New York State to Make Long Overdue Changes to English Language Learner Education Law

Thursday, Apr 5, 2012

Asian Voters.JPGThis summer, the New York State Department of Education will be revising state regulations for English Language Learner (ELL) education (Part 154). This pledge to improve conditions for ELL students on a state-wide basis follows the Department's major intervention into the particularly dire conditions of New York City's ELL programs, when it issued a Corrective Action Plan last fall.

The revision of the state-wide ELL education regulations, like the city-wide Corrective Action Plan, is a necessary and long overdue step for a state with one of the highest Asian immigrant populations in the country. The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) was invited to take part in a focus group with the State Education Department officials Commissioner and to submit formal comments on the most essential changes needed to improve education and opportunities for the state's often neglected ELL student population.

AALDEF's recommendations include:

  • Prescreening for ELL status to prevent students being wrongfully assigned to schools without the right ELL resources.

  • Creating the capacity for bilingual programs in a greater number of schools where enough students qualify for them.

  • Providing graduation credit requirements that are achievable for ELL students within four years.

  • Improving bilingual education and English as a Second Language content.

  • Increasing transparency of ELL education programs.

"We're excited at the opportunity to improve regulation and enforcement of ELL educational rights," said AALDEF's Educational Equity Director Khin Mai Aung. "These revisions could also lead to addressing some of the violations that culminated in last fall's Corrective Action Plan for New York City."

Download our formal commentary [pdf]