This book shares the experiences of refugees settled in the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia area (DMV) over the last ten years and their journeys back into education. What motivated their paths to access and success in education? What were their dreams and aspirations? What obstacles stood in their way and how did they overcome them? Who helped them along the way? What advice do they have for others experiencing displacement? Finally, what can institutions and policymakers do to integrate them more successfully?
This book was conceived, researched, and written by the students and faculty of The George Washington University Refugee Educational Advancement Laboratory (REAL). Over a year of research, members of the REAL conducted in-depth interviews with students of refugee background and the family members who support them, spoke with practitioners at local, national, and international relief organizations who serve them, and consulted with experts of displacement and reintegration who study them. The findings offer a testament to the persistence of displaced individuals, who are determined to overcome steep odds and achieve their educational dreams. They also offer a clear set of guidelines for institutions, administrators, and policy makers who have it in their power to make a difference.
Bernhard Streitwieser is associate professor of International Education & International Affairs at George Washington University.
Katharine Summers is international development practitioner and researcher focused on supporting migrants and refugees in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Jessica Crist is education manager for the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
Foreword, Andrew Selee, President of the Migration Policy Institute
Introduction, Jessica Crist, Katharine Summers and Bernhard Streitwieser
Section I: Access
Chapter 1: Four Decades of U.S. Refugee Policy, Savannah Smith and O. Abiola Akintola
Chapter 2: (Un)Welcoming Admissions: The Legal and Systemic Barriers Refugees in the DMV Face When Accessing Education, Jessica Crist
Chapter 3: Increasing Access to Tertiary and Career and Technical Education (CTE) for Refugees in the DMV, Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski and Savannah Smith
Section II: Inclusion
Chapter 4: Inclusive Education for Refugee Students, Haley Skeens and Isabelle Hoagland
Chapter 5: Using an Asset-Based Approach to Overcome Refugees’ Language Barriers in Educational Settings, Ciara Hoyne, Ashley Mitchell, and O. Abiola Akintola
Chapter 6: Additive Education Experiences and Educational Supports for Refugee Students, Ciara Hoyne, and Brittany Troupe
Section III: Application
Chapter 7: Building Capacity: Improving Refugee-Background Students’ Enrollment and Inclusion, Olivia Issa
Chapter 8: Sharing Information on Education Across Resettlement Agencies, Nonprofits, Schools, and Community Spaces, Alexander Erickson, Olivia Issa, and Brittany Troupe
Conclusion, Katharine Summers, Jessica Crist and Bernhard Streitwieser
Afterword, Lisa Unangst
A fascinating and detailed on-the-ground look at how refugee families have accessed education in the DMV and how dramatic improvements could be made. This painstaking local study has national significance.
An important and illuminating book that draws on detailed research to understand the experience of education for displaced people. Based on a fascinating range of in-depth interviews, it contains very important lessons for policymakers – in particular by promoting refugee inclusion and calling for greater attention to their perceptions and experience.
This book provides a valuable insight in the challenges and opportunities of access, inclusion, as well as practical applications of service provision for refugees in the DMV area. This focus on a specific region in the United States creates the foundation for understanding the experiences of refugees in a local education context, and offers relevant conclusions and recommendations beyond the DMV area and the United States.
Bernhard Streitwieser, Katharine Summers, and Jessica Crist provide a necessary overview to U.S. refugee policy, the quest for educational access for resettled refugees, and local resettlement in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia (DMV) region of the United States. Their work provides a useful resource for understanding the critical issue of educational access and local resettlement at a time when many communities across the nation and around the world are reflecting on important questions of how to best ensure successful integration of refugees into local communities.
Accessing Quality Education: Global and Local Perspectives from Refugees navigates the complexities of refugee education, offering invaluable insights for educators, scholars, and policymakers. It dissects the educational landscape for refugees, starting with a historical analysis of U.S. refugee policy, moving through the systemic barriers to education, and culminating in practical strategies for inclusion and application.
By leveraging the collective expertise of the REAL team, this book offers an innovative and important example of how established and new researchers working as a team can come together to create, share, and leverage from their combined efforts. This surely is a game changer for how academic publication and impact happens.
Drawing from an ambitious student-faculty collaborative study from the Refugee Educational Advancement Laboratory, this book offers not only a much-needed glimpse into the lived experience of displacement in the context of education, but also actionable steps for a range of actors to take in response. The case study approach allows a detailed picture to emerge with applicability far beyond the DC, Maryland, and Virginia metro area. An accessible, important work with wide appeal.
Economic and political crises throughout the world have caused millions of people to seek refuge and better futures in other nations. Accessing Quality Education by Bernhard Streitwieser, Katharine Summers, and Jessica Crist is a thoughtful international understanding of many of the important limits and possibilities of higher education policies and practices for many of these people. The meticulous book is highly recommended for scholars, policymakers, and practitioners aiming at gaining a profound understanding of widening refugees' access and success in higher education globally.
This book addresses an important and pressing issue: the integration of refugees in the United States, the Washington DC area in particular. It is based on interviews with refugees and includes the work of students who interviewed them and write about the ethical and practical implications of the challenges and barriers to education that refugees face in their new home.