Original URL: http://www.nydailynews.com

Report slams bilingual ed
New York Daily News
Friday, November 29th, 2002

Non-English-speaking students in the city's bilingual education programs are being exposed to Broadway shows and dance classes - but not enough English, a new report charges.

"English learners in New York City public schools face increasingly desperate odds," said Don Soifer, executive vice
president of the Washington-based Lexington Foundation.

The study of 58 bilingual programs found administrators consistently waste time and money on planning and
extracurricular activities.

The report was based on federal grant applications from 1999 to the present.

One Brooklyn school, Intermediate School 171, didn't use any of its first-year $175,000 bilingual education grant on
teaching. Instead, the Cypress Hills school said in its 2000-01 application that it planned to spend $72,000 on personnel,
$4,500 on travel and $26,000 on unspecified "fringe."

Meanwhile, most programs don't give out enough information to determine whether they are successes or failures, the
conservative think-tank determined.

Public School 130 in Mott Haven, Bronx, bragged about rising test scores for its bilingual students in 2000 - but used results from only 104 of its 136 participating students.

"Are the improvements real, or manufactured by dropping one out of every four test scores?" the study asked.

At Manhattan's Washington Irving High School, school officials in 2000 also claimed success on language tests - but offered only a "random sample" of its 878 scores as the proof, the report notes.

"It would be impossible, based upon the information provided by school districts ... to determine what percentage of kids
are learning English," the report states.

The stinging critique comes on the heels of a similar study released this month by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and
Education Fund, an advocate for non-English-speaking programs.

While the Lexington Foundation approaches the topic from the opposite ideological spectrum, both reach the same
conclusion: Bilingual education programs in city schools need major reform.

The recent legal defense fund report claimed parents weren't given their promised choice of many different levels of English instruction. It also said too many bilingual teachers are uncertified.

Consultants for Chancellor Joel Klein are reviewing the subject as part of the chancellor's "Children First" blueprint for
systemwide reform, a spokesman said.


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