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Know Your Rights
Source: WABC-TV
Subject: Education Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Study: Some Left Out in Small Schools Initiative

One of Mayor Bloomberg’s biggest priorities has been improving the quality of city schools, and he’s tried to do that by introducing many new, small high schools.

But a new study claims an entire group of students is being left behind.

And there are only 332 students at Manhattan International High School, part of a network of small public high schools in the city, created for English language learners or ELL.

But leaders and advocates of groups representing immigrants say there are not enough small school choices in the city for students still learning English.

Elisa Hyman, Advocates for Children: "While we’re certainly supportive of these specialized schools for ELLs, that can’t be the only solution to meet the needs of ELLs."

At a news conference today, the NY Immigration Coalition (Make the Road by Walking is a member of the coalition) and Advocates for Children released a report that says small schools deny full access to immigrant students.

Chung-Wha Hong, NY Immigration Coalition: "We want immigrant kids to have the same choices that their other classmates do."

Among the report’s findings: There are few English language learners in most of the new small high schools largely because of the policy that allows them to be excluded for the school’s first two years. It also says few new small schools have been created in the boroughs where most ELL students live, especially in Queens, which has the highest need. And it says many small schools don’t offer English as a second language or bilingual classes.

But, in a statement, the Department of Education says in part "The percentage of ELL students enrolled in our new small schools shows that they have equivalent access to this initiative."