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DACA Field Report

Integrity and Intensity

Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average.

The following DACA field report comes from Carmen Cornejo of Dream Act Arizona:


GED seekers are confronting serious obstacles in Arizona. 
The State Legislature has been cutting Adult Education budgets to the point of
starvation and Prop.300 denied public funding for undocumented youth since
2007.  The remedial high school certification landscape is a difficult one
for citizen and undocumented immigrants alike.


Many persons who are reaching out to me seeking information for
GED instruction are young mothers in their early 20s who dropped out of high
school due to pregnancy and now find difficult to find GED instruction to
re-enter education.  USCIS willingness to accept enrollment to GED
programs for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applicants without a
High School diploma is suddenly increasing the demand and urgency for GED
classes by these individuals.


Here is a list of challenges GED seekers are finding in Arizona
and specially Maricopa County:


Decreased funding. GED instruction has been
severely de-funded. In 2010, Governor Brewer signed a budget that eliminated
the $4.5 million appropriation for Adult Education and GED Testing.  When
Arizona eliminated this GED funding, it also lost $11 million in matching
funds from the Federal government.


On line classes. Some GED outlets at Community
Colleges only offer on-line classes to undocumented youth which may be a
challenging setting for low proficiency students.


Students with different levels of proficiency.
GED  instructors need to assess different levels of proficiency. It
may take real commitment and monetary investment 

from some students to make up for lost time, acquire a GED
certification and then apply for DACA.


Bureaucratic barriers. Community colleges in
Maricopa County (one of the largest in the nation) took time to implement new
Arizona Department of Education's ID policies and their own internal guidelines
and denied GED instruction to some, especially during the first weeks after
August the 15th.  Some Community Colleges' personnel in
Maricopa County are not properly trained to offer consistent, non-intrusive
enrollment procedures and question about immigration status, SS#.


Different programs, funding and models create confusion
Non-profits are creating their own models to offer tuition based GED programs
for people seeking to apply to DACA and comply with Prop. 300 at the same
time. 


Potential for fraud. Some organizations, charter
schools are charging up to 4,500 for "High School Diplomas"; others offer "too
good to be true" on-line classes. It may be difficult for immigrant youth to
assess the adequate "intensity and integrity" of a GED, High School competition
program, putting the burden of proof on the undocumented youth for DACA
purposes.


Uneven production of enrollment documents to apply for DACA. GED
outlets are still figuring out the production of documentation and receipts
helpful for DACA applicants.


DREAM ActVolunteer non-profit organizations, CADENA, The Arizona
DREAM Act Coalition  and Tucson based Scholarships A-Z are taking the task
to guide GED seekers in order to have a better educated workforce for the state
and to have  young immigrants, so many times forgotten, applying for DACA.


Carmen Cornejo


CADENA-ADAC Arizona


www.dreamactaz.org


 

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