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In The News
Immigration Politics
Published: December 31, 1969

From the newsletter of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, May 2006

What role do you think the American school system should play in educating immigrants? This is a difficult question that has been debated for nearly as long as immigrants have come to America.

Learn more about this debate at Seward Park High School, one of the stops on the Museum's Walking Tour. The Lower East Side's first high school, Seward Park High was built in 1929 to educate the neighborhood's immigrant and first-generation teenagers.

At the time, public schools were thought to be uniquely responsible for the Americanization and assimilation of young immigrants. Instruction at Seward Park was only in English, while the curriculum illuminated the virtues of democratic government.

Today, the Seward Park School building houses five small high schools, including the Dual Language and Asian Studies High School which trains mono-lingual students to gain proficiency in both Mandarin and English. Though there are similar programs in schools across the country, there is hardly consensus on how immigrant students should be educated in America's school system.

Now that spring is here, the Walking Tour is being offered again on the weekends. Please join us.

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