of Public School Students, Immigrant and Native Households, 2010 Students per 1,000 Immigrant Households Students Per 1,000 Native Households Washington % Nation % Difference in Average Number of Students per Household Table 2 shows the average number of students per 1,000 households for Washington State and the nation broken down by immigrant or foreign-born and native-born households. There are twice as many public school students from immigrant households per 1,000 households than native households. This implies that immigrant households are larger than native households, which can be attributed to the number of children born to one family or the number of children living under one roof (ex. there could be more than one family living in the same household). Table 3. Income and Size of Immigrant and Native Households In Washington State, 2010 Washington State Average Household Income Median Household Income Persons per Household Per- Person Median Household Income Home Ownership Imms. Natives Imms. Natives Imms. Natives Imms. Natives Imms. Natives $72,319 $76,336 $52,202 $59, $16,112 $22, % 64.6% Nation $63,715 $68,361 $43,892 $50, $13,961 $20, % 67.5% Table 3 shows the share of immigrant and native households that are owner-occupied as well as income levels. In most of the top immigrant-receiving states, the gap between immigrant and native home ownership is 10 percentage points or more. The average household income in Washington State for immigrant households is roughly $4,000 less than the native-born household. The average household income in the nation for immigrant households is about $5,000 less than the native-born households. The median household income in Washington State for immigrant households is nearly $7,000 less than native-born households, and a similar trend can be seen for the nation. This is further complicated by the fact that these immigrant households tend to have approximately one more person per household. 8

9 Table 4. Poverty and Near Poverty In Washington State, 2010 Washington State In Poverty In or Near Poverty Immigrants and Their Children Natives and Their Children Immigrants and Their Children Natives and Their Children Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number 19.5% % % % 1,425 Nation 22.3% 11, % 33, % 24, % 77,774 Table 4 reports the percentage and number of immigrants and their U.S.-born children who live in poverty compared to natives and their children. In Washington State the gap between immigrant and native households in poverty is 10 percentage points or more. There are roughly 15 percent more households made up of immigrants and their children in or near poverty than there are households with natives and their children in or near poverty. Table 5. Health Insurance Coverage in Washington State (thousands), 2010 Washington State Uninsured Uninsured or on Medicaid Immigrants and Their Children Natives and Their Children Immigrants and Their Children Natives and Their Children Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent Number 21.5% % % % 1,371 Nation 28.9% 14, % 35, % 25, % 72,349 Table 5 shows the share of immigrants and their children without health insurance by state. There are a disproportionately high number of immigrants and their children that are uninsured in Washington State, double that of households of uninsured natives and their children. The same trend can be seen for the households of immigrants and their children compared to the households of natives and their children that are uninsured or are on Medicaid. Medicaid in the United States is a social health care program for families and individuals with low income and limited resources. 9

10 Table 6. Immigrants and Their U.S.-born Children as a Share of Total Population, Poverty Population, and Uninsured Population, 2010 State Share of the Total Share of the Poverty Share of Uninsured Population Population Washington State 17.9% 30.1% 28.9% Nation 16.8% 25.4% 29.5% Table 6 shows the share of the nation s and Washington State s population comprised of immigrants and their minor children and those immigrants share of those uninsured and in poverty. Even though the share of the total population for households made up of immigrants and their children is roughly 18 percent in Washington and the nation, they make up close to 30 percent of the share of the population that is living in poverty in Washington and that is uninsured in the nation. Table 7. Educational Attainment for Adults 25 to 65 Years Old, 2010 Less Than High School High School Only Some College Bachelor s Degree or More State Immigrants Natives Immigrants Natives Immigrants Natives Immigrants Natives Washington 22.4% 4.4% 20.4% 22.8% 23.4% 38.5% 33.8% 34.4% Nation 28.5% 7.4% 25.7% 30.6% 16.5% 29.6% 29.3% 32.4% Table 7 shows the education level of immigrants and natives (ages 25 to 65). In Washington State the percentage gap between immigrants and natives with less than a high school education is 18 points or more. The gap between these groups is much smaller for those that have a high school education, and/or who have obtained a bachelor s degree or more. However, the gap between immigrants and natives with some college is 15 points or more. These statistics may be reflecting the pursuit of higher education degrees for immigrant populations in Washington State, given that there is a predictable grouping of immigrant and native-born people that completed high school and earned bachelor s degrees. 10

11 Table 8. Socio-Economic Status of Legal Immigrants (Adults) in Nation, 2010 Natives All Immigrants Legal Immigrants Less-Educated Legal Immigrants Poverty 11.5% 18.5% 15.9% 22.8% In or Near Poverty 28.2% 42.5% 37.5% 52.2% Uninsured 15.7% 34.7% 24.3% 30.3% Welfare 22.5% 36.7% 32.7% 47.6% Home Ownership 68.9% 52.1% 56.3% 48.8% Median Earnings $32,137 $25,988 $30,410 $21,467 Median Income $24,452 $18,042 $20,019 $13,371 Average Income $36,140 $29,186 $32,499 $18,554 Table 8 shows the characteristics of adult immigrants in the nation by legal status based on the 2010 and 2011 CPS (Current Population Survey). There is a substantially larger share of immigrant households who have lower incomes, live in or near poverty, and lack insurance when compared to native-born households. The U.S. attracts both highly skilled and unskilled immigrants. The above data is a snapshot of how well a portion of skilled immigrants are doing in the nation, and furthermore what socio-economic situation the children of these immigrants are born into and navigate until they are independent adults. 11

12 SEATTLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS ENROLLMENT Percent and Total Number of ELL in Seattle Public Schools This table displays the district s total ELL enrollment through the school year. The most noticeable trend is that enrollment in these programs has increased, and is likely to continue increasing given the current streams of migration to the Seattle metropolitan area. As mentioned before, Seattle is an immigrant gateway and has re-emerged as one since the 1980s, and especially after 1990 (Singer 2004). Current streams of working-age and childbearing age immigrants to Seattle include origin countries in East and West Africa, Southeast Asia, Mexico and Central America. These migration flows to the city are likely to continue (ACS 2012). When you examine the annual ELL enrollment data by grade level, you can see that the total number for K-2 grades has steadily increased each school year, and is substantially higher than the enrollment for grades 3-12 (See Appendix). This trend implies that the incoming students that are Pre-K and kindergarten will be a substantial mixture of native-born and children of foreign-born parents. These incoming students will need access to services that successfully integrate them into the public school system, prepare them to make transitions into the next grade levels, and eventually high school graduation. 12

13 Percent immigrant population in SPS Note: These numbers are based on the total number of immigrant students in Seattle Public Schools which is 4,566. Data pulled from PowerSchool on October 17, 2014 The majority of immigrant students are coming from Asian countries, followed by African countries, Latin American countries, and then European countries. The data suggest that Asian and African countries are the primary senders of newly arrived childbearing and workingage immigrants to the Seattle area, and the children of these immigrants make up more than 25 percent of the immigrant student population in Seattle Public Schools. It is unclear what Asian or African countries these students are coming from given that the ethnicity questions for families are not detailed enough to capture their individual origin/home countries. 13

14 There are over 120 home languages spoken by students attending Seattle Public Schools. The most common home languages are English (65%), Spanish (7%), Somali (4%), Vietnamese (3%), Chinese (3%), and Tagalog, Amharic, Oromo and Tigrinya are under 1%. Over half of the home languages that are most common are African languages. Note: These statistics are based on the total number of reported immigrant youth that are also homeless (totaling 270 students). Data pulled from PowerSchool on October 17,

15 From this small percentage, black immigrant children make up the largest percent of the SPS homeless youth population. The American Indian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander populations were excluded from this chart because their percentage calculated to zero/no students. However, there may be homeless students that identify as American Indian and/or Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. What do we expect to happen with enrollment in the future? The demographic trends in Seattle suggest that there will be continuous flows of migration into the city by a diverse group of individuals and families. Seattle is considered to be one of the fastest growing big cities in the United States (seattletimes.com). Young professionals, families (native-born and immigrant), return migrants (people returning home after school or career), and people moving to take advantage of the employment opportunities available here are making Seattle their permanent home. This influx of people has important implications for the labor and housing markets, and the Seattle Public School district. Seattle will continue to attract immigrant families, and it will be important to track the enrollment of these immigrant children and their integration into the Seattle Public School system over time. 15

16 IMPLICATIONS AND POLICY RECOMMENDATIONS Investment in Early Education programs helps to narrow gaps in preparation for all elementary school students, and in particular those coming from low-income homes and also homes where English is not the primary language spoken. Washington State recently passed a measure to implement early learning, pre-k education. Tracking the integration of immigrant and first generation children early on is very important. o Third grade is a pivotal point in a child s education. It is the grade when children shift from learning to read to reading to learn (Hernandez and Napierla 2013:32). Immigrant children are at risk of starting behind their native-born counterparts, and for some being left behind as they transition from one grade level to the next. This must be addressed. o For many children living in households that are living in or near poverty, they are not reading proficiently by third grade. There is a possibility for double jeopardy children growing up in poor families are more likely to have low reading test scores and are less likely to graduate from high school. Ongoing residential and school segregation by race, ethnicity, and income leave many schools linguistically segregated (Capps et al, 2005: 2). SPS is committed to equity and inclusion for all students which involves actively working to integrate and distribute students by attendance area, grandfathering, and special learning needs. A dual-language approach to teaching has been found to be effective for English Language Learners, while not having negative consequences for other students. (Hernandez and Napierla 2013: 36) A diverse environment is a benefit to all involved. SPS is tasked with ensuring principals, teachers, and administrative staff are adequately prepared for the incoming cohorts of all students, including immigrant and first generation students. This preparation can be achieved through cultural sensitivity training and the creation and support of advisory boards such as the Equity and Race Advisory Committee. 16

17 WORKS CITED Primary Sources: American Community Survey, Center for Immigration Studies, Report: Immigrants in the United States: A profile of America s Foreign-Born Population Current Population Survey, Integrated Public Use Micro data Sample, Population Reference Bureau, Secondary Sources: Balk, Gene Census: Seattle is the fastest-growing big city in the U.S. The Seattle Times Capps, Randy, Fix, M, Murray, J., Ost, J., Passel, J. and Shinta Herawntoro The New Demography of America s Schools: Immigration and the No Child Left Behind Act. Migration Policy Institute, pp Chiswick, Barry and DebBurman, N From Pre-School Enrollment: An Analysis by Immigrant Generation. Institute for the Study of Labor, pp Department of Education Chapter 2: Participation in Education, from the report: The Condition of Education, pp Fry, Richard and Gonzales, F One-in-Five and Growing Fast: A Profile of Hispanic Public School Students. Pew Hispanic Center, pp. i-28 Hernandez, D.J. and Napierla, J Early Education, Poverty, and Parental Circumstances among Hispanic Children: Pointing Toward Needed Public Policies. Association of Mexican-American Educators, Vol. 7 (2), pp Lapkoff & Gobalet Demographic Research, Inc Demographic Analyses and Enrollment Forecasts for the San Francisco United School District, pp

18 Appendix Annual ELL Enrollment by Grade through school year Grade K Total Grade Total Grade Total District Total

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