A classic "new growth" state, Georgia has experienced one of the fastest rates of growth from immigration in the United States over the past two decades. Today, one in five Georgia youth is an immigrant or has immigrant parents. While Georgia's native-born white population is aging rapidly, the Latino population in particular remains much younger, and stands to play a decisive role in the state's current and future workforce competitiveness.
The educational outcomes of the state's first- and second-generation young adults are cause for concern, however. Many are English Language Learners (ELLs) and they lag considerably behind their nonimmigrant peers in terms of high school graduation, college access, and postsecondary degree completion. they often face extra hurdles as they seek to develop academic English-language skills, complete high school course requirements, navigate the transition to college and careers, and finance postsecondary education-often while juggling work and family responsibilities. This report explores these hurdles, and shows that Georgia's most recent education reform efforts- while ambitious in scope-often do not address the unique needs of immigrant youth and ELLs. Moreover, state policies have created barriers to entry into the state's adult education programs and flagship universities, not just for unauthorized immigrants but also for youth who are granted legal permission to remain in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
As part of a five-state series, this report examines the educational experiences and outcomes of first- and second-generation youth ages 16 to 26 across the education systems in Georgia, encompassing K-12, adult education, and postsecondary education.