Quinn lays out ELL plan to better meet needs of NYC’s english language learners and bilingual students pre-k through high school

Christine Quinn today laid out her plan to reform New York City’s English Language Learner (ELL) and bilingual education system. Quinn’s proposals will provide support for students from pre-kindergarten all the way through high school graduation, and will offer additional support for students post-graduation to ensure their continued academic success.

“Students should be tested on their academic abilities, not their language abilities,” said Quinn. “ELL students disproportionately struggle and under-perform. – This has to change. By implementing reforms and providing support for ELL students at every age, we can provide them the tools students need to achieve academic success.”

Quinn’s plan targets the many unique challenges ELL students face. From increasing parental involvement and support to expanding bilingual programs for all ages to providing support to older students beyond high school graduation, Quinn’s proposals will make the system one that helps ELL students graduate on time and ready for a career. 

Specifically, Quinn proposed:

Requiring Parent Coordinators to ensure every parent of an ELL student is adequately informed

Coordinators will have to provide information about a child’s educational options and fully enforce the requirement that every school adheres to parent preferences on ELL education.      

Increasing the number of bilingual preschool programs

Pre-K through grade 3 is a time when children are "learning to read" before they begin "reading to learn" in later grades. Providing bilingual education at such an early age has the capability to provide the greatest impact in later success.

Increasing support for ELL high school students

High school graduation requirements are the same for ELL students as they are for English-speaking students, meaning they struggle with learning English at the same time they are trying to meet the requirements for graduation. Chris would increase the number of bilingual programs and provide additional support for ELL High School Students, which will improve the quality of support and extend valuable instructional time.

Allowing English Language Learners to use portfolios when applying for selective high schools

Currently, an ELL who may have been the top student in their original country faces substantial pressures when applying to New York's high schools specifically because they don't speak English. By creating a rigorous portfolio acceptance track to some of the city's most competitive high schools we can ensure that they are able to maximize their academic potential.

Including ELL resources in non-traditional graduation routes

Providing support to students in programs such as GED classes will ensure that ELL students committed to receiving their diploma get the instruction they need to succeed.

Increasing wrap-around services to Latino and immigrant students at CUNY

Many ELL students continue to need support even after high school graduation. Providing targeted services will ensure more students stay on track to receiving their college degree.

There are approximately 150,000 English Language Learners in the New York City School system. Of these students, more than half do not graduate high school after four years and many drop out by the ninth grade. On the state’s most recent tests, only 3.4 percent of ELL students passed in English and only 11.4 percent in math.