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Andrew Friedman

Education Equity Act gathers momentum

More than two-thirds of the City Council voted to pass the Education Equity Act at their final session of 2005 on December 21. The legislation requires the Department of Education to translate key documents, like report cards, and to provide interpretation services for limited English proficient parents or guardians at important education-related meetings.

Mayor Bloomberg has said that he plans to veto the legislation, but he hasn't.

Today's El Diario ran an editorial urging the Mayor to change his mind. The paper writes,

"If we truly want parents to participate in their schools and get involved in their children`s education, we must eliminate any barriers that are preventing them from doing so. We live in a city where 36 percent of the population was born outside of the U.S. Approximately 300,000 parents in the public school system speak Spanish only and more than 43 percent of our students speak another language in addition to English. We can`t demand that parents get involved, then speak to them in a language they don`t understand. We urge Mayor Bloomberg to sign this bill. If he doesn't, we urge the City Council to override his veto."

Also, hundreds of immigrant parents will join union members and key Council supporters of the Education Equity Act, like Hiram Monseratte of Queens, on the steps of City Hall later this morning to deliver the same message to Mayor Bloomberg. Importantly, Bloomberg allies from SEIU 32BJ will be at the rally. Parents will describe how frustrated they are by being locked out of their children's education. "I'm taking classes but I don't want to wait until my English is perfect to help my daughter succeed at school", says Brooklyn parent and Make the Road by Walking member Irania Sanchez.

Hopefully, Bloomberg will get the message and sign this important civil rights legislation.

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Posted at 9:07 AM, Jan 12, 2006 in Civil Rights | Language Access | New York
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