New Money for English Language Learner Students
Notwithstanding the fact that there are over 140,000 English Language Learner (ELL) students in the New York City public schools, these students have not received the attention or resources they need to succeed academically. They constitute over ten percent of the student population, but they have been treated as a special interest and an after-thought.
In a very positive development, though, the Mayor announced last Thursday that the Department of Education will invest tens of millions of new dollars into providing money and support for schools with high ELL student populations. This will enable schools to provide the programs and academic supports these students need to succeed.
It simply would not have happened without the forceful advocacy work of the New York Immigration Coalition and the support of the UFT, the Coalition for Education Justice, the Working Families Party and many others. At the press conference last Wednesday, a mother named Irania Sanchez put it best when she said,
As an immigrant mother, I am celebrating a big step forward for immigrant children, immigrant families and immigrant communities. For the first time, the Department of Education of New York City is recognizing that students who are in the process of learning English require particular programs and support to succeed in school. Also, they are committing to invest millions upon millions of additional dollars to pay for these programs and supports. Importantly, the DOE also has committed to creating real accountability for schools about how they spend this new money.
The result of these agreements and commitments is simply that our children will now have a better chance to realize their dreams and actualize their capacity. As an activist, and as a mother, I could not feel more proud.