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Know Your Rights
Source: New York Daily News
Subject: Education Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Shortage of Teachers Leading to City’s Failure to Provide Required Bilingual Services: State Letter

The state Education Department reprimanded the city for failing to properly educate students who aren’t fluent in English, according to a letter obtained by the Daily News.

State officials wrote that some students aren’t receiving the required bilingual services because of a shortage of teachers – including 1,330 kids who have been struggling to learn English for six years or more. Also, more than 5,500 students weren’t assessed within 10 days of being enrolled at a school.

The city must take "corrective action" to make sure English-language learners get the assessments and classes they need, according to the letter dated Aug. 31.

State officials did say that the city was making progress on addressing the problems, which were first identified last spring.

"The [city Education Department] is working to address the issues," said Deputy Education Commissioner John King. "We are confident things are moving in the right direction."

City leaders say they are cooperating with the state to bring themselves in compliance.

"Providing a quality education for every one of our students, including our many English-language learners, is a top priority," said city Education Department spokesman Matthew Mittenthal.

Education advocates are frustrated that more than 8,000 students didn’t receive mandated services for the last two years.

"It’s surprising that it’s been two years in a row," said Javier Valdes, deputy director at Make the Road New York. "When it happened last year, we raised a red flag. For it to happen again is concerning."