• Description

Teachers play a vital, and often underappreciated, role in U.S. communities. They are responsible for educating our youth and young adults, and are instrumental in preparing the next generation of U.S. workers. Foreign-born teachers not only educate Americans, but also serve as cultural ambassadors for immigrant students who may not be as familiar with American traditions, customs, and social norms. Unfortunately, recent immigration policy changes and proposals could have a harmful impact on immigrant teachers and on potential immigrant teachers who have not yet arrived in the United States. This is unfortunate given the fact that there are teacher shortages in some regions of the United States and in some disciplines including bilingual education, foreign languages, mathematics, and science. Foreign-born teachers could help to alleviate these shortages. This paper provides a statistical and demographic portrait of immigrant teachers in the United States and highlights differences between native- and foreign-born teachers as well as between postsecondary and non-postsecondary teachers. It also examines changes in immigration policy impacting foreign-born teachers. A summary is provided in the Key Findings below. The data in this report comes from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Sample (IPUMS-USA) file and the U.S. Census. Five years of data are aggregated to increase the sample size and the accuracy of the estimates. Unless otherwise noted, data was limited to individuals who indicated their primary occupation was either a preschool and kindergarten teacher, elementary and middle school teacher, secondary school teacher, special education teacher, or postsecondary teacher.