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  • Policy Report
  • School Year Filled with Missed Communications: Despite Chancellor’s Regulation, Immigrant Parents Still Face Language Barriers

    This report, prepared by AFC and the New York Immigration Coalition on behalf of The Equity Monitoring Project for Immigrant and Refugee Education (EMPIRE), finds that translation and interpretation services are still inadequate in City schools. The report highlights major gaps in language access during parent-teacher conferences and  important school events.

    Jun 27, 2007

    A parent drops a child off at school. (Photo by dusanpetkovic1, Adobe Stock)
    Photo by dusanpetkovic1, Adobe Stock

    In February 2006, Mayor Bloomberg, Speaker Quinn, and immigrant leaders stood together to announce a new regulation intended to break down language barriers between the city’s schools and the hundreds of thousands of parents in the city who speak limited English. While the Department of Education (DOE) has recently emphasized its commitment to parent engagement, the DOE missed the necessary first step in getting immigrant parents involved because of persistent language barriers in the City’s schools.

    The report finds that more than 60% of parents are not aware of the translation and interpretation services available to them and that parents are not receiving important documents, such as notices for parent-teacher conferences or report cards, in a language they can understand.

    The findings are based on surveys of more than 900 parents and students, visits to more than 100 schools, Registration Centers, and Borough High School Fairs, and over a dozen focus groups with more than 100 parents.

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