20,000 DACA Teachers at Risk — and Your Kids Could Feel the Fallout, Too

"Growing up in metro Atlanta, Yehimi Adriana Cambrón Álvarez could see Cross Keys High School from her bedroom window," USA Today reports. "Born in Morelia, in Mexico's central Michoacán state, a place especially hard-hit by the country's drug war, she was brought to De Kalb County, Ga., as a child. Cambrón grew up as an undocumented immigrant, one of an estimated 11.3 million. She graduated from Cross Keys and earned a studio art degree in 2014. She's now deep into her third year teaching art at her alma mater."

"'This has kind of been my dream, to come back and teach here,' Cambrón said on Tuesday as she prepped for classes. 'This is a community that I grew up in — this is where I call home.'

Her well-laid plans could soon collapse: Last month, the Trump administration began winding down Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the 2012 Obama administration program designed to protect undocumented immigrants brought here as children.

If lawmakers can’t fix DACA, Cambrón and thousands of teachers like her could face deportation when their work permits expire — in her case, that happens in February 2018.

Her students, she said, are 'very aware of what’s happening' with the program. 'It’s very real for them.'

Cambrón added: 'They’re just in shock that I could be taken away from the classroom like that.'

Nationwide, an estimated 20,000 DACA-eligible teachers — many of them possessing key Spanish-language skills that are in high demand — could be plucked from the classroom if the program is phased out.

Losing that many teachers would have a huge impact on kids, said Viridiana Carrizales of Teach For America, the elite teacher-preparation program that has begun advocating for the program. 'We cannot afford to lose so many teachers and impact so many students,' she said. 'Every time a student loses a teacher, that is a disruption in the student’s learning.'

Recent findings by the Economic Policy Institute, a D.C.-based think tank backed by labor unions, suggest that public schools are already in a teacher shortage bind: An Oct. 6 report found that given rising student populations, public schools are short by about 327,000 educators."

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Publication Date: 10/13/2017

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