A closer look: Immigration and educationEducation professor argues that immigration has shaped U.S. education in profound waysIn a new book, “U.S. Latinization: Education and the New Latino South,” Pedro R. Portes and Spencer Salas have curated essays from across the country that demonstrate how policymakers and educators should treat immigrant education and social progress—two ideas that have become intertwined in our country. Portes is the Goizueta Foundation Distinguished Chair in Latin Teacher Education at the UGA College of Education, where he also directs the Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education. His co-editor, Salas, is associate professor of middle, secondary and K-12 education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Question: Why should we pay attention to changes in education as a result of immigration?Portes: At a time of extreme division in the United States that affects all sectors of the population, the quality of education is of utmost importance—not only to those living in poverty, but perhaps more important for future leaders and voters alike. In this book, we offer new insights that address the overall cultural development of the United States as a result of increased Latino and Asian immigration in the past two decades.

Q: How does immigration connect social progress with education?P: The success of a democratic culture today hinges on social, educational and economic fairness within an educational system that maximizes the talents of children as future global citizens. In particular, the Latino population’s histories are complex, poorly understood and increasingly stereotyped, as with other immigrant groups before them.

Q: How do these issues relate to educational policy?P: The chapters in this book speak to the pivotal role of education policies and practices that affect both immigrants and non-immigrants. Remaining less educated about world history threatens the national interest and the integrity of our institutions.