DL Programs in NY Public Schools are at Risk
DL Programs in NY Public Schools are at Risk
We are extremely grateful for the work done so far by Deputy Chancellor Josh Wallack and the Division of Early Education in support of PK DL. We are very glad to hear that many new PreK DL programs will be starting in New York City next year, as it was announced on Monday February 4, by the Office of the Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza. HOWEVER, WE ARE ALL EXTREMELY ANXIOUS TO FIND OUT ABOUT THE EXPANSION OF THE PROGRAMS. What are the DOE and Ms Chen, who is responsible for ELLs and K-12 DL, going to do to support the k-12 DL programs throughout the City? How are all NYC kids - whether they are learning a new language or retaining it, ELLs or foreign language learners - going to be supported in their language acquisition? HOW is the DOE going to support those kids who are going to graduate with the Seal of Biliteracy?
Our Dual Language Programs in NY Public Schools are STILL at Risk.
The DOE under the new Chief Academic Officer Linda Chen has restructured the Division of English Language Learners and Student Support (DELLS), now called the Division of Multilingual Learners, and reassigned several key supporters of multilingual learning to other areas of the DOE.
We are questioning Ms Chen’s belief that the only purpose of dual language education is to assist non-English speakers learn English, ignoring the fact that DL education’s aim is also the acquisition and/or retaining of a foreign language by English speaking students.
DL Programs in NYC have always represented an effective way to support students cultural heritage within NYC diverse multicultural environment. This has been especially important for all those immigrant families who cannot afford to travel regularly to their countries and struggle to reconnect with older family members.
Multilingualism has shown to have many social, psychological and lifestyle advantages:
1) Accelerates language acquisition for both non-English and English speakers.
Not only do bilingual speakers outperform monolingual in a whole lot of cognitive and social tasks (e.g. verbal and nonverbal tests and even math) but also they develop a greater empathy towards the others.
2) Builds cultural awareness, improves cognitive development and helps children think differently. The executive function of a bilingual brain develops better and helps delay neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. Children who grow up bilingual or multilingual are more interested in different cultures, resulting in their developing of more refined social skills and acceptance of others.
3) Brings diversity to schools. Having bicultural or multicultural children brings DIVERSITY to the school community, because ALL children are given the chance to learn a language and familiarize themselves with a culture to which they might not be exposed otherwise.
4) Exposes and provides an opportunity for kids to interact with others they might not normally socialize with. Students will continue to speak both languages as they grow up, travel, and will gain from having a more extensive social network.
5) Provides kids with a 21st century skill needed in our global society. Bilingualism can open kids to future job and career opportunities that require a foreign language. This is noticed in job listings, where the requirement of a foreign language has become the norm. Bilingualism gives students more options for their future, and job opportunities that they would have never even considered otherwise. Bilingualism and multiculturalism broaden their knowledge and make them wise citizens of the world.
We cannot let our Dual Language programs suffer.
Send an email to DOE's Chancellor Carranza at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him we demand more, not less, support for our dual language programs. Tell him why you want, demand and expect access to full dual language learning for our kids.
What else can parents do?
1. Write letters to DOE and elected officials.
Chancellor Richard Carranza email@example.com
Helen Rosenthal, City Council District 6 (Upper West, covering the zone of PS84) Helen@HelenRosenthal.com
Marc Levine City Council District 7 (Upper West and education committee member) District7@council.nyc.gov
Mark Treyger City Council Education Committee Chair MTreyger@council.nyc.gov
Mayor DeBlasio (Office of the Mayor Contact Page) messages limited to 500 words or less
NY State Governor Andrew Cuomo Governor Cuomo's Contact Page
NY State Senate Education Committee Senate Education Committees Contact
Charles Schumer US Senator Senator Schumer's Contact or calling a local office
2. Have friends and family do the same.
3. Show up to community events and talk about your support for dual language programs
4. Sign up for Community Education Council (CEC3) emails and attend CEC3 Multilingual Committee meetings to learn more. Next meeting is February 26, from 6:30pm - 8:30pm @ 154 West 93rd Street - Room 204.
We must act now and act loud before it’s too late!