• by Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.• IDRA Newsletter • May 1996 • Aurelio M. Montemayor, M.Ed.

Schools and communities are experiencing rapid social change as they work to lay the foundation for the future of U.S. society. Teachers and administrators attempt to meet the diverse needs of both the growing population of U.S.-born children of color and newly-arrived, foreign born children. Immigrant parents struggle to comprehend a new culture and language while trying to understand an unfamiliar system of public education. Immigrant children are caught in the middle, providing culture and language translations for their parents and families, seeking to build social relations with U.S.-born children and young immigrants from other lands, and struggling against great odds to succeed in school. In our public schools we must teach students to respect all languages, cultures and peoples. We must capitalize on the cultural diversity to expand democracy.

What is CHIME?

Building a US society where all cultures, languages and peoples are respected requires information and hard work. To support this important work, the National Coalition of Advocates for Students has established CHIME (Clearinghouse for Immigrant Education). CHIME is an interactive clearinghouse and networking service that facilitates access to educational materials, organizations and individuals concerned with the effective education of immigrant students. CHIME is available to assist schools, parents, advocates and others who support the school success of immigrant students and who are working to build a multicultural society.

This national center collects timely and current research on issues affecting communities today, such as parental involvement, evaluation and placement of immigrant and LEP students, culturally appropriate support services and multicultural education. Also available is information on the cultural background of many immigrant groups that can help educators understand the background experiences and strengths immigrant children bring with them to the classroom. The center has also recently expanded to include materials written for parents in support of the Mobilization for Equity project – a project by IDRA and others funded by the Ford Foundation and the National Coalition of Advocates for Students to engage the public and parents in achieving the best possible education for all students. These materials explain educational issues in a language that is easy to understand, and many are translated into Spanish. A few materials are written in Vietnamese, Chinese and Haitian-Kreyol.

How Does CHIME Work?

By calling CHIME’s toll-free number, you can access an expanding collection of resources to improve the educational experience of foreign-born children. For fast, easy access to resources on educating immigrant students, this is the resource to contact. Whether educator, parent or interested citizen, you can receive information and resources on how schools can better serve immigrant students and their families. To participate, you can also write to CHIME at the address below.

CHIME staff members will become your partners in problem solving. They will survey the available resources, help you to make networking connections and provide information about how to order relevant documents. For documents, there is a nominal fee to cover duplication, shipping and handling. Other services are free, including complimentary copies of the newsletter New Voices and annotated bibliographies.

The CHIME Collection

The CHIME collection includes the following:

  • Literature: Continually expanding compendium of articles and research evaluated and abstracted on a wide range of topics relevant to immigrant students.
  • Promising Practices: Written descriptions of successful efforts developed by schools and community-based organizations that serve substantial immigrant student populations.
  • Resource Listing: A national listing of resource centers, community-based organizations and individuals with resources, experience or knowledge to share.
  • Publications: Annotated bibliographies developed periodically on specific topics in immigrant education. Entitled Selected Readings from CHIME, these resource lists are available to CHIME users free of charge, as is the quarterly newsletter, New Voices.

CHIME is a service of the National Center for Immigrant Students which is a program of the National Coalition of Advocates for Students (NCAS). NCAS is a nation-wide network of 23 experienced child advocacy organizations that work to improve access to quality education for all students, particularly those who are poor, members of racial and linguistic minority groups, people who have recently immigrated to the United States, and people who are physically challenged. IDRA is a member organization of NCAS.

In 1988, NCAS published New Voices: Immigrant Students in US Public Schools, the first comprehensive examination of the status of young newcomers in the nation’s public schools. NCAS established the National Center for Immigrant Students in 1990 to stimulate networking and information-sharing, expand advocacy on behalf of foreign-born students, and examine emerging federal, state and local policy likely to impact upon their school success.

Advice on immigrant education issues is provided to the National Center for Immigrant Students by a national advisory panel of leaders from many different immigrant communities across the country.

Principal funding for the National Center for Immigrant Students and for CHIME is provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Aurelio Montemayor is the lead trainer in the IDRA Division of Professional Development. Comments and questions may be sent via e-mail at feedback@idra.org.

[©1996, IDRA. This article originally appeared in the May 1996 IDRA Newsletter by the Intercultural Development Research Association. Permission to reproduce this article is granted provided the article is reprinted in its entirety and proper credit is given to IDRA and the author.]