Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How NYC Ed-Deformers Short Change ELLs

Advocates for Children of New York (AFC) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) released a report today that illustrates how English Language Learners (ELLs) have gotten the short end of the stick in the New York City Department of Education’s (DOE’s) much touted initiative to close large schools and replace them with small ones. The report, Empty Promises: A Case Study of Restructuring and the Exclusion of English Language Learners in Two Brooklyn High Schools, illustrates how, as a result of these reforms, ELLs—who experience some of the lowest graduation rates in the city— are left with fewer and fewer options or are simply left behind. Using student enrollment and teacher assignment data combined with student and teacher interviews, the report examines the phase-out of Lafayette High School in Bensonhurst and Tilden High School in East Flatbush.

Empty_Promises_Report__6-16-09.pdf, Small_Schools_Report_Press_Release_06_16_09_FINAL.PDF


Anonymous said...

Wow - this same issue is happening with the Lehman HS restructuring into small-learning communities in a tragic way. The ELL students have been managed in previous years with some success in a quasi-SLC style, with a couple dedicated counselors, teachers, and some in-department training in teaching ELL students. We have had some success in previous years working with them because there are issues specific to ELLs (academic and social) that are easier to manage within this group, rather than in the general population.

Under the new plan, ELL students will be distributed around the six communities, different counselors for each group, different teachers, etc. The hope was to have these students all magically "choose" the same community to allow the old system to continue, but that probably won't happen.

This SLC move at Lehman was proposed on the basis of helping the lowest achieving students - here is a perfect example of ELLs again being put at risk for the purposes of an initiative that replaces something that is working to help the OTHER kids.

To the AFC and AALDEF: If you want to see this process in progress (and potentially stop it), ask Lehman what it is doing to serve this at-risk group of ELL students within its walls with this latest initiative.

Under Assault said...

A tangential point, but another case of bias against an ELL category —

On state exams, ELLs are supposed to get dictionaries in their own language. One kid I proctored spoke an African tongue for which the pocket dict. was slim, maybe a quarter of an inch think. He naturally asked for an English dictionary to help him through the test.
It was denied. By state law.

This is not education. This is marginalization.

Anonymous said...

How about when principals make ESL teachers cover regular education programs canceling the ESL classes. Where are the mandates for ELL children?