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Andrew Friedman

Massive Shortage of English Classes

Last week, the Center for an Urban Future released an excellent report entitled Lost in Translation. The report shows that there is an absurd shortage of English language classes throughout New York State. The report also shows that notwithstanding major increases in immigration and the limited English proficient population statewide, state funding for English language classes has actually decreased since 1988! The report also details some of the consequences of this massive public policy blunder, from constrained economic opportunity for limited English proficient workers to reduced economic competitiveness for the state.

So, here are a few juicy tidbits:

- In New York City, there are 1,230,866 adults between 18 and 64 who speak English "less than very well" in 2005. There are less than 42,000 spaces in state-funded English classes. That means that a whopping 3 percent of the demand is being met.

- In Albany there are 4,606 limited English speakers and a mere 103 State-funded English language spaces, enough for 2% of the need.

- Despite the fact that New York State's increased by 36% between 1990 and 2000, and by 7% again between 2000 and 2005, state funding for English classes has been reduced by close to 1 million dollars since 1998.

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Posted at 8:43 AM, Nov 20, 2006 in Language Access
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