English-Language Learners Promised More Support

Milady Baez, new head of the English Language Learners program for the city's schools, answering a question at a Sept. 12 meeting of the Hispanic Federation (Photo by Patrick Wall via Chalkbeat)

Milady Baez, new head of the English Language Learners program for the city’s schools, answering a question at a Sept. 12 meeting of the Hispanic Federation (Photo by Patrick Wall via Chalkbeat)

One out of seven students in the New York City public school system is an English language learner, and city education officials on September 12 said that they would move aggressively to improve instruction and outcomes for these students, Patrick Wall reports in Chalkbeat.

Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña and Milady Baez, her newly-appointed head of the office for English language learners, told attendees at a Hispanic Federation meeting that teachers would receive better training and that 11 new dual-language programs would be offered in schools this year.

Wall reports that parents and educators favor dual-language programs, in which students are taught in both English and a second language. But only 4 percent of English-language learners were in those programs in the 2012-13 school year. Instead, the vast majority are in enrolled in English-as-a-second-language programs, where the instruction is in English.

State officials plan new tougher guidelines for English language acquisition, and with reason:

Just 3.4 percent of [English language learners] passed this year’s state English exams, compared to 28.4 percent of all city students. And, they added, the teachers responsible for catching them up are often under-trained and overwhelmed.

Find out what Fariña and Baez told attendees at the meeting, including their ideas for how to help parents of English language learners at the schools, at Chalkbeat.

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