Here’s an excellent piece from the front page of today’s New York Times Metro section discussing the first stages of our efforts to bring “English for the Children” to New York City, the heart of America’s traditional immigrant melting pot.
While starting my software company, I lived for several years in overwhelmingly immigrant Jackson Heights, Queens, generally ranked (together with neighboring Elmhurst) as perhaps the most ethnically-diverse area in the United States. Two memories stand out: the local churches had signs and services in numerous languages and nearly every commercial street had one or more storefront English academies.
Just a few weeks ago, the local Queens Tribune conducted a phone-in poll asking whether immigrant students should be required to pass the Regents English exam to get their high school diploma. The Yes rate was 100%—the first time ever in any of their polls.
If the voters of New York have an opportunity to make their views known at the polls, I doubt the results will be too many points lower.
- A Many-Tongued City Hears A Cry For English by John Tierney
New York Times, Monday, August 16, 1999