“Students With Interrupted Formal Education: A Challenge for the New York City Schools”
New York City’s education department should undertake a review of its programs for students with interrupted formal education, or SIFE, and create a more comprehensive plan for identifying and educating such students, says a report released last month by Advocates for Children of New York.
In 2009, the school district identified 15,410 of its nearly 150,000 English-language learners as SIFE. That’s one in 10 English-language learners. In New York City, that means the students entered a U.S. school after 2nd grade, have received at least two fewer years of schooling than their peers, are behind grade level in reading and math by at least two years, and may not be able to read and write in their home language.
The report says that since 2003, the district has had an initiative to give grants to schools with a lot of SIFE students and improve SIFE identification, assessments, and policies.
The report includes profiles of 10 ELLs with interrupted schooling.
It also calls for more detailed reporting of data on this subgroup of ELLs, such as their graduation rates and the percentage of students with interrupted formal education who also have disabilities.
The report notes that the graduation rate overall for English-language learners in New York City last year was 39.7 percent, but the district doesn’t break out the graduation rate for ELL students who also meet the SIFE criteria.
A version of this article appeared in the June 16, 2010 edition of Education Week as English-Language Learners