Between 1881 and 1890 more than five million immigrants entered the United States. The decade marked the beginning of a period of unprecedented growth in the number of newcomers arriving on America's shores. Indeed, between 1890 and 1930 approximately twenty four million immigrants poured on to the nation's soil continually adding to the rich and complex mix of American humanity. The impact of mass immigration on public education was profound. By 1909, for example, when the U. S. Immigration Commission investigated the ethnic origins of students in thirty seven of the nation's largest cities, officials discovered more than sixty nationalities and noted that 57.8% were of foreign-born parentage. In some of the major cities the percentage was even higher. In New York it was a staggering 72%; in Chicago, 67%; in Boston, 64%; in Cleveland, 60%, and in San Francisco, 58%. From 1899 to 1914 school enrollment in New York City increased by more than sixty percent. Some school classrooms choked with sixty to eighty students of various nationalities, while others were forced to deny admission to children due to the acute lack of space.
Foster, Stuart J.
"Pride and Prejudice: Treatment of Immigrant Groups in United States History Textbooks, 1890-1930,"
Education and Culture: Vol. 17
, Article 2.
Available at: http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/eandc/vol17/iss1/art2