Voices in Education

Dissolving Boundaries: Understanding Undocumented Students’ Educational Experiences

The Harvard Educational Review (HER) is seeking papers from researchers, practitioners, families, and youth for an upcoming Special Issue on Undocumented Students and Education. While undocumented students make up 1–3 percent of students in the U.S. public school system, they are also one of the most vulnerable populations—shedding light on their experiences reveals that there are structural factors that either inhibit or support the educational and personal trajectories of these students. As such, while undocumented immigrant students have a legal right to K–12 education in the United States, their academic and social experiences vary greatly.

Research in this growing field has drawn attention to the untenable nature of undocumented students’ lives and the disjuncture created by contradictory educational and immigration policies. However, little is known about these students’ educational contexts—primarily school settings—and how teachers, administrators, and community members interact with undocumented students. The theme of this Special Issue, “Dissolving Boundaries: Understanding Undocumented Students’ Educational Experiences,” highlights our interest in papers that delve into the “black box” of formal educational experiences to explore the important roles that schools, universities, educators, and communities play in shaping students’ childhood, adolescent, and young-adult trajectories.
We welcome submissions pertaining to the complex contexts of undocumented childhood and adolescence, the challenges undocumented students face as a result of their unique circumstances, and how this diverse group of students may use support systems to thrive in the current education system.
We invite authors to consider addressing one or more of the following contextual themes:
  • School: “Safe Spaces” and/or Sites for the Policing of “Illegality.”
  • After School: Undocumented Children and Youth Participation and Experiences in Out-of-School Time Programs, Community-Based Settings, and Higher Education.
  • First-Person Perspectives: Opportunities and Challenges in K–12 and Higher Education, as told by students and practitioners.
  • Intersectionality: Undocumented youth experiencing compounded societal challenges due to intersecting social statuses (e.g., low-income, racially minoritized).
  • Beyond the United States: Research and reflection on undocumented students’ experiences internationally.
These themes are in no way meant to be exhaustive. HER has historically defined education broadly, as education takes place in many locations beyond schools. We encourage works and perspectives that articulate cross-cultural, interdisciplinary, and comparative perspectives.
We are seeking the following:
Research articles or essays, including (but not limited to) original research based on empirical studies, and theoretical essays grounded in literature. Research article or essay submissions should be no longer than 9,000 words.

Voices: Reflective Accounts of Education, written by students, teachers, parents, community members, and/or others involved in education, whose perspectives can inform policy, practice, and/or research. Submissions of this type generally contain a detailed narrative that weaves ideas, situations, and experiences together, and highlights key learnings. Please note that for this Special Issue, Voices submissions should be no longer than 3,000 words.
We highly advise that interested authors review our Guidelines for Authors, which can be found at http://www.hepg.org/page/20, prior to submission.
How to Submit
Please submit your manuscript at https://hepg.submittable.com/submit under the “Dissolving Boundaries: Understanding Undocumented Students’ Educational Experiences” section. Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis from now through January 12, 2015.
Late submissions will not be accepted.
If you have questions about your submission, such as its topic, relevance, or format, please contact HERsi@gse.harvard.edu.

About the Author: HER is a scholarly journal of opinion and research in education. Its mission is to provide an interdisciplinary forum for discussion and debate about education’s most vital issues. Our subscribers and contributors represent fields as diverse as educational administration, teaching, psychology, history, philosophy, sociology, economics, government, and public policy.