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Victory for Immigrant Families! NYIC Advocacy Leads to Language Access Expansion in NYC Schools


NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña makes announcement on expansion of translation and interpretation services for immigrant parents at PS/MS126 on Monday, January 11th. NYIC executive director Steven Choi stands to her right and Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez stands to her left. 

Monday, January 11th, marked a major victory in education for New York City's immigrant families! 

That morning, New York City Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña, surrounded by the NYIC’s Education Collaborative members,Congresswoman Nydia VelasquezCouncil Member Margaret Chin, immigrant parents and others, announced a significant new language access initiative for the Department of Education. This new initiative – a victory won by the NYIC Education Collaborative’s "Build the Bridge" Campaign – will help the DOE better reach the half-million City families who speak a language other than English. 

This new initiative includes: 

  • Nine Language Access Coordinators to be placed at Borough Field Support Centers across the City who will support, monitor and hold schools accountable to provide language access services;
  • Direct access for parents to telephonic interpreters, including after business hours to better accommodate work schedules;
  • Required translation and interpretation services for the DOE’s Citywide and Community Education Councils that help open doors for parent engagement.

Why is This Important: Nearly half of public school students – almost half a million families – speak a language other than English at home. These families face serious challenges engaging in their children’s school lives if they aren’t able to participate in a language they understand. While parents have a legal right to translation and interpretation, there have been major gaps in access for immigrant parents across New York City’s school system.

NYIC Education Collaborative and immigrant parents at a June 2015 press conference releasing the results of a report showing key survey findings showing major gaps in access to translation and interpretation in New York City.

The NYIC’s Education Collaborative launched the “Build the Bridge” campaign in early 2015 to remedy this, calling for increased access to quality translation and interpretation for immigrant parents to better engage in their children’s education in New York City. With this victory, hundreds of thousands of the City’s parents -  like Etifaq Musleh, an Arab parent from BrooklynSamsun Nahar, a Bengali parent from the Bronx, and Delfina Garcia, a Mexican parent from Staten Island will get the translation and interpretation they rightfully deserve to help their children achieve success in school. 

Read more about this big win in my morning's op-ed in Gotham Gazette, and learn more about our victory as well in WNYC, El Diario, Voice of America, Brooklyn News12, Manhattan Times, and Univision.

Thank you for your support for our advocacy, and we ask that you continue to support us as we call on the Department of Education to provide more culturally competent services to further strengthen the ties between immigrant families and our city's schools.
Donate now by clicking here.

Thank you!

Steven Choi   
Executive Director
New York Immigration Coalition 


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The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees. The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.


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