State's top education official: "We don't make immigration policy in our classrooms"

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson says he is setting aside $3.5 million in federal funding to assist schools that see an increase in unaccompanied immigrant children this school year.

Torlakson is advising school districts of their obligation to serve every child in California regardless of where they come from or where they were born.

"We don't make immigration policy in our classrooms; we help every child who comes through our doors," Torlakson said. "With our help and support, I am confident that California's schools will be able to provide a safe haven for children waiting for authorities to reunite them with their families."

Torlakson said the $3.5 million represents federal Title III funds to help school districts that may have experienced a significant increase in immigrant students. The funds may be used for improving instruction, providing tutoring and intensified instruction, and conducting community participation programs.

School districts are eligible when data demonstrate a growth of 3 percent in the qualifying student population as compared to the average of the two previous years.

To receive funding, school districts submit a plan for a quality supplemental program to help these children, and then apply for the Title III Immigrant funding. The application for funds may provide about $94 per immigrant student. However, this funding does not distinguish between those students who enter the United States accompanied or unaccompanied. So far, the demand for Title III Immigrant funds has not increased in California.

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