Foreign-Born Children Depress Educational Achievement

The Annie E. Casey Foundation[1] recently released a study of academic achievement of children. The Census Bureau data used in the report covered the period 2013-2015 and separated performance by race/ethnic group for several factors including 4th graders’ proficiency in reading and 8th graders’ proficiency in math.

The result according to the report is that children of immigrants are lagging educationally, and more must be done to improve their performance. There is, of course, another way of looking at the report’s findings. Excessive immigration, which diminishes assimilation, adversely burdens schools, degrades learning opportunities for other students and is a financial burden on the communities in which they reside.

That perspective raises the question as to whether the burden can be lessened other than by investing more in the education of those children, which most school districts lack the capacity to do in any event. In that regard, it should be recognized that many of those children of foreign-born parents entered the country illegally and many others arrived as part of a family that was not selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement or the likelihood of being self-supporting.

If the principles for immigration reform recently released by the White House were enacted, there would be a significant future benefit in reducing the problem of under-performing children in school by curtailing illegal entry and restructuring legal immigration to emphasize achievement-based selection rather than family-based selection.

Some of the results reported in the study are the following:

4th grade reading proficiency (FB includes foreign-born children and children of foreign-born; NB native-born)

Black: NB = 18%; FB = 7%

Asian & Pacific Islanders: NB = 62%: FB = 19%


8th grade math proficiency:

Black: NB = 12%; FB = 2%

Asian & Pacific Islanders: NB = 64%: FB = 17%

Latino: NB = 23%; FB = 3%

White: NB = 42%; FB = 11%




About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. Pingback: Study: Mass Immigration Depresses Reading, Math Proficiency in American Public Schools – USA TIMES

  2. avatar

    I gotta tell ya. My older son was registered to go to a STEM school. That was the school in our boundary. It was the first year of them transforming from regular middle school to a k thru 8 science, technology, engineering and mathematics school. The siblings were also suppose to be registered as well. I went to take my younger son to sign papers and they told me no, sorry. We are full. Guess what they were full of. A different administrator pulled me to the side and told me they have to take the “other” kids first for funding purposes. What the heck does that mean? That’s just one of the many many examples of crap we put up with.

      • avatar

        The other side of the coin for instance the other born kids like Steve Jobs…….

        That happens when generalizations ….

        • avatar

          Or Obama, or Trump etc etc…. children…from foreign born parents….

          N foreign born children in Universities Excel……..

          • avatar

            This completes the whole reality….your numbers mainly from foreign born uneducated People but IAM sure u can find this numbers on both sides…..

            You have a point Jack but now it is more accurate.