School Year Filled With Missed Communication: Despite Chancellor’s Regulation, Immigrant Parents Still Face Language Barriers
School Year Filled With Missed Communication: Despite Chancellor’s Regulation, Immigrant Parents Still Face Language BarriersWednesday, October 21, 2009
The New York City Department of Education (DOE) oversees the largest and most diverse school district in the country. The school system has long had great difficulty communicating with and involving parents, almost half of whom do not speak English as a primary language. On February 27, 2006, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and DOE Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced a new Regulation (Chancellor’s Regulation A-663) with the purpose of providing translation and interpretation services to the hundreds of thousands of parents who have limited English skills. The Regulation, which is intended to break down language barriers and enable Limited-English Proficient (LEP) parents to participate in their children’s education, was the result of a coalition campaign led by immigrant parents, community groups, and City Council Members. The Regulation became effective on September 5, 2006.
At the beginning of this school year, the Equity Monitoring Project for Immigrant and Refugee Education (EMPIRE) Collaborative, through the coordination of Advocates For Children (AFC) and the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), set out to determine whether or not Chancellor’s Regulation A-663 was being implemented and whether parents were being afforded the services promised under the new Regulation. The EMPIRE Collaborative is composed of community-based organizations serving a broad range of immigrant families throughout the city: Asian Americans For Equality, Comprehensive Development Inc., El Centro de la Hospitalidad, Haitian Americans United For Progress, Latin American Integration Center, Make the Road By Walking, and Metropolitan Russian American Parents Association. Together we collected almost 900 parent surveys, visited more than 100 schools, Registration Centers, and Borough High School Fairs, and conducted 14 focus groups with over 100 parents. This report presents our findings and recommendations for reform.
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