Policy, context and schooling: The education of English learners in rural new destinations


  • Stacy J. Lee University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Margaret R. Hawkins University of Wisconsin-Madison


Education, English Learners, Educational Policy, Anthropology and Education, Rural education


The number of immigrant English learners attending schools in new destinations across the US is rapidly increasing. We draw on the sociological scholarship on ΓÇ£contexts of receptionΓÇ¥ and scholarship on sociocultural approaches to policy to examine the educational contexts faced by immigrant English learners in new destination communities and how these contexts shape their educational experiences. Using data from qualitative case studies of rural school districts in Wisconsin, we examined local discourses surrounding new immigrant populations, and how they shaped the ways in which local educators interpreted and enacted educational policies on the ground. We argue that policy implementation is influenced by local understandings of immigrant English learners and their educational needs, such that potentially inclusive educational policies become assimilative in practice.

Author Biographies

Stacy J. Lee, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Professor, the department of educational policy studies

Margaret R. Hawkins, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Professor, Department of Curriculum & Instruction