Made in America

Immigrant Students in Our Public Schools

With a new introduction by author Laurie Olsen, this timely reissue probes the challenges facing teachers and immigrant students in our public schools

“[A] sensitive and valuable book about the . . . ethnic lines that wall off immigrant youngsters in our public schools—and . . . the continuing existence of what Laurie Olsen rightly calls ‘the dirty business of exclusion.’” —Jonathan Kozol, author of Amazing Grace

As the United States reexamines its borders and immigration policies, the debate over educating immigrant students in our public schools has divided Americans. What can teachers and immigrant students expect from each other? Laurie Olsen, director of a nationally recognized immigrant organization, describes what it looks and feels like to go to school and to teach in a culturally diverse environment.

Made in America describes Madison High, a prototypical public high school, where more than 20 percent of students were born in another country and more than a third speak limited English or come from homes in which English is not spoken. Through interviews with teachers, administrators, students, and parents, Olsen explores such issues as the complexities of bilingual education and the difficulties of dating for students already promised in marriage at birth.

In the words of Teacher Magazine, “Olsen’s message is clear: celebrating diversity is fine, but it’s no substitute for giving all students a real chance at school success.” With a new introduction stressing the importance of advocacy for immigrant students in a climate of increasing exclusion, Made in America will help a new generation of educators recognize the impact that immigration has on their schools.


“Thought-provoking insights into segregation and alienation.”
The Bookwatch
“More than a portrait of a school, this is a portrait of America.”
—William Ayers
“[Olsen] describes what it means to become American.”
—Sonia Nieto

Goodreads Reviews