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These Immigrants Came For A Better Education. Now, They'll Never Graduate High School.

Lena Jackson
Vanessa Canizalez emigrated from Honduras to Miami at the age of 16 and enrolled in a GED program after she was turned away from Westland Hialeah Senior High.

They come fleeing gang violence and repressive regimes. They come after hurricanes and earthquakes. They come in search of work and an education.

But in Miami-Dade County, a place built by the aspirations of newcomers, hundreds of immigrant teens will never graduate from high school.

Instead, they will end up in adult education programs — some of which are taught in Spanish — where they learn little English and where they finish, if they’re lucky, with the high school equivalency diploma known as a GED (General Educational Development). The path to college and a well-paying job, already a struggle for an immigrant, will become even more difficult.

That’s because for years Miami-Dade schools have steered, and sometimes pushed, immigrant teens into adult education programs, the Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald have found. Although the school district insists that students choose whether to enroll in the programs, students and immigrant rights groups say that is often not the case.

Read more from our news partner, The Miami Herald.