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New Guide Released to Advance Fair Access to Education for Immigrant Students

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Publication Order Form

For Immediate Release
August 26, 2008

Contacts:
Sookyung Oh, NAKASEC, 323.937.3703, ext. 206, soh@nakasec.org
Dae Joong Yoon, KRC, 323.937.3718, djyoon@krcla.org
Brenda Alvarez, NEA, (202) 822-7823, balvarez@nea.org

New Guide Released to Advance Fair Access to Education for Immigrant Students
Congressional, Community, and Education Leaders Praise Effort

(Los Angeles, CA) Responding to hundreds of cases of Korean American and Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) students receiving admissions denials from publicly funded K-12 and postsecondary schools and refused in-state tuition in the state of California, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and its Los Angeles affiliate, the Korean Resource Center (KRC) has published a new guide, “Access to Public Education Guide: Unlocking the Key to America’s Future.”

This easy-to-understand and comprehensive guide addresses three key factors restricting access from the misapplication of law, ignorance of public education policies, and the lack of awareness of AAPI community immigration patterns. Meant to be used by students and parents, as well as teachers, staff, and administrators, this guide represents the first attempt to address the specific barriers faced by undocumented AAPI immigrant students.

“We have all come together to support this important undertaking because we share the belief that promoting fair access to education is fundamental to the future success of this country. Far from the ‘model minority’ myth, Korean American and AAPI students do face discrimination and barriers, and are routinely denied fair access to public education as a result of their immigration status and household financial resources. With this new informational guide parents, college admissions staff and administrators will be better equipped to fix the problem,” stated EunSook Lee, Executive Director, NAKASEC.

“I commend NAKASEC’s work in creating this Access to Public Education, which raises youth awareness about civil rights and immigration issues,” said Rep. Mike Honda (CA-15), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “This is a useful resource for undocumented youth struggling every day for their future, to have a place in this country, and to have their contributions recognized. As a former teacher, I am a strong advocate for promoting educational opportunities for young people. Many undocumented students came to the U.S. when they were very young and had no choice in the matter. It is important to provide these students with the knowledge and tools necessary to become U.S. citizens. I will continue to work with my congressional colleagues and with NAKASEC to pass the DREAM Act. By helping them realize their full potential to contribute to our communities, we will promote a more competitive, tolerant, and inclusive America.”

“Ultimately, in the absence of federal policies that legalize undocumented immigrant students, like the DREAM Act, and promote the full integration of immigrants, individual schools, local school districts, and state legislatures will continue to take matters in their own hands and fail to take full advantage of America’s talent. We hope that this report will be a powerful weapon to stem the anti-immigrant tide in light of recent setbacks in accessing public education, most recently in North Carolina,” stated Dae Joong Yoon, Executive Director, KRC.

According to Reg Weaver, President of the 3.2 million-member National Education Association, “NEA strongly supports the rights of all students, regardless of race, ethnicity or immigration status to attend public schools without fear of discrimination. As the school year begins, we remind schools to rigorously follow the 1982 Supreme Court decision in Plyler v. Doe holding that the Equal Protection Clause protects the right of undocumented children to attend public school. NEA also urges Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act, which would help ensure that these undocumented students, who are here through no decision of their own, can eventually come out of the shadows and become part of our society after completing their education. NEA applauds the National Korean American Service and Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and the Korean Resource Center (KRC) on the issuance of their new “Access to Public Education Guide,” which will help immigrant students understand the constitutional principles and state laws governing access to public education and take advantage of opportunities to learn and contribute to our society. We join NAKASEC and KRC in our joint goal of ensuring that every child has a chance to obtain a great public education.”

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For more information and to obtain a copy of the guide, contact Becky Bae at bbae@nakasec.org or 323-937-3703, ext 205 or fill out the attached Publication Order Form.

Copies can also be downloaded at:

nakasec.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/Access%20to%20Education%20Guide_Eng1.pdf

nakasec.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/Access%20to%20Education%20Guide_Kor.pdf

To request an interview with an impacted individual, contact L. Sookyung Oh at soh@nakasec.org. or 323.937.3703, ext. 206.

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