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UTD Economist Nathan Berg Wins Grant to Study
RICHARDSON, Texas (Jan. 27, 2003) - Economist Dr. Nathan Berg of The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) has been awarded a grant to study academic achievement among immigrant schoolchildren in Texas, as well as the educational impact of those youngsters on the state's native-born public school students. The study is being underwritten by the Smith Richardson Foundation of Westport, Conn.
Berg's study will compare the test scores of recently arrived immigrants with native-born Texans who have similar linguistic and socio-economic backgrounds. By measuring how test scores of native-born students are affected when the percentage of immigrants at a particular school is large, Berg hopes to provide descriptive evidence relevant to larger cost-benefit studies of immigration policy.
"In evaluating the benefits and costs of different approaches to regulating immigration, it is critical to know what happens in schools," Berg said.
According to Berg, immigrant children frequently require additional services when they enter schools in the United States for the first time. But, he noted that if their academic progress is reasonably successful after that, they eventually enter the U.S. workforce, pay taxes and help smooth out imbalances that threaten programs such as Social Security.
Another aspect of Berg's work draws on theoretical and anecdotal studies suggesting that immigrant families tend to be highly motivated to work hard and achieve financial success. By analyzing the net effect of immigrants' use of school resources and the potentially beneficial influence immigrants have on native-born schoolchildren, Berg hopes to produce new quantitative evidence useful in advancing debate over immigration and education policy in the U.S.
Berg is a Cecil and Ida Green Assistant Professor of Economics and Political Economy in UTD's
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