#3 There are 6,300 refugees in Vermont…

This week I am planning on researching refugees in Vermont.  I’m keeping it very universal because I think it will be very helpful to learn the basic facts about Refugees in Vermont before I really start digging into the education aspect of it.  Also, more information is available about Vermont Refugees in general opposed to exclusively New American education.

First of all, I’m not exactly sure which terms I should use and if it’s correct to use “Refugees,” and “New Americans,” interchangeably.  As I research, I will look out for where each term is used.

The first resource I’m looking at is a Seven Days article by Kevin J. Kelley.  This article is full of information and stories about the 6,300 refugees that have moved to Vermont in the past twenty-five years.  The refugees in Vermont are from a variety of backgrounds all around the world, Bosnians and Bhutanese people are the leading refugee populations in Vermont  Most of these refugee families were surviving on minimum wage jobs.  A lot of them, “have to work 60 hours or more per week in order to meet the high cost of rent in Chittenden County.”  This proves that refugees who come to Vermont are hard-workers.  But,does anyone want to live their whole life working for ten dollars an hour?  I’m curious how many of the children of these New Americans end up in these types of job.  What can be done to have the children of refugees find success in Vermont?

The stories of these refugees are unique but they all experience similar things and face similar challenges.  It’s not true that every refugee comes to the U.S. with no education or ability and are from the lowest socioeconomic level.  This is one of the myths about refugees that causes people to think that refugees are not as capable as other people.  “We’ve had clients with PhDs,” says Laurie Stavrand who is an outreach worker at the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program.  Vermont refugees and their children have so much potential to be thriving in the community.  I’m just not sure if enough efforts are being made to help them.  But, I know that there are definitely many people like Laurie Stavrand who are working to help Refugees in Vermont thrive.

For a more focused view on education I decided to search for some statistics to show that refugee students need  additional support, but it only took me one sentence in a different Seven Days article to change my mind.   “They argued that English-language learners don’t get enough resources and that their academic potential could not — and should not — be judged by scores on standardized tests.”  This quote is what African American Refugee students at Burlington High School were protesting.  These students didn’t want to be labeled as “statistical outliers.”  As of 2007 there were 550 ELL students in the Burlington School District, 10 years later there must be many more.  The point these students were trying to make at the 2012 protest was that there should be more emphasis on educating students and less on pointing out the fact that Refugee students aren’t having as much success.  This article is from 2012 and I am curious how this issue has (or has not) been resolved.  I predict that there are still similar issues to this one currently in Vermont.  I’m hoping to discover what issues are more current in Vermont school systems.

I can’t wait to keep digging into my topic next week and finding more information next week.  This research has really motivated me and engaged me in my topic and I’m excited to learn more!

 

 

Citations:

Kelley, Kevin J. “Twenty-Five Years and 6,300 People Later…” Seven Days, Seven Days, 1 Oct. 2017, www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/twenty-five-years-and-6300-people-later-a-vermont-refugee-report/Content?oid=2296187. R
Flagg, Kathryn. “Color Bind.” Seven Days, Seven Days, 1 Oct. 2017, www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/color-bind/Content?oid=2184235.

 

 

nwilliams

5 Responses to “#3 There are 6,300 refugees in Vermont…

  • Anna Buteau
    3 years ago

    Hey Neva! Looks like you’ve done some really good research and have a clearer idea of the picture in Vermont. It sounds like you’ve also formed new questions out of the research you’ve done, which will help shape your focus. I like that you’re getting background information about refugees before directing your attention to education, as it will inform your topic.

    You asked whether refugees and New Americans were terms that could be used interchangeably. I don’t know if you’ve clarified that in your research, but I would say that all refugees are new Americans but not all new Americans are refugees. However, it’s probably a good idea to do more research to figure out what terms you want to be using.

    I think it might be good to figure out whether you want to focus on new American students or an older demographic, such as the working class. In other words, do you want to concentrate on making a change in schools or setting up programs to help new American adults with little education? I don’t know if you want to do that sooner or later, but I think that once you make that decision, it will be easier to narrow your focus. Just something to think about as you’re doing research.

    Good luck and I’m excited to see how your topic will evolve in the next few weeks!

    • Hi Anna!

      Thanks so much for your helpful feedback. I think I’m going to primarily use the term “New American” because I think it’s a more accurate way to refer to students who aren’t originally from the U.S. I’ve been planning to focus on education in the long run but I also don’t want to set anything in stone to soon. Another idea I had was to not solely focus on kids in schools but also some sort of program that would support the other family members also.

      Neva

  • Hey Neva! Looks like you’ve done some really good research and have a clearer idea of the picture in Vermont. It sounds like you’ve also formed new questions out of the research you’ve done, which will help shape your focus. I like that you’re getting background information about refugees before directing your attention to education, as it will inform your topic.

    You asked whether refugees and New Americans were terms that could be used interchangeably. I don’t know if you’ve clarified that in your research, but I would say that all refugees are new Americans but not all new Americans are refugees. However, it’s probably a good idea to do more research to figure out what terms you want to be using.

    I think it might be good to figure out whether you want to focus on new American students or an older demographic, such as the working class. In other words, do you want to concentrate on making a change in schools or setting up programs to help new American adults with little education? I don’t know if you want to do that sooner or later, but I think that once you make that decision, it will be easier to narrow your focus. Just something to think about as you’re doing research.

    Good luck and I’m excited to see how your topic evolves in the next few weeks!

  • Hi Neva!

    The research that you’ve done is great. I think your idea of starting out by looking at refugees in Vermont is smart and honestly you could help a lot of people even if you just stuck with helping out refugees in this state. You talked about how there might be a gap in learning and the expectations for refugee students in schools so I’m wondering, what is your goal, what do you want to achieve in this course in regards to your topic?

    It seems like you have a few ideas of directions you could take this topic, from refugees in the education system to refugees getting jobs that are long hours and little pay. Maybe with more research you’ll find a clear focus that you are most passionate about. I’m excited to see where you go with this!

    Also, you mentioned that your research didn’t really reflect the most recent statistics but maybe if you went straight to high schools in the burlington area, you could see if they have any of those numbers available. That might have to happen a little bit later in this process, but just a thought.

    Great work,
    Rachael

    • I think my goal in the end is for refugee students and families to be given the sufficient tools to be successful in their new lives. It’s quite vague currently but I’m doing that intentionally in an effort to keep my mind as open as possible. But, at some point I will have to narrow my focus because there are many issues within the umbrella I’m researching. Realistically, making change in all of them isn’t really possible. All the issues are connected though, so helping one thing will also improve other issues.

      Neva

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