Education Across Borders: Immigration, Race, and Identity in the Classroom

Beacon. Feb. 2022. 144p. ISBN 9780807052808. pap. $16.95. ED
Drawing on their backgrounds as immigrants and educators, Sylvain, Jalene Tamerat, and Marie Lily Cerat offer concrete suggestions for helping Haitian and Dominican students adjust to U.S. schools. In the first essay, Sylvain describes his experiences navigating class and racial conflicts between French- and Haitian Creole–speaking students and teachers in Cambridge, MA, and Boston. Focusing on New York City, Cerat examines students’ use of language as a means of understanding identity, culture, trauma, and discrimination. Considering the experiences of Haitian and Dominican students in Boston, Tamerat emphasizes the importance of “funds of knowledge” and the integration of home and school life. Sylvain ends the collection with a primer on Haitian history and politics, enslavement of Haitians in the Dominican Republic, and the complexities of immigration. Even though the work concentrates on the challenges faced by Haitian and Dominican students, the authors’ recommendations are transferable to immigrants in general. While the four essays are insightful, they don’t quite cohere; the book would have been better served with an introductory or concluding chapter that ties everything together.
VERDICT Though full of thought-provoking ideas, the work doesn’t feel unified. Those with a vested interest in education may be interested, but the book is unlikely to entice general readers.
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