Dr. Albert Cortez

Immigrant Children’s Rights to Attend Public Schools – Podcast Episode 94 | Classnotes Podcast 94

Dr. Bradley ScottClassnotes Podcast (September 13, 2011) In an atmosphere of heated debate about immigration policy across the country, the education of immigrant children can be threatened, sometimes quite mercilessly. But school officials are not deputies of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. IDRA’s director of policy, Albert Cortez, Ph.D., whose work has influenced landmark education litigation, clarifies that the education of undocumented students is guaranteed by the Plyler vs. Doe decision. He also reviews the certain procedures that must be followed when registering immigrant children in school to avoid violation of their civil rights. Albert is interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity.

Show Length: 14:52

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School Opening Alert: Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools
Printable flier in English and Spanish (pdf)

IDRA eNews: Immigrant Students’ Rights to Attend Public Schools (English/Spanish)

Plyler vs. Doe Brief Description

Letter by the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Education
Regarding equal access to public education regardless of citizenship or immigration status, May 6, 2011 (pdf)

U.S. Department of Education sternly reminds districts that illegal immigrant children are entitled to a free public education
Dallas Morning-News story by Katherine Leal Unmuth, May. 10, 2011

IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity
The federally-funded equity assistance center that serves schools and districts in Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

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Show Notes

  • Albert offers an overview of the Plyler vs. Doe Supreme Court decision of 1981.

  • Albert addresses the limited awareness of Plyler vs. Doe in comparison to other landmark educational milestones such as the Civil Rights Act and Title IX.

  • Bradley asks Albert how far schools can legally go in the documentation they ask for from immigrant students and families.

  • Albert explains why the education of immigrant children should remain a separate issue from the country's immigration policy, and why school officials should not try to play the role of immigration officials.

  • Albert counters the argument that taxpayer dollars should not be used to educate children of undocumented families.