English Comes to New York City

Last weekend, New York City’s huge mainstream liberal daily, The New York Daily News, published remarkable and consecutive back-to-back full-page editorials denouncing the educational disaster of twenty-five years of “bilingual education” and urging that City’s leaders replace the program with California-style intensive English immersion for immigrant students. Then on Tuesday, a front-page Metro column by John Tierney, apparently the first in a series, made a similar case in The New York Times (attached below).

In New York City, when the Daily News and the Times speak—especially with triple-barreled editorials and columns—politicians listen, and perhaps as a consequence I’ve now been invited to make a presentation at public hearings on bilingual education to be held this Tuesday at City Hall. The hearings will discuss a recent official study revealing the ineffectiveness of NYC’s bilingual programs.

Although this study is merely the latest in a long line of previous studies, all of which reached similar conclusions and none of which changed anything, this time may be different. The unprecedented success of California’s recent changes in immigrant education and the heavy coverage of the issue in the New York media, raises the strong possibility of actual change. I have been told that a large number of Hispanic immigrant parents will be attending the hearings, and will describe the tragedy of the current Spanish-only system, which destroys the education and lives of so many young immigrant children.

The Mayor’s Office believes that these hearings may spark the most important changes in New York bilingual education programs in over twenty years. And given New York City’s central role in America’s media and intellectual life, anything that happens in New York becomes a national issue almost by default.

For those of you in the New York area and interested in attending, the hearings will be held in the Public Hearing Chamber on the 2nd Floor of City Hall, and will begin promptly at 9:30am. Large numbers of the New York media are expected to attend.

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