Bloomberg Breaks His Own Law
In February, with much fanfare, Mayor Bloomberg joined with City Council Speaker Quinn, Education Committee Chair Jackson, and legions of immigrant parents and education advocates to announce new Chancellor's Regulations that require schools to provide interpretation and translation services to limited English proficient parents. In a City where one in four parents are still in the process of learning English, and where parental involvement has been promoted as key to boosting student achievement, the new regulations were hailed as representative of a new day at the Department of Education. Mayor Bloomberg spoke at length about the commitment of his administration to ensuring equal opportunity for involvement to immigrant parents.
Once the cameras got turned off, the DOE's commitment seemed to fade. A promised task force to stay on top of this issue was never convened. Last week, a report from Advocates for Children, the New York Immigration Coalition and others, showed that the DOE is failing to comply with the new regulations they drafted.
The report shows that high school registration centers throughout the city failed to provide required translation and interpretation services. Similarly, parent coordinators, the official liasons between parents and the DOE, were found to be unaware of the schools' obligations under tthe new Chancellor's Regulations.
Mayor Bloomberg was right to highlight the importance of the issue. He was right to champion new law on this issue. He deserves praise for moving the City's commitment to equity forward. Promises, though, are not enough. Immigrant parents need him to make sure that the Department of Education does the work to come into compliance with the new law.