Original URL: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/local/story/89940p-81835c.html

Bilingual ed delay sparks harsh words
New York Daily News
June 6, 2003

Mayor Bloomberg and Chancellor Joel Klein are nearly three months behind schedule in announcing their controversial plans to overhaul bilingual education - delays that could make school difficult for non-English-speaking children next fall, advocates charged yesterday.

"It's time for the administration to give us some details about this program," said City Councilman John Liu (D-Queens).

At a speech on Martin Luther King Day, Bloomberg promised to announce his plan in 60 days.

With the mid-March deadline long past and the end of the school year approaching, teachers and students have no idea what's going to happen come fall, said Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum.

"I hope this doesn't turn into a fiasco in September when children return to school," she said.

At a hearing before the City Council Education Committee last month, Klein said he had given his report to Bloomberg and was waiting for the mayor to make an announcement.

Rampant rumors

Rumors have been swirling in the schools that Bloomberg is looking to steer more children from bilingual programs that teach students in their native languages and toward programs that immerse foreign speakers in English.

Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for Klein, said yesterday that plans for reforming the program would be unveiled soon.

"We are moving forward to implement an effective English-language-learner program that will enable our children to learn vital educational skills, and we will be discussing the details of our plan shortly," he said.

Originally published on June 6, 2003