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RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — One in five U.S. public school students are raised in immigrant families, yet K-12 students are left out of the dialogue about immigration policy. With immigration reform still a hot button, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) is probing K-12 classrooms in Virginia and across the nation about their vision for a fair and practical immigration system in the “Speak Up for Immigration” lesson. Students will write letters to their local, state or national officials about what should be done to reform immigration in the US and post them on the K-12 lesson exchange,

Senator Warner teamed up with UClass and a University of Virginia education class, Educating for Global Citizenship, to create a lesson that guides students to develop informed perspectives on immigration.
Senator Warner said, “as members of an increasingly global society, it is vitally important that students have platforms like UClass to share ideas not only with the person sitting next to them, but with individuals in other communities, cities, states and across the world. This collaboration challenges our young people to think about tough questions in order to arrive at their own informed opinions. I am excited to hear from Virginia’s next generations of leaders.”

Charlottesville High School, flagship school for this lesson, is home to students affected by the outcomes of immigration reform. Tina Vasquez, CHS English Language Learner teacher who co-developed the course, said, “About 10% of CHS students are born in another country. The Global Citizenship course provides an opportunity for refugee and immigrant students to draw upon their own experiences, cultures, and languages as a resource, to teach their American-born peers about global issues from a personal perspective.”

Carol Anne Spreen, professor of Educating for Global Citizenship, said, “In the class we have a diverse group of twenty university students, as well as twenty high school immigrant, refugee and honor students working together… What could be a better way to inform and bring about policy change?”
“This collaboration with Senator Warner and the forum on UClass is a meaningful way for students to express their thoughts on key issues, such as immigration reform,” said Robin LeRosen, a graduate student in Spreen’s class.

Senator Mark Warner will speak via videoconference with students at Charlottesville High School on December 4.

School leaders and teachers interested in getting their classrooms involved can visit
CONTACT: Zackary Ringelstein, 1-603-520-8553,



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