The Learning

PBS Premiere: Sept. 20, 2011Check the broadcast schedule »

Take Action

Learn More About Immigration and Teacher Shortages

In The Learning, four Filipina women move to Baltimore in order to secure a better life for their families. Learn more about the challenges facing migrant teachers, the obstacles in their gaining permanent residency, and the state of schools and teacher shortages in your own communities.

Find out what your school district's policy is regarding the hiring of foreign nationals. Work with school officials as needed to ensure that all teachers, including migrant teachers, are treated fairly and equitably.

Help develop cultural competency programs to familiarize teachers from other countries with the culture and customs of your community and/or to familiarize students with the cultures and customs of their teachers.

Create or support public recognition for all of the excellent teachers in your community (not a zero-sum competition for a single "best" teacher). Consider what else your community could do to create a climate that values teachers and teaching.

Convene a study circle or a public forum to examine why there are teacher shortages in certain subject areas and/or why certain schools have a difficult time recruiting and retaining teachers — especially teachers certified in math, science and special education. Plan steps to address the issues raised by your research or event.

Study the impact of current immigration policies on migrant teachers and their families, in particular obstacles they may face in their pursuit of permanent residency in the United States, possibly causing them to join the ranks of the undocumented. Share your findings through forums such as the White House roundtables on immigration reform.