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PR- 061-06
February 27, 2006


Establishment of Chancellor's Regulation Builds on Existing DOE Translation and Interpretation Services; Additional $2 Million in Funding Will Be Committed for Increased Services to Parents

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, joined by Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein, City Council Member Hiram Monserrate and Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs Guillermo Linares, today announced the establishment of a regulation to formalize and expand translation and interpretation services for non-English speaking parents of children in New York City public schools. This formal regulation will build on services currently provided to parents through the Department of Education's (DOE) Translation and Interpretation Unit and funding provided directly to schools for these services. The Mayor also committed an additional $2 million in future funding, bringing total spending on these services to more than $12 million.

"Parents play a critical role in fostering their children's education," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Providing the highest level of access for parents to become full partners in that process has been an important priority for our Administration.  By working together with the City Council, we've formalized our commitment to non-English speaking parents by establishing a regulation that secures translation and interpretation services for all City schools. The more we engage our parents, the more successful their children will be."  

"I am very proud to stand today with Mayor Bloomberg, Council Member Monserrate and immigrant advocates to announce an agreement that will allow all families with students in New York City schools to get the resources they need to succeed," said Speaker Quinn.  "Providing translation services removes barriers and allows parents to be full participants in their children's education. By enacting this measure, we as a City are affirming our commitment to providing our students - all of our students - with the tools for a stronger, better future."

The establishment of a new Chancellor's Regulation ensures that access to translation and interpretation services is clearly defined within the school system, and that these services have a permanent place within DOE, which in September 2004 created the Translation and Interpretation Unit and this year has invested more than $10 million into services for non-English speaking parents. Since then, more than 900 different types of documents have been translated system-wide. Currently, the Unit translates materials into eight different languages - Spanish, Chinese, Urdu, Russian, Bengali, Haitian Creole, Korean, and Arabic - which cover 95% of the languages spoken by student families. School principals also have access to discretionary funding to provide more school-specific services when needed.

"Today's announcement builds on the important work that we have been doing to provide each student in our City's schools with a quality education since the beginning of the Children First reforms," said Chancellor Klein.  "The Translation and Interpretation Unit, among other initiatives, has allowed us to significantly increase our engagement of non-English-speaking members of the school community, and the new regulation will result in greater progress, so that we can better help all of our children succeed."

"This is a lasting victory for children of immigrant parents," said Council Member Monserrate. "Comprehensive translation services will ensure that all parents, regardless of what language they speak at home, have the right to be involved in their child's education. By bringing parents into their children's education, we are one step closer to ensuring that our schools are a road to opportunity for every child in our City."

"Immigrants in our City are pursuing the American dream not only for themselves, but also for their children," said Commissioner Guillermo Linares.  "Immigrant families are a critical part in strengthening the City and the education of their children is the key to their success.  Building bridges through furthering language accessibility for families is a key goal of the Administration and this announcement is helping us achieve it."

The Translation and Interpretation Unit provides translations of various critical documents from DOE's central office. These documents include more than 150,000 elementary school report cards, promotion notices, school registration forms, system-wide alerts, school regulations and other essential information including English Language Learner program, No Child Left Behind and Supplemental Educational Services documents. Over the phone interpretation services in more than 150 languages are also available to schools that request them.

Prior to September 2004, no unit dedicated to translation and interpretation existed.  With approximately one-third of all New Yorkers born outside of the United States and more than 40% of public school students living in homes where a language other than English is spoken, DOE developed a coherent and consistent approach to translation and interpretation services.  DOE created the Translation and Interpretation Unit and provided additional funding directly to schools, thus enabling principals to address their school's individual needs.  Through this two-pronged approach, translation and interpretation services are now provided more consistently and coherently system-wide.


Jordan Barowitz / Virginia Lam   (212) 788-2958

Jerry Russo (DOE)   (Department of Education)
(212) 374-5141

Maria Alvarado (City Council)   (212) 788-7116

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