Sparks Fly Over Education of ELLs in the Big Apple

By Mary Ann Zehr — March 17, 2009 1 min read
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New York state Assemblywoman Carmen E. Arroyo claimed in both Spanish and English this month that Maria Santos, who oversees programs for English-language learners in New York City, was lying after she presented an hourlong report at a public hearing about how services for such students are improving in the city. The hearing was looking at whether the 2002 law that gave New York City’s mayor control over the public school system should be renewed. Jennifer Medina of the New York Times reported March 13 on the tensions expressed at the hearing regarding services for ELLs in the newspaper’s City Room blog (hat tip to Gotham Schools).

Helen at Insideschools Community Blogs gives some additional insights about what was said at the hearing. And she makes a plea for the New York Times to provide an honest depiction of what’s happening with the education of ELLs in the city with the new series it just launched on immigration. The series “should not mask focus on the 150,000 public school students who are not native speakers, or blunt attention to their profound needs, or the [Department of Education’s] responsibility to provide language, as well as academic, education,” she writes.

Santos has been directing some interesting initiatives across the district to improve programs for ELLs, as I’ve reported here and here.

I would love to see an investigative piece by The Times about how the city is serving ELLs as part of its series.

(Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.