Carmen Farina: New York to Expand Dual Language Programs!

Dear Commons Community,

The New York Times is reporting that the New York City Education Department plans to expand dual-language programs offered in public schools. Carmen Fariña, the city’s schools chancellor, announced the plan yesterday, saying that citywide, 40 dual-language programs for elementary, middle and high school levels would be created or expanded for the 2015-16 school year. As reported in the article:

“In each of the programs, which aim to teach students to read, write and speak in two languages, half the students will be English speakers and half will already speak the other language of the classroom. A vast majority of the programs will be in Spanish, but there will also be some in Japanese, Hebrew, Chinese, French and Haitian-Creole.

In remarks made at a professional development session at the United Federation of Teachers offices in Brooklyn, an enthusiastic Ms. Fariña described her own experience as a child who started school in New York City without speaking English, and as an adult who is bilingual in English and Spanish. She also emphasized the global advantages of speaking more than one language.

“It’s one thing to go out with Japanese businessmen who all speak English; it’s another thing to be able to have some dinner conversation in their language,” Ms. Fariña said. “That means you’re coming to the table with a different form of respect, a different form of acknowledgment, and people accept and honor that.”

Dual-language programs have been growing around the country as school districts try to prepare children to compete for jobs in a globalized, polyglot world. Methods vary: Some schools teach half the day in English and the other in Chinese, for example. In other programs, the languages alternate by day or by subject.”

This is a great move by Ms. Farina and a plus for NY public schools.



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