Arizona To Prioritize Refugee Children’s Education?

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald January 11, 04:00 am

Refugees from war-torn countries flee to other countries in an attempt to have another shot at life. One of the hot spots in the United States where refugees tend to flock is in Arizona and in a new report, many refugees are thankful that the state's education programs are helping them adjust to their new surroundings.

A former refugee named Boo Htoo said that he came to the United States with his two children in 2007 after spending more than two decades in Thailand as a Burmese refugee. He and his parents fled Burma when he was younger due to a conflict but he said the education he had in Thailand is far different from what is offered in the United States.

Arizona Daily Independent shared that Htoo eventually became a teacher after being educated at a refugee camp and if someone was educated in Thailand, they had the opportunity to make money. However, the money he made was not enough for his family that is why they went to the United States.

Htoo noted that there were a lot of challenges when they first moved to the United States, specifically the language barrier and the American customs they had to learn.

Htoo went on to thank Montebello Elementary School because they provided her daughter with a backpack and helped the family make their transition. The International Rescue Committee, where Htoo is working, also help students like his children adapt to their new environment. The families were helped by the International Rescue Committee to find housing, jobs and book classes for the kids.

The International Rescue Committee also has translators to help the refugees set up in school for both the parents and the students. Other school districts in Arizona also work with refugee families. One of which is the Washington Elementary School District in Phoenix as they take in refugee children from different parts of the world. As of last year, they have more than 500 refugee students.

In a report by Cronkite News in December of last year, some refugees who have been in school longer also help those who have arrived recently to learn English faster. Arizona schools are offering immigrant students English learning programs and use other methods to help them learn the language.

As of 2015, there are more than 4,000 refugees in Arizona. The number increased in 2016 but no data is available yet.


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